Close to 2,000 households registered for Parents’ Weekend this year, reflecting a gradual increase in the event’s attendance.
In each of the previous three years, between 1,500 and 1,700 households have registered for Parents’ Weekend, according to Office of Special Events executive director Elaine Enos. Enos estimated that approximately 3,600 to 3,900 Stanford family members visited campus for this year’s event.
“It’s been really exciting to see the level of turnout that we’re having,” she said.
Enos said that 51 percent of registered attendees were related to the Class of 2017, and noted that grandparents and siblings have constituted a growing percentage of the total number of attendees.
The programming of Parents’ Weekend remained unchanged from previous years due to the continued interest in particular events, according to Enos.
“The basic structure is virtually the same as far as classes, tours, a welcome by Provost [John] Etchemendy [’82] and a Q&A with [President John] Hennessy,” Enos said. “These are key traditional things that are successful and we have continued numbers [of attendance] for those.”
Many parents expressed their appreciation for the chance to have questions about the University answered by administrators and faculty.
“I think there were a lot of concerns that parents had,” said Mark Chen, a Class of 2017 parent. “We feel more understanding and much at ease because our questions were being answered. That makes a big difference.”
Enos also noted that the University made sure to offer “Back to School” classes — those offered to parents during Parents’ Weekend — that came from different areas of studies and from professors that haven’t taught a class to parents before. Class subjects are often chosen to reflect topics that are trending at the time, either geographically or in a given area of research.
Enos added that these “Back to School” classes are often very popular and serve as a principal draw for parents visiting campus.
“We have some parents who come to Stanford just for the classes, and they make a point of making it to as many as they can,” Enos said. “And they end up having conversations and discussions with other parents there.”
Enos expressed particular pride in the resource fair that was set up near the Parents’ Weekend registration tables at Arrillaga Alumni Center. The fair included more than 20 organizations that addressed various aspects of campus, ranging from Commencement and the Vaden Health Center to sororities and overseas travel.
Other programming offered during Parents’ Weekend included tours of the Cantor Arts Center, the Jasper Ridge Biological Reserve and the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). Open house tours were expanded to incorporate other labs like the Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Lab (VAIL).
Of course, for many parents, spending time with their Stanford student was a priority.
“[Parents’ Weekend] gives us an opportunity to meet our daughter’s friends and how she operates on campus,” said Nancy Zane, a Class of 2017 parent. “In addition to that, we had a great time hanging out on campus with her, eating in Palo Alto and hiking on the Dish and seeing that [Stanford] is well worth it.”
“Spending time with Mike — he was the main attraction,” said the parents of Mike Precup ’17 when asked what their favorite part of the weekend had been. “But we enjoyed Parents’ Weekend a lot. The campus itself is so peaceful and beautiful. We ran into the band which was…a little different than what we’re used to.”
Contact Catherine Zaw at czaw13 ‘at’ stanford ‘dot’ edu.