Parents’ presence affects atmosphere on campus

Derek Thurber

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Once each year Whitman College takes on a different feel for Family Weekend. It is a time for parents and other family members of current Whitman students to come and see their sons and daughters and the campus they call home.

“There are differences: Everyone is different when they are around their parents,” first-year Heather Nichols-Haining said. “I thought it was really interesting watching people with their parents, seeing people from class and from the dorm with their parents and saying ‘I know them.'”

The school scheduled many events for the visiting family members. Among the many activities were Theater Sports, a sampler concert, an alumni swim meet, a planetarium show and the play “Isn’t it Romantic.”

Theater Sports was among the more popular events and filled up quickly. This performance was presented for the parents and some Whitman students noticed a difference in the way the show was performed.

“I felt that the cast was obviously holding back a little and tailoring towards the adults in the audience, at least at first,” first-year Tristan Grau said.

The differences were evident in other parts of the campus as well. There were many more events all around campus. The dining halls served meals for the parents. And some people felt the residence halls had a different feel as well.

“Anderson is really different,” Nichols-Haining said. “I keep running into older people. It is either really vacated or really full.”
Parents were all around campus. They were wandering and seeing the campus, which many had never seen before. Students responded to this.

“It seems weird to say ‘nicer’ because Whitman students are nice all the time, but people are much more friendly to the parents,” first-year Johnny Zimmerman said. “Students are willing to answer questions more readily this weekend.”

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