What happens on Family Weekend? (September 30 - October 1, 2011)
Family Weekend at Sewanee provides an opportunity for families to become better acquainted with the academic program and campus life of the college. It takes place in late September or early October, when the semester is under way and students have become involved in a variety of curricular and extracurricular activities. The weekend makes it possible for families to share some of the experiences which are especially important to their sons and daughters.
On Friday, the events typically include a reception sponsored by the Sewanee Parents' Council and a dinner, which may include entertainment by student groups. On Saturday, they include a period in which to visit faculty members; sessions on services and programs offered by the University; greetings from the Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the College at All Saints’ Chapel; several intercollegiate athletic events; a craft fair at Cravens Hall; picnic in the Quadrangle; and social events sponsored by student organizations. On Sunday, they include a continental breakfast with the Vice Chancellor and a chapel service at 11 a.m. led by the University Chaplain and his staff with music by the University Choir. During the weekend there are special exhibitions, demonstrations, and open houses sponsored by various academic departments.
Speciﬁc arrangements and events for Family Weekend are the responsibility of a student committee appointed by the Dean of the College.
What happens at Commencement? (May 12-13, 2012)
Commencement at the University of the South is a four-day event in May, beginning with a party for seniors on Wednesday when exams are over. Parents enjoy this happy time as much as students do, as it offers an opportunity to see their students’ friends and to renew friendships with faculty members and other parents. The activities on Friday evening might include excerpts from a theatre production, music by the University Choir, and an exhibition of student art works. Baccalaureate is on Saturday morning; a carillon concert and the Vice Chancellor’s reception occur during the afternoon hours.
Commencement is in All Saints’ Chapel on Sunday morning. Each graduating senior receives a limited number of tickets due to the Chapel capacity; however, ample seating is available in Guerry and Blackman Auditoriums where the service is shown on closed circuit television. Meal tickets must be purchased in advance for the Baccalaureate Brunch.
The activities of the weekend are scheduled by the Commencement Committee, which is comprised of underclassmen. The Executive Director of the Associated Alumni coordinates the work of the committee. Questions may be directed to 931.598.1402. Parents hosting social events during Commencement weekend are reminded that laws and policies governing alcohol use and social host responsibilities remain in effect. Questions related to relevant policies and guidelines should also be directed to the Alumni Office.
Should I visit my son or daughter at Sewanee on occasions other than Family Weekend?
Students are usually glad to have their parents visit them on campus, provided that the visits are neither too frequent nor too long. Many parents come to see their student inducted into the Order of Gownsmen or for the Festival of Lessons and Carols. When you plan to visit the campus, your son or daughter will ﬁnd it helpful to know well ahead of time that you are coming. Students, like parents, have important plans. Visits during the week before midterm or during ﬁnal examinations or on major social weekends are usually to be avoided.
Based on their personal experiences, members of the Sewanee Parents' Council suggest the following: try to make your own travel and motel arrangements, if possible; be considerate and not judgmental of your son’s or daughter’s roommates and friends; avoid telling roommates your son’s or daughter’s past history; and remember that, although a dinner out (perhaps with one or two friends) is usually much appreciated, two or three days of constant sightseeing with parents can be a real burden to a student. Your son or daughter is the best judge of what would be the most convenient and appropriate time to visit.
It is good to remember that students do change while they are in college. They are in a new environment, which provides more independence, greater challenge, and increased opportunities for learning. You should not be surprised to observe changes in your son or daughter when you visit him or her on the campus.
Can you tell me more about the Festival of Lessons and Carols?
Usually held the ﬁrst weekend in December, this celebration of the Advent season attracts many visitors, including parents, to the campus. Although the line waiting to get into All Saints’ Chapel is sometimes long and the weather may be uncomfortably cold, parents who have attended one of the services agree that the service was especially meaningful. The same services are held on Sunday at 5 & 8 p.m. Parents of choir members, sacristans, and other participants in the service should check with their students for availability of reserved seats. Families needing special accommodations due to handicap accessibility needs should call All Saints’ Chapel at 931.598.1274 to make special arrangements for seating.
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