Students without visiting families find ways to make memories during Family Weekend

As Family Weekend approaches, senior Kylie Windecker thinks of her parents, who who died from illness in 2009 and 2013. She remembers watching old black and white films with her dad and having long conversations with her mom, who always had a cup of coffee in hand.

“Just because I don’t have a family doesn’t mean other people shouldn’t celebrate theirs,” Windecker said. “Even though it’s hard for me sometimes…it’s just how it is, and I wouldn’t ever want people to feel awkward around me, and I wouldn’t want people to not celebrate their families because I can’t celebrate mine the same way. In fact, I think that people should even be more mindful.”

This year’s Family Weekend takes place Sept. 18 through 20 and provides many different opportunities for students, family and friends to enjoy. Among other events, it includes a chapel service, comedian, brunch, on-campus resource expo, football and soccer game, and an ice cream social.

Senior McKenzie Mikulski, chair of the Family Weekend Committee, said that in the past, one of her favorite parts of the event was introducing her parents to her Cobber family.

Kylie Windecker hangs with her Cobber Family. Submitted photo.

Kylie Windecker hangs with her Cobber Family. Submitted photo.

“I got to show my biological family this new family that I’ve become a part of,” Mikulski said.

However, for students like Windecker, the event can serve as a reminder of family members who cannot attend. International students are another group who may experience loneliness throughout the weekend.

Ellie Pedersen, an international student from Holmestrand, Norway, misses her family, but plans on attending some Family Weekend events with her roommates and close friends. Pederson said Family Weekend may be intimidating to some international students who haven’t had time to make close friends, or who feel shy because of the language barrier.

“You’d think that I’d feel excluded,” Pedersen said, “but I’ve been really lucky with my friends and roommates, that their families kind of adopt you and let you tag along, and that helps a little bit when you miss your family.”

According to an article published in The Concordian by Stephanie Barnhart on Sept. 27, 2011, there used to be a program for students whose families couldn’t attend Family Weekend, called “Adopt-a-Cobber,” however it was discontinued in 2006 due to low participation.

The Student Government Association would like prospective leaders to consider the notion of something similar to “Adopt-a-Cobber” said Student Body President Tanner Knutson. “Obviously it would ultimately be up to the Family Weekend Committee to implement, but this year it is not something we are actively advocating for,” Knutson said.

While Windecker can’t attend the event with either of her parents, she hopes to bring her younger siblings to the football game.

“I think as you get older and as the community at Concordia becomes your family, you realize that Family Weekend is so much more than your parents,” Windecker said. “It’s something where you can celebrate the community that you have, whether it’s your parents or your friends from other schools, or your siblings, or your aunts, or whatever.”

 

Micaela Gerhardt

Micaela Gerhardt is a junior at Concordia College pursuing a degree in English Writing and Spanish Studies. Along with writing for The Concordian, she participates in SALSA (Student Association for Living and Studying Abroad) and works at the historic Fargo Theatre. She enjoys breakfast food, poetry, roadtrips, and a dry sense of humor.

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