Family Weekend Shortened to a Virtual Family Day

Student Life Develops Online Events for Students and Their Families


Ben Wyrick

Families pose with Ernie the eagle during Family Weekend in 2019. Due to COVID-19, this traditional time for families and students to connect will be held completely online this year.

Cassidy Wagoner, Staff Writer

Bridgewater, Va. – Bridgewater College announced that October 24, 2020, will be family day. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event will be held entirely online. 

It has been a tradition at BC to have a weekend filled with activities for families and students. This year things are going to be a bit different with less activities but more accessibility. 

“It seems like having a normal, in-person family weekend wouldn’t be a smart idea and the school seems to be trying their best to make the most out of the situation,“ said freshman Karis David. “But a virtual family weekend is a little disappointing.” 

Throughout Family Day, there will be three events that families and students can participate in. 

The first event of the day is “Coffee with the President.” The morning brunch will give students the opportunity to meet President Bushman and ask him any questions they may have. 

The second event, held in the early afternoon, is “Desert with the Dean.” This event will allow students to get to know Dean Frere, who is vice president for student life and dean of students. 

This event is mainly for families to become acquainted with Student Life. It will provide context on what a day in the life of a student at Bridgewater College is like. 

Lastly, there will be a trivia event held in the evening. This event will bring together families and students to engage in a fun and competitive way. Families and students can join to compete against other families and students. 

“I would probably not participate, as I don’t see any advantages to online family day,” said sophomore William Flanagan. “I would rather talk to my parents and family on the phone. However, I think it would be great for people who have not had a chance to meet the president or dean because of COVID.”

With the virtual activities planned for Family Day, families from anywhere will be able to participate. In past years, it may have been difficult for families to make the specific dates chosen for the weekend. This year families and students can access family day in a more convenient way. 

“With family day being virtual, it makes it more accessible to everyone,” said Sam Schlernitzauer, coordinator of student engagement and leadership. “We know some students can’t go home over fall break, due to current circumstances, so having it virtual, students can connect with their families.”

The Student Life office at Bridgwater College has been working to develop a plan for this year’s events. With the three events being held on Family Day, the college will be able to provide what may be most needed for students and families — time to reconnect. 

“A challenge was deciding whether or not to keep it on a regular schedule or push it back. Events like ‘Coffee with the President’ were held virtually over the summer,” said Schlernitzauer. “We knew we could do this virtually, but figuring out when was going to be the best time for families was challenging”

Student Life acknowledges that this year’s Family Day will no doubt be different from previous years, but it will still be able to foster connections between families and students. 

Longing for reconnection at and with Bridgewater College is a sentiment that alumni are also expressing, as a traditional homecoming will not be taking place this fall. 

“I think it’s very understandable why there’s no homecoming; however, I was really looking forward to seeing my 2020 classmates again, especially since we didn’t get a solid goodbye when we graduated,” said MaryBeth Killian `20.