By Veronica Kim
Stanford has renamed “Parents’ Weekend” — a February tradition that welcomes students’ parents and family members to campus — to “Family Weekend” in order to make the event more inclusive.
The change, announced in December, was proposed by Nanci Howe, associate dean and director of student activities and leadership, and Dereca Lynn Blackmon ’91, associate dean and director of the Diversity and First-Gen Office.
“‘Family Weekend’ better reflects Stanford’s strong commitment to inclusivity and our desire to welcome all our students and the way they define their family,” Howe and Blackmon wrote in their proposal, which they presented to Greg Boardman, vice provost for student affairs.
This proposal may come in response to a list of suggestions sent out by the First-Generation and/or Low Income Partnership (FLIP) Leadership Core in early 2015. The first item on the list suggested a change from “Parents’ Weekend” to “Parents’ and Families’ Weekend” in order to “publicly value and affirm students who come from families with diverse structures that may deviate from the ‘traditional’ two-parent household… implied by the official title.”
In an op-ed, FLIP leaders wrote that many families face personal, emotional or financial issues that prevent them from attending.
“I never invite my parents to Parents’ Weekend,” one student said in an anonymous Facebook post, according to the article. “They would feel terrible that they couldn’t afford the airfare to come.”
In addition to suggesting the University “offer… financial support and alleviate… harmful micro-aggressions,” FLIP encouraged the name change as the first step in making Parents’ Weekend more inclusive.
Howe and Blackmon hope the change will broaden the definition of family to include all “those who support and nurture students.”
This year’s Family Weekend will be held Feb. 24-25. Activities for the event will remain similar to those of years past. The schedule, which can be found on the Stanford website, offers conversations for families of undergraduate students, tours of various campus locations and community open houses, among many other opportunities.
Highlights include the “Back to School Classes for Parents,” in which parents can attend lectures ranging in topics from cyber threats to earth science to constitutional rights. The weekend will open with a welcome address from President Marc Tessier-Lavigne and conclude with an “Entertainment Extravaganza” featuring a selection of student performance groups.
Contact Veronica Kim at vkim70 ‘at’ stanford.edu.