Families flock back to campus for Fall Family Weekend

By Heather Fabritze
Elm Staff Writer

Family members filled the campus for various Fall Family Weekend events from Sept. 17 to 19.

Starting Friday afternoon, family members who arrived early could check out waterfront activities such as kayaking at the Hodson Boathouse. They could also check in at the Career Center starting at 3 p.m., where they had the opportunity to meet members of the Women’s League of Washington College.

The first evening of the weekend was rounded off with a pep rally by the firepit at 8 p.m., followed by a fireworks display sponsored by the Cat Colloquium, a cat rescue center in town, at 9:30 p.m.

Saturday featured an array of events throughout the day that families could enjoy. Families were encouraged to view the wares at Chestertown Farmers market, which runs from 8 a.m. until noon every Saturday.

Families with first-year students then had the opportunity to attend a casual meet and greet with their children’s First-Year Advisors and Seminar professors.

Dr. Martin Ponti, the first-year seminar director and an assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies, felt that it was important that parents were given the chance to meet the individuals who were guiding their students through their first year.

“It’s a team that we’re trying to build, right,” Dr. Ponti said. “Student success is not just about the relationship between faculty and students, but the family, because we’re all…on this team together and we’re looking out for our students.”

From 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., guests could attend various open houses at the Center for Career Development, the Intercultural Center, the Rose O’Neill Literary House, the Hillel House, and the Global Education Office.

Families also had the option to attend the dedication of Morris Hall to Thomas E. Morris ‘62 at 11 a.m., the first Black graduate of WC.

The event featured multiple speakers, including WC President Dr. Michael Sosulski, artist and Frederick Douglass Fellow Jason Patterson, junior and Vice President of the Black Student Union Mariama Keita, and the spouse of Morris, Dr. Mellasenah Morris.

Keita, in her speech to the event’s attendees, expressed how much Morris and the dedication means to the Black community at WC.

“It’s a step forward in the right direction,” Keita said. “It shows that the future is bright and [that] the Black Student Union, everything that we have done, been through, was worth it. That’s essentially what it means, and right now, there is no greater joy than seeing all your hard work…bearing the fruits of your labor.”

At noon, visitors could drop by the Kohl Gallery at the Daniel Z. Gibson Center for the Arts to visit RENEW, which, according to the WC website, is “an exhibition exploring issues related to climate change” by artist Monica Jahan Bose.

From 1 to 2 p.m., John S. Toll fellows presented their summer research projects, which were funded by the John S. Toll Science and Mathematics Program.

Junior Lauren Maynor, who worked with Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Mala Misra on understanding the neuron growth and larval stages of fruit flies, was appreciative that she had the opportunity to present the project on-campus.

“It’s been exciting, because campus has been pretty closed and shut down,” Maynor said. “You haven’t really seen anybody. So, it’s exciting to actually see people interacting and coming out on campus, and it’s good to see a little bit of what we’ve done throughout the whole COVID year and a half.”

From 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., families could board the Callinectes for a 30-minute tour on the Chester River, and from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., open houses for the Hodson Boathouse and Semans-Griswold Environmental Hall were available to attend.

The evening finished off with Phi Delta Theta’s 30th Annual Crab Feast from 4 to 7:30 p.m. and an outdoor showing of the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on the Campus Green.

Kayaking was also available for families on Sunday, from noon to 4 p.m. at the boathouse. As the first Fall Family Weekend since the pandemic, COVID-19 social distancing and mask restrictions were in place for all listed events. However, the administration and student organizations who planned the weekend ensured that families gained new experiences and memories alike.

Photo by Samantha Jarrett

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