Spring Family Weekend fosters inclusivity

Students enjoy the spring weather near the OSU brick mall, looking south at the Student Experience Center Plaza, on Thursday, April 26.

Stefanie Gamboa, Practicum Contributor

Several events provided for students, families to explore campus.

Oregon State University’s 94th iteration of Spring Family Weekend kicks off May 4.

The tradition began in 1924 as a day dedicated solely to female students and their mothers known as Women’s Day. Since then, the celebration has evolved into much more, spanning over a whole weekend and including all students and their families. 

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The weekend that was formerly known as Mom’s Weekend was changed to Spring Family Weekend in 2016 by OSU Program Council. The name change was to emphasize a broader family focus and to include all family dynamics. 

Zack Simmons, director of OSUPC, has been a part of the council for three years and has seen how the weekend has developed through these name changes. 

“I have seen it grow from what it used to be, moms and family/dads and family, to now Spring and Fall Family weekends and not only has the name change been a huge evolution in the event itself, but making it more inclusive for all OSU students and the OSU community,” Simmons said. “Making sure they have a part in family weekend and it’s not just limited to a biological parent.”

OSUPC Family Weekend Chair, Kayla Gilkison, said the weekends have moved away from gendered programming to make room for more inclusive events. 

“We used to do things such as a car show for what used to be Dad’s and Family Weekend, but now we are integrating the idea of people coming to this campus, what do they want to do and what do they want to see?” Gilkison said.

Delaney Stock, family weekend chair, said the weekend has evolved into a much bigger event than it used to be. This year, many events that are planned are for OSU students to do with or without family members.

“We are trying to do a lot more programming this year with a wide variety of events from cooking to looking at stars. We are just trying to hit all the bases and have an event for everyone,” Stock said. 

Gilkison is most excited for the new event, Breakthrough OSU. Three professors who have done significant research within the Corvallis community were chosen to speak about what they have accomplished. 

“It will kind of be like a mini Ted Talk by professors,” Gilkison said. “I think it will be really cool and something where, if people don’t want to go to the colleges or if people don’t necessarily have family coming that weekend, it’s a way to celebrate the OSU community.”

Events also include a Design Showcase, Star Wars-themed trivia, Golf tournaments, a Paint Night and a variety of other activities. Stock said getting rid of gendered programming and focusing on entertainment that can be inclusive for all kinds of families is the main focus for this year’s Spring Family Weekend.

“We have been really trying to make a push for an inclusive environment within family weekends and not making it just moms or dads can come, but your whole family. It’s making it more inclusive for everyone that maybe don’t have those relationships,” Stock said. 

Simmons said that Gilkison and Stock have put in so much effort into making Spring Family weekend a success this year. Adding new events to the calendar like Cultural Cuisine, Star Party and the Quad Fest will assure all families will find something to their liking.