by MCKENNA LAFONTAINE
Friday, Oct. 6 marked the start of UMW’s annual family weekend, which is designed for friends and family to come to campus and experience some of what their student’s campus life entails, as well as enjoy a series of events hosted in celebration of families coming to campus. Some of these events included Rocktoberfest, the Education Abroad Fair, the Chocolate Chomp Challenge, the chemistry magic show, the campus Civil War walking tour, a tour of Brompton, various sports activities, and other events in downtown Fredericksburg.
The main event on the list for the weekend was Rocktoberfest, which featured local artists performing on Jefferson Square on Oct. 6. Friends and family were asked to bring a blanket or chair to watch the two bands, Center Point and Cartwheel, perform.
Center Point is a cover band that plays classic rock, recent pop hits and modern country, and they’ve been performing since 2013. Cartwheel plays a mix of covers and original songs, and the combination of both bands offered students and parents a variety of tunes.
“Family weekend was a lot of fun, my parents came by on Friday evening and we all went to the Rocktoberfest together,” said Blake Bauer, a sophomore historic preservation major. “It was nice to chat and listen to music.”
The concert kicked off family weekend with lively tunes for parents and students alike to enjoy, and it set the mood for the entire weekend.
“This year was my first time attending Rocktoberfest, and I had a blast,” said Christelle Tetteh, a senior business administration major. “My family was able to drive up from Richmond, and it was great to have events for them to attend with me during family weekend. The food was really good and the bands were amazing.”
Saturday, Oct. 7 kicked off day two of a full schedule that offered a variety of events for families to attend. It started with the Education Abroad Fair in the Chandler Ballroom. This event served to inform students and their families of the study abroad programs available through Mary Washington’s Center for International Education, and attending the event allowed students to be entered in a giveaway to win a $500 Education Abroad Scholarship, which helps fund a student’s study abroad experience.
Concurrently, the Chocolate Chomp Challenge, which was led by the mathematics department, took place in the Hurley Convergence Center’s Digital Auditorium. The Challenge was created by David Gale, a mathematician and economist, and is played through move calculations involved in eating a chocolate bar. The ultimate goal is for students and families to develop an algorithm to not end up with the bad piece of chocolate. There was also a magic show in the Jepson Science Center, which was run by students in the American Chemical Society and the Department of Chemistry.
The Historic Preservation Club hosted a Civil War walking tour around campus on Saturday at 11:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. The tour showcased the different Civil War sites within walking distance of the Fredericksburg campus.
Additionally, there was an open house at Brompton, which is the official housing for University President Troy Paino. “My parents really enjoyed talking to the tour guides as well as the other parents that were there. It was a very positive experience and I don’t regret it,” said Bauer.
After it was postponed last year due to weather, families were further encouraged to participate in the open house this year. Brompton was open from ten until noon for 30-minute tours around the property.
“My family enjoyed being able to go to his house,” said Munibah Masood, a senior majoring in international business. “They always asked about Brompton when we drive by, so for them to finally be able to experience it and me sharing memories of things like spring formal, his lottery dinners, and even sliding down the hill made our weekend.”
To celebrate the start of disability awareness month, Delta Alpha Pi International Honor Society, DiversAbility and the James Farmer Multicultural Center co-sponsored an adaptive sports day in the Goolrick Main and Auxiliary Gyms. This event was designed to create an inclusive environment while also giving individuals with disabilities a platform to excel in a positive social engagement. Those who attended participated in various adaptive sports stations to better demonstrate what individuals with disabilities face in sports.
The same day, both men’s and women’s rugby played winning games, and men’s soccer tied against the University of Lynchburg.
Off campus, downtown Fredericksburg had quite a few events that students and their families were able to attend, such as First Friday, Fredtoberfest, Fall Greek Festival and FXBG Festival Herencia Latina. Additionally, downtown offered free trolley shuttles, through the Trolly Tours of Fredericksburg, during certain times, as well as what they called a “sip and stroll” for those over the age of 21. These events provided a variety of activities for families to attend throughout the weekend, and many businesses also stayed open later than usual, which was denoted by a red flag that said “open late.”
“I think my parents enjoyed family weekend a lot because they live fairly far away, so they’re always excited to see what UMW’s campus has to offer!” said Bauer. “Plus, they’re both alumni and it’s great seeing them meet other parents who are alumni as well. Overall, it’s just a great bonding experience.”
Ky Huynh contributed to reporting for this article.