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Tuesday, Dec 5, 2023

Fall Family Weekend comes early this year

Fall foliage in full bloom during Fall Family Weekend at Middlebury
in 2022.
Fall foliage in full bloom during Fall Family Weekend at Middlebury in 2022.

The beginning of autumn on campus brings with it the annual Fall Family Weekend, eagerly awaited by many students and families as a chance to reunite. This year, however, parents will touch the ground on campus before many of the leaves do.

Last year, Fall Family Weekend fell between Oct. 7–9, in line with past years when it was held on the second or third weekend of October. But this year, it will occur from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1.

According to Meg Storey Groves ’85, associate vice president of Alumni and Parent Programs, Fall Family Weekend is scheduled to avoid other calendar conflicts while also staying within the range of three to five weeks after the semester begins. Storey Groves and other members of the Alumni and Parent Programs Committee are in charge of organizing events during Fall Family Weekend. 

“The timing is driven by several factors including the need to avoid midterm break weekend and have most athletic teams competing at home,” Storey Groves said. “This ensures that families can enjoy a vibrant campus and parents of athletes are able to see their students.” 

Responsible for scheduling the college’s events throughout the year, the Calendar Committee is convened by the associate provost and a faculty council representative, the dean of students, the registrar and the director of event management, who acts as the intermediary with Facilities Services. 

“One of the committee’s main tasks is to guarantee that there are no scheduling overlaps or conflicts among these programs, contributing to the reason in which Fall Family Weekend had to occur earlier than usual,” said Leroy Graham, associate provost of planning, who sits on the committee.

Despite the change in timing of Fall Family Weekend this year, there are about 1,200 family members registered in advance for the weekend, according to Storey Groves.

“The weekend is important in that it gives families a chance to learn more about and enjoy what Middlebury has to offer for their students from the classroom to the athletic fields to the many extracurricular opportunities,” she added. 

Many students look forward to Fall Family Weekend each year. Michael Eller ’24 said that he and his parents enjoy the opportunity to experience what fall in Vermont has to offer. 

“Family weekend is a great time to show my family what my day-to-day life at Middlebury looks like,” Eller said. “My parents love coming up to Vermont to explore Middlebury, meet friends of mine, and spend quality time with my twin and I, so this weekend is always one of my family's favorites throughout the year.” 

The weekend offers a variety of programs for students and families alike to attend. This year, programming includes Shabbat and Sukkot Welcome Services and Dinner, ski lift rides at the Snow Bowl, a poetry workshop with Writer in Residence Emerita Julia Alvarez ’71 and the Mid-Autumn Harvest Festival, celebrating 20 years at the Knoll. 

The earlier timing changed plans for some families this year, however. Ella Bode ’24 said that because her parents just came to drop her off at school three weeks ago, it would not make any sense for them to come back so soon, considering they would have to drive 14 hours from North Carolina up to Vermont.

“I am really sad that I won’t be able to see my family over fall this semester,” Bode said.“As I get older, my time with my family becomes less and less, so any time set aside where we can make memories together is especially cherished.” 

Bode also noted that Fall Family Weekend will no longer occur during the height of the fall foliage season, a draw for some families to travel to Vermont, as the peak is typically mid- October.  

For families unable to visit during Fall Family Weekend, there are a number of events scheduled on other weekends this fall, which are open to the public and can be found on the college Events Calendar.

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Mandy Berghela

Mandy Berghela '26 (she/her) is a Local Editor. 

She previously served as the SGA Correspondent and contributing writer for the Campus. She plans to major in Political Science, with a minor in Arabic. Along with the paper, Mandy serves on the Judicial Board, social media manager for the Southeast Asian Society (SEAS), and is also involved in many campus theatre productions. On her free time, she enjoys long walks, cycling, and reading fantasy novels.