Family Weekend brings fun and mixed feelings

by Beacon Staff • October 19, 2005

"I'm really excited to show my parents around campus and show them all the talented people here," Sheehy said.,"Like many freshmen, TV/video major Jen Sheehy is eagerly awaiting a reunion with her family tomorrow. Family Weekend is approaching and with it, expectations of excitement and nervousness from Emerson students.

"I'm really excited to show my parents around campus and show them all the talented people here," Sheehy said.

The events, set to begin officially with registration on Friday at 2 p.m., are open to all students and their families.

"Family Weekend offers up time for families to re-connect with their Emersonian," said Sara Sheckells, director of Student Activities and coordinator of the event. "Parents get to see firsthand how their student has adjusted to campus life."

The first scheduled event is a Friday "Meet & Greet" in the Emerson Room from 2 to 8 p.m. Students can snack on refreshments and have a free photo shoot with their families.

Saturday begins with the official Family Weekend Welcome at the Courtyard by Marriott Boston Tremont Hotel, where faculty, parent and student representatives will talk to families about the college over a free continental breakfast, according to Student Life's online schedule.

Families may then venture into the classrooms, where department leaders will illustrate student and faculty work by lecturing on media convergence, showing student documentaries, conducting acting workshops and reading from their own fiction, among other things. External Programs for the Netherlands and Los Angeles will be also be holding informational sessions in the Walker Building, according to the Student Life Web site.

The Family Weekend experience, however, is not limited to academics. Other events take families outside the boundaries of the Emerson halls and into the streets of Boston.

"My parents are looking forward to getting a glimpse into what my life has been for the past month and a half as an Emerson student," said Ciara Sheehan, a freshman marketing communications major.

On Saturday night, Emerson will host the Dessert Reception in the Bill Bordy Theater and Auditorium. With over 300 families attending Family Weekend, this event is already sold out, Sheckells said. Afterward, families can attend the Talent Showcase at the Cutler Majestic Theatre ($10). Should they wish to experience both, the cost is a reduced $18 total.

The Talent Showcase, directed by Scott LaFeber, an associate professor in performing arts, will feature 24 students of various majors, he said. The show is a collaboration of musical theatre numbers presenting works by Cole Porter, Stephen Sondheim and Mozart. LaFeber said the evening will demonstrate both the "potential and talent" of the featured students.

Many students are enthusiastic about their family's visit and plan on attending the scheduled events. "I'm really looking forward to it," said Amber Krehel, a freshman film major.

Others, like Sara Hughes, a freshman writing, literature and publishing major, will visit with family but do not plant to participate in Emerson's events.

"The events sound great but I really just want to spend some quality time with my family and not worry about a schedule," Hughes said.

Some students, like Sasha Brown, a freshman political communication major, are balking at ticket prices for the events. "I would attend more events if they were offered at one combined price," Brown said.

Sheckells pointed out, however, that $5 student rush tickets for the Talent Showcase will be available in the Cutler Majestic Theatre lobby on the night of the show.

Megan Reynolds, a freshman acting major from Kentucky, is traveling home for the weekend instead. It will be her first time home since school began. "I was afraid I would get really homesick seeing all my friends with their parents. My parents couldn't get off work so they just thought it would be easier and cheaper to fly me home for the weekend," she said. "I'm really excited about seeing my parents, but I'm afraid my whole family dynamic will have changed. I'm so used to being on my own and taking care of myself that it's going to be hard to adjust to living under someone else's roof."

Vanessa D'Amico, a freshman broadcast journalism major, will also be leaving Emerson for the weekend. "My mom and I have been on so many tours of Emerson and she feels as though she doesn't have any questions so we'll be spending some quality time together and having our own family weekend," she said. D'Amico and her mother will be spending the weekend in Maine.

Due to the distance between home and school, other students will be spending their weekend alone or with friends' families. Freshman writing, literature and publishing major Justine Tedjasukmana, an international student from Indonesia, said, "I don't really mind that my parents won't be coming. A lot of the international students won't have parents coming so I'll be spending my time with them."

Sophomore broadcast journalism major Samantha Kacho spent time with a friend's family last year since her family in Georgia could not visit.

"It was comforting to be with my roommate's family since mine didn't come," Kacho said.

Cody Kirkpatrick, a sophomore theatre major and resident assistant of the Students Taking Active Roles (STAR) all-freshmen floor, said he thinks it is important for parents to visit to combat the homesickness that can start this time of year for his residents. Flight prices, however, kept his own family from visiting from Texas this year. "In a way, I'm glad they didn't," he said. "It would have been hard at that point to only see them for three days." Like Kacho, he was "temporarily adopted" last year for Family Week by parents of friends.

For a list of Family Weekend events, visit http://www.emerson.edu/familyweekend.

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