Blog

Parenting in Parent & Family Programs

I’ve been pondering what I can share for the blog that will be a little different, and insightful, and fun. So here goes. I’m writing about what I live every day (in more ways than one): parenting. The following is a list of eight things I’ve learned over the past eight years since I’ve been gifted with parenthood. Not a parent? It’s okay. I hope you find something with which you can relate since all of us are trying to create balance in our lives.

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Siblings Day Events

Siblings Day or "Sibs Day" is a great way to not only create another opportunity to connect with your families, but also to expose a younger generation to campus life. Georgia Tech Parent & Family Programs proudly hosted Sibs Day for a third year on February 11, 2017.  Georgia Tech students were encouraged to host brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, family friends-you name it (ages 7-17) and give them taste of campus life–Yellow Jacket-style! NOTE: Parents and family members are welcome at all events, but must register as a participant as well. 

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Cultivating a Growth Mindset

The Growth Mindset is presented during the first day of our two-day orientation. It’s the second presentation after the welcome, when students have temporarily left their parent to start their program.  It is presented by Amanda Durik a psychology professor at Northern Illinois University who has done extensive research on this concept. 

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Parent & Family Self Service Center

Over the past eight years, the University of Texas Arlington’s Parent & Family Center (PFC) has offered students of Maverick Parent & Family Association (MPFA) members FREE testing materials (scantrons, bluebooks and pencils). This student benefit allows the PFC a chance to connect with students. In addition, our office has the opportunity to affect student retention in a unique way by providing this service to our students. 

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Taste of Rochester - A Unique Family Event

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) is located in a suburb of Rochester, NY. The area is rich with history, nature, culture, food and drink. Unfortunately, because of its location outside of the city, many of RIT’s students and families do not go into the city and miss opportunities to experience the many of the wonderful offerings available. In order to spotlight for our families that their visits to campus can be more fun than a trip to Target and a meal in the dining hall, I developed a program for our Family Weekend called Taste of Rochester.

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21st Birthday Program - Celebrating & Educating Our Students and Families

The purpose of this program is to engage families of Gonzaga University (GU) students in promoting and encouraging healthy behaviors and responsible decision-making related to student alcohol consumption. The program was created in response to a need to reduce risky drinking behaviors often associated with 21st birthday celebrations among GU students, and also in response to several student narratives that their parents had encouraged them not to shy away from the campus drinking culture, stating that 'it was a just normal part of life as a college student'.

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Move-In Day Family Lounge

On move-in days for first-year students we host a family lounge with refreshments, a chance to write a note of encouragement to students, and an opportunity to chat with faculty, staff, current students, and administrators. The lounge has not been well-attended in the past, so this year we provided an incentive to encourage families to visit us. We offered our families the opportunity to create a goody bag for their student – free of charge. To make this happen with our limited budget, we reached out to our colleagues across campus for swag item donations typically given at recruiting and other outreach events.

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Tips for Developing a Parent Calendar or Handbook

Each year, the University of Wisconsin-Madison produces a calendar & handbook and provides it to incoming families at orientation, along with mailing a copy to all other families with a current undergraduate student in years 2-4. Additional family or support members may request a calendar by contacting our office. The piece meets our program goals by being inclusive, inviting and informative. It also allows us to share campus resources, points of pride and tips that help families transition into the role of a coach and a mentor. 

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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.☺️

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First Day of Classes

Families love to take “first day of class” photos as their students navigate K-12. It is fun to continue the tradition even once your student is at college. The University of Kentucky shared the idea of “First Day of Class Pictures” with Georgia Tech Parent & Family Programs and it was implemented for the first time in Fall 2016. Several other campuses host this event as well. University of Louisville even made a cute video of the day.

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How to Encourage Student Independence and Problem-Solving

One of the toughest parts of working in parent/family relations is how to help families understand when NOT to get involved, and recognize that allowing their students to solve their own problems will help them develop independence and essential problem-solving skills.

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Favorite Family Giveaways

Based on your responses to questions posed on the AHEPPP Members Facebook Group, we have compiled a list of some of your favorite swag items!

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Move-in activity: Family Note of Encouragement

Western Michigan University's move-in schedule for first-year students is spread over two days to ease traffic congestion and chaos in the halls. We offer a hospitality area in a convenient location for parents and families to take a break, ask questions, enjoy refreshments, and enter raffle drawings. As an incentive for families to stop by, we offer the opportunity to write a note of support, encouragement, congratulations, love, etc. to their student. We then mail the cards to the students about three weeks into the semester. 

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New Student Receptions

Wake Forest hosts between 30-35 New Student Receptions nationwide each summer to provide an opportunity for incoming first-year students and their parents and family members to meet one another before the start of school. This is one of our most popular programmatic offerings because it helps reduce the anxiety of starting the unknown.

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Family Orientation: Tips for Professionals & Parents

Eight Tips for Parent/Family Programs Professionals

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