Family Weekend successful despite price increase

Photo credit: Sydney KruljacMore than 200 registered students and their family members flooded New College for an array of activities lined up for Family Weekend. This year, the Center for Engagement and Opportunity (CEO) hosted the event, which took place Sept. 25-27.

Due to an increase in activities, students witnessed a sharp increase in price for Family Weekend. What used to be a $32.00 fee for both a cruise and brunch turned into a $75.00 fee.

“When we looked at the options of what people were doing over Family Weekend, we kind of thought, ‘We aren’t showing off campus to the best of our ability,’” Director of Career Services Kimberly Franklin said. “So we looked at an option creating an all-in-one price for everything Friday, Saturday and Sunday.”

The initial price tag for Family Weekend included all of the meals and event management.

“For every parent, we included the cost of feeding their student so there wouldn’t be a separate price for students,” Franklin said. “When the second parent registered, we were using that money to offset the price of those students whose parents couldn’t come.”

Because of the change in price in comparison to last year, students began to voice their grievances stating it was too steep of a price.

“We worked really quickly and responded by offering all kinds of other options,” Franklin said. “So now there’s a one-day option or a two-day option. [Family weekend] is really meant to celebrate New College, celebrate with your family or with your family here.”

Despite price complaints, the events kicked off on Friday, Sept. 25 with a bash on the bay including live music from the New Catz and local artist Lisa Silvermore, bounce-houses and dinner provided by Metz and local vendors such as Four Winds and Mama G’s.

“We wanted to make this a campus wide event,” Coordinator for Programming and Career Exploration Eric Wilkinson said. “So even if students family or parents weren’t coming, that they still felt like they could come and participate and listen to music, participate in the bounce-houses.”

The Family Weekend fun did not end there.

Early Saturday morning, a “Fun, Run, Walk” was held as well as a boot camp led by Campus Life Coordinator (CLC) Vanessa VanDyke in the fitness center.  

“We had a total of six people,” VanDyke said.

When I run my classes I consider the abilities of everyone in the class,” Van Dyke added. “To accommodate everyone I show them the exercise that we are doing and then I provide them with a harder and/or high impact version and easier and/or low impact version.”

Following the morning fitness activities, a picnic lunch was offered at College Hall. Later in the afternoon, President O’Shea spoke along with a panel to the students and their families about how to make the most of their time at New College.

Tours were given throughout the day allowing family members a little more insight into the daily routines of their students. Pritzker Marine Biology Research Center and Heiser Natural Sciences Complex remained open for an inside glimpse of New College’s academic facilities and a couple of faculty members volunteered their Saturday to offer some mini-classes to family members.

The Cá d’Zan also remained open and free all day to students and their families for a taste of Sarasota history.

“My family and I went to the museum because it was free,” second-year Annie Rosenblum said. “The first exhibit we went to was the circus exhibit and it was amazing. My family was really impressed and really enjoyed learning the history of the circus.”

Saturday night was scheduled for “dinner on your own.” The CEO negotiated with four restaurants downtown to allow a free appetizer with a dinner, allowing time for some off campus exploring.

The weekend long festivities concluded with a brunch on Sunday and a performance by New College’s a capella group Acapellago.


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