Bringing families closer together: Family Weekend 2015

Photo credit: Courtesy Art

By Matt Dotson, Reporter

Today marks the beginning of Baylor’s annual Family Weekend.

The tradition dates back to a single day in 1960. In 1970, it grew to accommodate a two-day event. It started out with the name Parent’s Weekend and then became family weekend. Now, over thirty years later, the event has become an experience where the whole family can share in the Baylor experience.

Matt Burchett, director of student activities, gave some insight to the intent of Family Weekend.

“The purpose of Family Weekend is to provide families, which in our definition include brother, sister mom, dad, grandma grandpa and whoever the student wishes to bring to get a small slice of the Baylor experience,” Burchett said. “For Family Weekend, getting a chance to hear a lecture from a professor, a chance to meet a dean or an opportunity to hear the president in the State of the University Address are all really distinctive experiences for our families to engage in. It’s also a chance for us as a university to provide space for moms and dads to come visit with their children.”

Burchett said he views Family Weekend as a valuable experience for families.

“Parents love to see their children and children love to see their parents,” Burchett said. “Creating experiences that help facilitate that connection is more than valuable as a university.”

Burchett said the event not only helps with building a connection with the parents, but the entire family.

“Baylor has a beautiful history of hospitality,” Burchett said. “We care about pulling people together and providing an experience that builds relationship and connectedness to Baylor University.”

San Antonio senior, Marianna Arana is chairwoman of Family Weekend through the Baylor Chamber of Commerce. Arana said family weekend is meant to get the family engaged and to welcome them to the university.

“For some it’s the first time coming to the university,” Arana said. “For some it might be the tenth or fifteenth time. We want to welcome them with open arms and really want to show off what this university has to offer.”

Arana said it helps the parents become part of the Baylor family.

“Baylor very much became my home,” Arana said. “When my parents and my family came and saw the great university that I get to attend, they were able to meet professors, faculty members and hear from Judge Starr. It was a time where my family became part of the Baylor family.”

Arana said planning events requires a lot of creativity and experience.

“You usually start out as a committee member before you are a chair of the whole committee,” Arana said. “You go through some training so it’s not your first time with an event. It’s a lot of fine-planning events, thinking about where things go and how things look. There is a lot of creativity and detail that goes into it.”

According to Arana, family weekend boils down to unification.

“That is one thing we try to stress in chamber — going back to the overall purpose of why we do things,” Arana said. “This weekend is for the Baylor community, but specifically it’s making sure that they feel welcomed and they feel loved.”

Arana said chamber is very excited for the event and is excited to show the love of Christ through the hospitality and invite all who wish to attend.

To purchase tickets for Family Weekend events, look on the Baylor website or go to the Bill Daniel Student Center on campus.