Parents weekend moves to fall

by Maggie Lockwood | 5/17/94 5:00am

Beginning with the Class of 1999, Freshmen Parents Weekend will move from spring to fall to give parents a preview rather than a showcase of the first-year experience.

The change is designed to provide parents with an earlier orientation to life at Dartmouth so they are better able to relate to their son's or daughter's experiences.

"It helps parents a lot to get a firsthand glimpse of what their students encounter," Dean of Freshmen Peter Goldsmith said, citing the sophisticated level of classroom instruction as an example.

"When things come up [with students], it gives the parents a sense of context," he said.

The idea to move the weekend is one Goldsmith brought with him to the College a year ago. He said that while the Freshman Council had some knowledge of the change, it was discussions among deans and administrators in the Office of Residential Life that determined the change.

But some freshmen involved with planning this year's event said they are unsure of the benefits of a Fall term Parents Weekend.

Kerri Apblett '97, a co-chair of the planning committee, said it would be difficult to organize a Fall term weekend because of the limited planning time available.

"Another problem having the weekend in the Fall is [freshmen] need time to settle in," Apblett said, adding students might be more likely to say "'take me home' rather than 'look at what I've done here.'"

Goldsmith said scheduling difficulties prevent the changes from taking effect next year.

But beginning next year, the Student Activities Office will help the freshman class plan the weekend instead of the Public Programs Office, which has traditionally helped out, said Jim Tonkovich, public programs associate director and co-advisor of this year's weekend committee. Public Programs deals primarily with alumni and development functions, Tonkovich said.

The Student Activities Office currently works with sophomores to plan the Summer term parents weekend and also helps organize Senior Week, Director of Student Activities Tim Moore said.

Freshmen are usually responsible for organizing the entire weekend -- from coordinating panels to contracting a caterer and taking slides. But, with the new change, the Student Activities Office will play a stronger role in the administrative aspect of the weekend.

Goldsmith said that although the Student Activities Office will be doing a majority of the leg work, "the creative components would be in the hands of the freshmen."

Sara Kettler '97, the other co-chair of this year's planning committee, said one positive aspect of the spring weekend is how comfortable freshmen are with the College after two terms on campus.

"The really good thing about having it in the spring is the '97s have knowledge of the campus," Kettler said, "When you get here in the fall, you're not in a position to show it off to your parents and organize a weekend."

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