Brittany Ballantyne

Equinox Staff


The Mabel Brown Room transformed from a “Deal or No Deal” set to a Spanish-fevered dance floor. Appian Way was filled with Keene State College students, their parents, their grandparents, their siblings, and other family members, pets included. Questions were asked and questions were answered at discussion panels across campus. The occasion was the annual Parent Family Weekend.

The KSC campus turned into a family-friendly environment the weekend of Sept. 30 through Oct. 2 for this occasion. According to Patty Farmer, director of alumni and parent relations, this weekend is an opportunity “for students and parents to get together on campus  for a weekend of activities.”

This weekend consisted of a variety of activities including comedian Marcus, numerous discussion meetings, sports events, a “Cash Attack Game Show,” and the “Salsa Magic” event where families and students learned the ways of salsa dance.

Dayna Coleman of the Student Activities Council said that Parent Family Weekend “allows parents to come to Keene State and see what their students do for fun, to make sure parents have a fun experience when visiting the college.”

She also said that this weekend-long event allows parents to have “bonding time with their kids with events to go to and an excuse to come to the school.”

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Coleman revealed that these events were planned in the summer, before the 2011-2012 school year even began. SAC had done many preparations for this weekend including “working and talking to performers, making sure they’re all set to come, [and] booking hotels,” Coleman said.

“For many parents it’s the first time that they’ve visited Keene State, to have a positive impression on it is great,” Coleman said.

She further said that this is a “really great weekend.”

“Other than just the three SAC events there’s several events going on each day, even for kids whose parents aren’t coming, it’s still a major weekend” at KSC and explained that these events were free for KSC students and made a point that students should take advantage of this.

“We nearly sold out in everything,” Coleman stated.

While Coleman spoke of the bonding experience families can have at these events, Julianne Bentley, also of SAC, agreed by saying, “I think that’s the most important [part]!”

When asked how she felt the parents benefited from this particular weekend, Coleman said that “rather than just having parents come visit and go downtown, going out to eat, and walk down Main Street, it’s something that the parents will like.”

She later said that “kids like it too, like little brothers and sisters…it’s family-oriented.”

Freshman Alex Wickman said she believes this weekend is for the parents, allowing them to “really see how you’re adjusting, maybe how you act differently.”

She also said that sometimes you “can’t tell over the phone but you can tell in person” how students are doing and that this weekend allows for “reassurance from parents that they’re there for you” with the “comfort of home.”

Wickman said there was nothing she disliked about Parent Family Weekend and said the best part was “seeing [her] parents, telling them how things are going.”

Wickman then returned to the dance floor of the “Salsa Magic” event to continue pivoting, spinning, and stepping with her parents where upbeat Latin music matched the fast-paced steps the instructor demonstrated and taught those who attended. Smiles spread across the faces of participants and laughter filled the room as steps were attempted for the first time.

“Salsa Magic” brought couples, siblings, friends, and parent/student pairs to the hardwood floors. Some took a serious approach to learning while others chose a more silly route.

The instructor said, “Not bad for someone who hasn’t taken my class!” to a participant and conducted the rest of his lesson.

Kathleen Stacey, mother of sophomore Sarah Stacey, expressed what she felt the purpose of this weekend was. “I worked in student affairs for a long time in college…honestly, I think it’s to keep the bonds strong and for the rest of the family to understand what life is like at the school and to learn about the culture where the student is spending four years at college…it’s a fun, no pressure way to spend a weekend,” she said.

Although Stacey did not attend the events during this year’s Parent Family Weekend, she attended the magician and comedian last year and “thought they were entertaining, I [Stacey] enjoyed them.”

Stacey further said that, “I [Stacey] think they do a good job of putting a program together.”

Sean Stacey, brother of Sarah Stacey, followed up on his mother’s opinion by saying, “I like it here!”

With a smile, Kathleen Stacey spoke of KSC and said, “Sarah made the right choice. They are very organized about everything here.”

Farmer said that for many, this is the “first opportunity of the year for students to relax and hang out with parents, most of the time when they’re here is move-in day or tours…parents like to have a weekend dedicated to themselves.”

The Parent Association is involved with a great deal of putting this weekend together. Farmer said that they “work with a board of volunteers, provide refreshments, and a check-in table parent-to-parent” and that the organization “provides information to parents all year long about campus activities.”

Farmer also said the group has gotten “very positive feedback, parents love to be welcomed to campus. Parents enjoy the opportunity to relax and be with their student in a casual atmosphere, parents have a lot to benefit by being with the students.”

Most of those who attend these events and participate in this special weekend are first- and second-year students, according to Farmer. “This designates a weekend for parents, families, and students. We had quite a number of grandparents as well…it’s really for the whole family,” Farmer said. There were a recorded 60 parents at the Parent Association meeting this weekend and about 600-700 parents and family members who attended KSC for Parent Family Weekend itself.

During the “Cash Attack Game Show,” all different age groups, students and family members, were picked out of a bucket to participate in a game show to compete to win cash. Although there were no big winners, no contestants left the stage with an empty wallet.

The audience cheered and shouted split decisions to gamers on stage and some gamers showcased their character through determination.

Sophomore Bailey Albert of SAC said she “feel[s] like it’s mostly for freshmen parents and kids to get them involved on campus, to see what new students can be involved in. We [SAC] always have events going on. It’s always nice for upperclassmen to have their parents come and visit too.”

Upon being asked how parents benefit from this weekend, Albert said, “I think it allows them to see that their kids aren’t just sitting around” and later pointed out that these events were a “campus-wide activity.”

Albert also said during this weekend, students “don’t have to sit around and do the same old, same old; they can try something new.”

In wrapping up her comments about Parent Family Weekend, Albert said there was nothing she would change about the weekend aside from “it was raining, if I could change that I would!”


Brittany Ballantyne can be contacted at

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