By Helin Gao
A record number of people—about 3,000—registered for this year’s Parents’ Weekend, including about 130 grandparents and 80 siblings. Among them, over 90 percent of parents registered online.
“We had a new platform since last year, and we tried to update it a little bit to help parents register,” said Elaine Enos, executive director of the Office of Special Events and Protocol.
The University made special arrangements over the weekend to accommodate the influx of people to campus. Parking near Galvez Field was reserved for guest parking and additional luncheons were offered at dining halls to welcome visiting parents.
“So we have parking, registration, food, we try to keep them kind of around each other so that logistically it’s not so difficult for parents to get around for the biggest events,” Enos said.
Programming for parents—featuring an expanded Resource Fair, a series of Back to School classes, a guided tour of the newly opened Bing Concert Hall and a finale performance of Entertainment Extravaganza—all aimed to help them understand their children’s school life at the same time as they relive their college experiences.
“Back to School” classes taught by faculty were well attended throughout the week.
“[I’m] very impressed by how he delivered his points,” said Richard Rabens, a Class of 2013 parent about a foreign policy class taught by Larry Diamond, professor of political science. “In the space of one hour, he touched on major hotspots of American foreign policy and the dilemma we faced in a very logical and human manner.”
“Parents’ Weekend is designed to expose parents to a wide range of academic and scholarly work in Stanford and subjects our faculty are teaching about,” Diamond said. “So as a scholar in the Hoover Institution, I thought it would be useful to give parents a flavor of that when I engage them during Parents’ Weekend.”
Diamond found the lecturing experience different from his regular classes.
“The principle difference is that it’s really just a talk, a chance to interact,” Diamond said. “I try to avoid giving a formal lecture. I more want to raise issues and put forward perspectives for discussion.”
Besides the lectures, over 1,000 parents attended the Resource Fair at the Arrillaga Alumni Center. This year, the fair was expanded to include a variety of new community programming, such as the LGBT and Women’s Community Centers.
“What we had was a core group and what we want to involve is every aspect of student life on campus, so that parents can understand what the students are doing,” Enos said.
About 25 student and 130 parents volunteered during the weekend, performing tasks from working at information desks to driving golf cars around campus to transport parents with disabilities.
Hascal Humes, father of Maya Humes ’14, appreciated the chance to see his daughter and meet other parents.
“We think it’s a wonderful experience,” Humes said. “It’s good to see what the kids are doing, to see the campus to see what the activities are and also to meet a lot of parents.”
To conclude the weekend, parents were invited to attend Entertainment Extravaganza, an event organized by the Stanford Parents’ Club as its largest annual fund-raising effort. More than 1,500 tickets were sold for the performance, with all proceeds going to the Parents’ Club Scholarship Fund.
“We have just a great variety,” said Elizabeth Stone, the show’s director. “We have classical music, we have ethnic dance, contemporary dancers and street dance and they are all highly skilled performers.”
Eight different open house tours were provided on campus, including two new destinations—Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, site of the Searsville Dam, and the new Bing Concert Hall.