The Importance of Campus Partners

As I reflect on another year of Family Weekend at the University of Houston, I am reminded of all the people on campus I am lucky enough to call campus partners who make my job (and my life) easier. In a role that has Parent and Family Programs as fifty-percent of my responsibility, I came in knowing that in order to be successful and serve parents and families effectively I would need help. In fact, my sanity depended on it! 

In the spring of 2017, I had this crazy idea to move our Friday night opening BBQ to the club level of the stadium the night prior to a football game whose time would not be announced until 10-14 days prior to game time (welcome to having Family Weekend on a football weekend at a school that now gets some TV coverage). Prior to my Family Weekend Committee meeting, I visited with my campus partners in Athletics to discuss the stadium tour the year prior and how we could improve our participant's exposure to the facilities and get them excited about UH Athletics.  Much to my surprise, in the discussion we talked about moving the tour to the stadium on Friday night AND possibly hosting the opening night BBQ there as a part of that. After a little bit of planning with facilities, catering in the stadium, and our marketing folks there, we were able to host our event there for the first time on October 6, 2017. 

I know that my scenario might be fairly unique (or maybe it is not), but my point is that if you have strong established partnerships across campus, you never know what is possible. Of course you must consider some things when establishing and maintaining those partnerships like the "WIIFM" or the "What's in it for me" of your campus partner because if I asked for everything and could provide nothing in return, my asks may get old. In the case of Athletics, we talk about what the Family Weekend event does for them, but also about how I can support Athletics in general through my event inclusion and sharing information through our Parent and Family Facebook page and monthly electronic newsletter. I also like to meet with their marketing team at least once a year to make sure that I know how I can consistently be present and what I can do to help. 

I consider myself lucky not only for the relationship I have with Athletics at UH, but for the amazing committee I lead for Family Weekend and Siblings Day in addition to all the other things we do together for orientation, admissions, celebrations, etc. There is no way I could do all that I do without my campus partners and I hope that I add value to their programs and services as well because when you have a shared mission and vision, working together shouldn't be that hard. Go Coogs!

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