Family Weekend; A Tradition of Unity and Fun
This year marked the second highest number of registrations with 650 families, comprising 2,342 individuals, a majority of which were first-year students’ families. Nikki Stock, co-chair of Family Weekend and director of New Student and Family Programs, shared “the fact that [students] want their families to come makes me think that Minnesota State Mankato is a place that they are proud of being.”
The success of Family Weekend is the result of a group effort, with a total of 20 individuals involved in the planning process. These individuals represent various university departments including Student Activities Team, Campus Recreation, New Student and Family Programs, Residential Life, Athletics, and more. Todd Pfingsten, co-chair of Family Weekend and director of Campus Recreation, said “it’s clockwork and people have just bought into this is the culture we are going to create, and we get the support.” This collaboration ensures a diverse and engaging lineup of activities and events. During Family Weekend, families had the opportunity to enjoy a wide array of activities, including the traditional football game. This year a total of 980 football tickets were sold; more than ever before, with previous ticket sales being less than 500. The event also featured fun and games in the campus dome, a visit to the Maverick Bullpen for bowling and billiards, and a new addition this year was an outdoor petting zoo. Pfingsten shared that at one point the staff helping in the dome looked at each other and said “look at the energy in this place.” One of the crowd favorites was "Stuff-a-Plush," an event that allowed families to create their own Maverick Bear. The "Price Is Right" game show is another tradition that adds an extra layer of excitement to the weekend.
When asked about the weekend, Stock said “it just seemed like one of the best years; people were engaged and there was high participation.” The event continues to grow and adapt to meet the evolving needs and expectations of both students and their families, but the principle of keeping the weekend free or low cost stays a priority. For those interested in supporting Family Weekend to ensure the event can stay nearly free of cost to families, please consider donating to New Student and Family Programs.
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