Boo-Hoo Woo-Hoo Parent Send Off

Ohio University (OHIO) is located in Athens which is in the Appalachian foothills of southeastern Ohio. 33% of the first-year class at OHIO identify as first-generation college students and, for many of their parents and supporters, this is the first or second time coming to a university campus. Even for those parent pros, they sometimes didn’t know if they are happy or sad…or both.☺️

After receiving feedback from parents and supporters about not knowing what to do after they move their student into their residence hall, we introduced the “Boo-Hoo/Woo-Hoo Parent Send-Off” throughout the two-days of move-in. For those asking, 'What do we do after our student has moved in? Is there a time that we should leave?’ This program offered a space where if parents needed to cry or celebrate, they could do that and in a few cases, it was really that first moment of separation. Parents went out one door; student out the other.

For this program, we reserved space in the coffee house in our University Union. We had 25 volunteers available to connect with parents and supporters over coffee and cookies between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. both days. The coffee was provided by our Culinary Services department and we purchased fresh cookies from a local bake shop.

The Boo-Hoo/Woo-Hoo send-off was a success, and it provided another sounding board and someone from the University to listen and respond to questions. Families were able to reconnect with our office and build connections to others who shared their sentiments.

Tips for anyone looking to replicate this at their school:
  • Be sure to put a “call-out” for volunteers to the university community (staff, faculty, other current families) so you have strong representation from campus. Most times, faculty and staff of college-aged students will be there to support you!
  • Consider having multiple “send-off” locations in the residential areas of campus.
  • Create fliers to be placed in the residence halls – not all supporters are on social media.
  • Bring tissues and other informational swag so families know how to connect with your office later.


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