Blog

3 Apps I Can't Live or Work Without

I don't know about you, but I love finding new (and free) technology that can help me be more productive, work better with my team, and help me in the long and short term. In our current global pandemic, technology has become more necessary than ever before as we navigate a new world of virtual meetings and working remotely. While I began using all three products before the pandemic began, each has been an invaluable tool as our digital needs increase.

Read More

2019 Award Winners: Where are they now?

Are you thinking about nominating someone for a National AHEPPP Award?  Have you ever wondered what the impact is for someone winning the award?  

Read More

Addressing Anti-racism with Families

Following the murder of George Floyd this summer, our Division of Student Affairs was charged with adding or enhancing anti-racisism work in every department.  For some, such as the Office of Housing and Residential Education, it was not a difficult task, as the department was already doing a marvelous job of comprehensive anti-racism programming and training with Resident Assistants and the on-campus population.

Read More

With a Steady Stream of Anxieties, AHEPPP is My Remedy

For me (as I’m sure for you), fall is typically a time of exhaustion and excitement. Those feelings are folded together into a series of programming that helps my team and I connect with students and families. The events are generally joyful and the exhaustion is typically acute; bound to four or five solid days of early mornings, late nights and countless conversations with strangers (that drain the introvert in me). My anxiety is usually high during this time of year, but I have found ways to control it and find comfort in keeping busy - and in banking my 20K daily steps running around campus. 

Read More

Other Duties as Assigned: My Experience as a COVID Test Observer

We all will certainly have very distinct memories of life during COVID that will last a lifetime. There are many experiences from the last several months in my personal and professional life that I know will stick with me—including my newfound responsibility as a COVID test observer. 

Read More

AHEPPP Cares... about one another

Hello Friends and Colleagues! It is difficult to write a blog about AHEPPP Cares without reflecting on just how much I care about AHEPPP. Like many of you, I often describe the Family Engagement in Higher Education experience as much more than a professional development opportunity or a mere higher-ed organization. Yes, the work being done is phenomenal and the resources are in abundance, but it’s so much more. We build relationships here. We are familial here. We lean into this community. We rely on one another. Never has this been more prevalent than during the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost immediately we saw our colleagues and friends turn to this community for support through social media, Zoom meetings, phone calls and daily check-ins. The connections here are strong and the impacts are very real. It may have been the profession, the resources or maybe even the conference that brought you here, but it is without a doubt, the people and relationships that have connected you here. 

Read More

Virtual Parent Engagement: Insight Discussion Series

As colleges and universities across the world become increasingly globalized communities, parent and family programs professionals must be creative with the ways in which we engage parents and families and strengthen their connection to our institutions. Often, it is simply not feasible for families to get to campus or, in return, to bring campus staff and faculty to families across the world. In determining how to fill this gap at UCLA, our Parent & Family Programs team recognized that the digital resources at our fingertips presented us with a great opportunity: to create a virtual discussion space where UCLA parents and families can feel personally connected to the individuals and issues their students encounter the most. 

Read More

Creating Lasting Community Partners & Sponsors

All of our universities exist within a community, from small and quaint to large and urban. Establishing bridges between the university and community can reap benefits for both entities, especially in parent programming.

Read More

Active Minds: A Mental Health Resource for Students, Parents, Professionals, etc.

On our recent AHEPPP call, I was reminded of the importance of resources. Hopefully we have all been connecting with the resources on our campuses and those available remotely as well. One of the resources I was connected to early on by our Counseling and Psychological Services department in this crisis is the Active Minds website. There are not only articles that you can share, but there are also webinars that have been offered this week, including one today for "Young Adults, Parents, Remote Workers, Neighbors/Community Members" that might be of interest. You must sign up for the webinars, but they are free and you can sign up here.

Read More

Taking Your PFP Programs on the Road

We know that partnerships on campus are fundamental to a successful family program. Some form naturally, such as joining Admissions or the First-Year Office for summer orientations, while others may develop from a single conversation or, in our case, an opportunity that has been right under your nose.

Read More

A Picture is Worth 1000 Words: Using Pictures to Get Your Message Out

If I had a dollar for every time a parent contacted our office saying, “This is the first time I’m hearing about this” or “Where was that information” or “I don’t think I ever received that email,” let’s just say I would be on the fast-track to retirement. In today’s busy world, campuses are continually challenged to find ways to get important information out to our student and parent/family populations in a timely, relevant and engaging fashion. As emails pile up and attention spans wane, enter the dynamic content options of social media. 

Read More

Parent & Family Coffee Socials

University student populations continue to grow and become more diverse. As such, so do the parent/family populations they "bring with them" to our campuses. Many span the globe, with some never being able to step foot on campus more than once or twice over the entirety of their student’s educational career. UCLA Parent & Family Programs (PFP) is no stranger to this challenge and, in response to a request from families to “build community among other Bruin parents,” produced Parent & Family Coffee Socials, which occur in a number of locations around the world on a single designated date. In 2009, the program began with only a handful of locations in Southern California; however  as word has spread and enthusiastic parents have stepped up to host a social in their area, the Parent & Family Coffee Socials program has grown exponentially each year. In 2017, UCLA Parents’ Council members and volunteers hosted a record-breaking 56 locations with 21 out-of-state and 9 international locations. 

