Family week conducted virtually

María Fernanda Rubí

Due to COVID 19, this year’s Family Week was led virtually. The event is known for allowing parents to familiarize themselves with their children’s new home and to see them succeed in their new life stage.
However, because of the college’s new social distancing guidelines, Family Week consisted of different informative sessions, ranging from career development opportunities to student resilience and well-being.
The Advancement Office (alumni relations) organized the planning for Family Week, and this year was not the exception. “We had to do it in a different and creative way this year,” Kelly Noack, director of alumni relations, said.
Since parents couldn’t visit students, a little piece of home was brought to them. This year, parents submitted their student’s favorite recipes. The bookstore department worked with the dining hall to create a bundle so students could purchase them. 
“The event would not be possible without the help we receive from different departments,” Noack said.
This year’s registrations for different informative sessions were done online. According to the Advancement Office, one of the best parts is connecting to parents and hearing their enthusiasm when registering through phone calls.
 “We get to experience how proud they are of their students and their excitement to see them and visit campus, something we missed this year,” Noack said.
Starting on September 18, parents could register for the Zoom sessions they wanted to attend and submit questions before the event. “It is important for us to let families know how we are supporting their students, especially right now that there is a lot of stress and anxiety on how college looks like,” Kelly Roberts, director of student well-being and resiliency, said. 
Despite not having a face to face experience, the session provided interest in parents. At the end of the workshop, a 20 minute Q&A space was extended.
Family Week sessions had fewer participants. The workshops were recorded, and parents could participate live or view the recordings at their convenience. “We receive a lot of feedback from parents watching the recording sessions, [and] it is an advantage for our international parents that are not able to fly in for the weekend,” Noack said. 
Now, future Family Weeks will be looking to follow a hybrid in-person and virtual model, where parents who are not able to travel to Augustana can still participate. 
Although the needed information was transmitted to parents, there was no space for students and parents to interact. 
“I don’t know if I would have gotten a lot out of it,” Zack Horve, first-year, said “I know it is probably really hard for my parents, and for them seeing the college, showing them my dorm, knowing how I am doing, and my college routine, they would have enjoyed it.” 
Senior SophiaRose Brown is a CA for first-years. She said that the event is especially important for freshman students. “I see a lot of my residents feeling homesick,” Brown said. 
Junior Caitlyn McIntire said if possible, every student should participate in Family Week. “[It] is a good way to show parents Augie life and what we do,” McIntire said.