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Family weekend for both ‘blood’ family and friends

Photo courtesy of Concordia College Family Weekend.

Family Weekend has long been a tradition at Concordia College, and it is a tradition that will be continued this weekend, Sept. 14 through Sept. 16. Family Weekend is a host to a plethora of activities, including things like tailgating, the ice cream social, the showcase performance, and several other events for students and their families to participate in on campus throughout the weekend. All these activities are for all students to attend, with or without families present, but the title of “Family Weekend” can seem a little daunting to certain students whose families are unable to attend.

Family Weekend is headed up by students Emma Gjesdahl (Family Weekend Chair) and Kasey Ferguson (Executive Assistant). There are 25 other students involved in different committees to help plan and run everything for the weekend.

Gjesdahl has a big family tie to Concordia – her mother is an employee at the college, Gjesdahl is a senior here herself, her brother is a junior, and her sister is a freshman. For her, having her family participate in the weekend’s events isn’t such a big deal.

“I’m from Fargo, so it’s not as much of a big deal for them to come experience campus because they experience it fairly frequently,” Gjesdahl explained, “I get to go home and see them very frequently.”

Ferguson also grew up in Fargo, so she has always had home easily accessible to her college life.

“I never really struggled to find an opportunity to see my family during my pivotal first few weeks of college,” Ferguson said, “However, in watching other students experience the difficulty in finding time for their family to visit was eye-opening.”

Family Weekend serves as an opportunity for students to reunite with their families after beginning to settle in to their lives on campus. It also gives families a chance to see what their child or sibling is up to here at Concordia.

Knut-Erik Kjoege is a senior international student from Norway. For Kjoege, Family Weekend is a bit different than it is for students’ whose families live nearby.

Kjoege participated in some Family Weekend events his freshman year with another Norwegian student at the time. Since then, he has not returned.

“In my later year I have chosen not to participate,” Kjoege said, “not because I have felt uncomfortable, but because I feel it should be done with family, not friends.”

Gjesdahl and Ferguson assure that they encourage all students to participate in Family Weekend, with or without their families present.

“We believe that ‘family’ can be both blood family, friends’ family or anything else,” Gjesdahl said, “If a student’s family isn’t coming, they should come with their roommate, or a clubbie or any other friend they have.”

With that in mind, it can still be difficult for students to be apart from family during this weekend. While the weekend is an opportunity for all students, certain ones are left feeling isolated.

“The hardest part about being so far from home during Family Weekend is seeing my fellow students being reunited with their families,” Kjoege said, “Family is a big part of my life, so seeing the joy families have together is something I try to distance myself from.”

A list of Family Weekend events can be found on the Concordia College website by searching “Family Weekend” in the search bar.

If you are wary of attending without family in town, Gjesdahl assures that “Even though it is named ‘Family Weekend’ doesn’t mean that your family needs to come for you to come.”

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