Read More

A Ride Home: Sponsored Transportation

Looking for a ride home? At West Virginia University, we recognized that providing bus transportation for our students over the holiday breaks was a huge relief for our parents. To meet their needs, the Mountaineer Parents Club provides bus transportation to help families get their students home for Thanksgiving, Winter, and Spring breaks. We started this program in 1998 with just two buses and it has grown to sixteen buses that travel to six different states. 

Read More

Bringing Women Together: Celebrating the Multi-generational Relationships of our Students and their Families

We in parent and family programming are often collaboration experts as inherent in our roles we serve to connect our families to the institution in a variety of ways. These partnerships can help to maintain current relationships or create new ones that involve our families and their students in new ways. Our event, Bringing Women Together, was hosted as part of Women’s History Month at the University of Memphis. It was a collaborative partnership with the Parent and Family Services office and the Student Leadership and Involvement office as a celebration of the multi-generational relationships of our students and their families. To celebrate all of the generations at our institution, Lindsey Bray and Rachel Koch of the Parent and Family Services office partnered with Alison Brown, Coordinator for Student Outreach and Support, who oversees programming and services for our parenting students in the Student Leadership & Involvement office. Parent and Family Services invited our parents and their current students and Alison invited parenting students and their children to attend. At the free event, we hosted over 300 students and their family members for brunch and activities with two families in attendance having four generations present. 

Read More

Breathe Nolan

Five years ago, West Virginia University student Nolan Burch died due to alcohol-related hazing activities with a campus fraternity. His death shocked our campus and jump started conversations around Greek Life at WVU.

Read More

Involving Parents in Sexual Assault Prevention

Involving families in the campus discussions about preventing sexual violence is necessary. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s publication Preventing sexual violence on college campuses: Lessons from research and practice (2014) mentions as a principle of effective prevention, “Build on or support positive relationships: Prevention approaches that build on or foster positive relationships between students and their peers, families or communities may have better outcomes.”

Read More

Parents, Ask Your Student These Questions

At Hofstra University, we have found that new college parents and family members are eager to hear and learn from our counseling professionals on appropriate parenting as their children transition to college. Dr. Merry McVey-Noble, assistant clinical director of Student Counseling Services at the Student Health and Counseling Center, Hofstra University explained to families in our workshop, How to Mentor Your Emerging Adult, that asking good questions is a great start. Here is some of her advice to parents:

Read More

Making Inclusive Excellence a Priority in Parent and Family Programs: How We Started Our Journey at Clemson

We will start out by saying, creating a parent/ family program with inclusive excellence is a fluid and continuous process. We aren’t where we would like to be yet, but we have made significant improvements in the last few years.

To begin, here is a bit of context: Student Transitions and Family Programs at Clemson University took over retention programs for underrepresented students in 2014. At that time we had many conversations as a team on what this meant and how each and every staff member was going to need to critically examine what we were doing and what we could improve upon to strive for inclusive excellence.  We started to consistently look at what we were working on and would challenge ourselves to make it better. We were lucky to have experts in inclusive practices in our office space, and we utilized their thoughts and knowledge. At that time our unit consisted of underrepresented student retention, family programs, orientation, student leadership (for orientation and welcome week), and veteran and military programs. For the purpose of this post, we will focus on the overhauls we established within the parent and family programs unit. There were three major areas of focus: family publications, family events and our Parents’ Council (PC) (as you read through this post, you’ll notice this name changes).  

Read More

Family Engagement During Welcome Week

As orientation season ends another begins, Welcome Week!  Many campuses are buzzing with fresh new faces of faculty, staff, and students.  Their optimistic attitudes about the possibilities of the fall semester, coupled with an eagerness to feel the spirit of campus pride, make this the most vibrant time of year! Welcome Week is a special time.  Welcome Week indicates that its the beginning of a new academic season.  It is also a time where colleges and universities typically have the attention of all its students.  Students often expect to be oriented at the beginning of the year through a host of events and activities that help remind them about the numerous resources and services available. 

Read More

Sorority & Fraternity Life: Family Influence

I once had a friend, who is a police officer, joke that I must have made someone mad to have the responsibility of working with both parents and Greeks at Ohio State.  Though I had never really given that much thought, from an outside perspective, I can respect that opinion.  As we all know, many of our colleagues on campus have a skeptical view of family involvement in higher education.  When you couple that with the perception about sorority and fraternity communities and the reality of the major risk management issues these organizations have faced, I can understand the sentiment.  As you can guess from my story, I have the relatively unique position of working with both parent and family engagement and our sorority and fraternity community at Ohio State.  Though many family relations offices are in Student Affairs, I have not met many professionals who also directly work with student activities, especially sorority and fraternity life.  Though my role does have unique challenges (if your role doesn’t let me know if you’re hiring) it also offers unique opportunities to strategically engage families.

Read More