The fall semester brings many joys to students — all of the intense sports, Homecoming, the Miss Mary Hardin-Baylor Pageant and fall break. However, one event that is a bonding experience for relatives of the school is Family Weekend.
It is an event for loved ones to visit campus instead of Crusaders going home. They get a great dinner, considering parents take them out to eat, they get to cheer for the Crusader football team and then some attend church Sunday.
Freshmen often love the event because it’s a way for them to be with their families in their new environment.
One freshman who has a unique story is Jenny Binford. Her family currently lives in Waco, but their permanent residence is Birmingham, England. Her family decided to stay in America while she completes her first semester of college. But in December, the Binford family will make the voyage back over the pond to England while Jenny will stay at UMHB.
Binford’s mother, father, grandmother and younger sister all attended Family Weekend. However, there was another reason why her family chose to come to Belton. On Friday, Binford celebrated her 19th birthday. She said her family brought her a cookie cake and presents. She and her sister, Jocelyn, sat with the Couch Cru for Jocelyn’s first football game.
Family Weekend can be beneficial for students. Binford said moving out of her comfort zone and to college is difficult, and having family visit midway through the semester makes the transition easier.
“You can feel kind of homesick and instead of having to go home all the time, your home comes to you. You can share them in your environment.”
The Campus Activity Board is in charge of the annual event. Jeff Sutton, assistant director of CAB, agreed with Binford.
“I think it’s good for parents to get a glimpse of what life is like for the students. It’s so much fun being a student here at UMHB. There is so much going on,” he said. “Being on campus, being in that college environment, I think it gives parents a glimpse of what their students go through while here at UMHB. But it also kind of lets them relive college days and enjoy the things their student enjoys.”
Sutton said Family Weekend’s concept was the same as in the past, but a few changes were made, like open dorms and a tailgate party.
“We’re just trying to have more opportunities for the families to see college life, just really trying to create a typical weekend for college students but invite their parents to come along.”
Freshman Dillon Mogford’s family also came. He hasn’t gone home yet this semester, so Mogford was excited to share the beginning of his college experience with his loved ones from Junction.
“Family week is beneficial because you get to see your parents, especially for all the students that live several hours away and can’t just drive home when they want because of the distance.”
Binford is thankful for the times she gets to spend with her family — like university-hosted events this past weekend and when she has free time to go to Waco. She knows in December, the distance to England and a hectic schedule will cause some problems.
“It will be tough. Especially having to call them will be awkward because of the time difference. It will be really difficult, but I will see them in the summer.”