Rensselaer Celebrates Family Weekend
As the leaves turn color and the cool autumn weather settles in, the campus will be buzzing with activity as thousands of Rensselaer families are expected to visit Oct. 18-20 to celebrate Family Weekend. Parents, family members, alumni, and friends will have an opportunity to get a glimpse of life at Rensselaer through a variety of cultural offerings and performances, academic classroom programs, tours, dinners, film screenings, and athletic events.
“Family Weekend is designed to not only reinforce our students love of Rensselaer, but to also foster the same feeling of community in family members,” said Shanté Brown, assistant dean in the Office of the First-Year Experience.
“We have a number of events planned campuswide for students and families,” Brown added. “For our first-year families, this may be their first time back to campus since Student Orientation or since dropping their student off in August. Each year, we work to create numerous opportunities for these families and others to experience life at Rensselaer as their students do. We also look forward to welcoming upperclass families back to campus as they celebrate and participate in transformative experiences.”
The annual event—hosted by the Office of the Student Experience—typically attracts thousands to campus to experience the season and life at Rensselaer. Last year, more than 4,000 people attended.
On Saturday, Oct. 19, President Shirley Ann Jackson will deliver a presentation of the progress and accomplishments taking place at Rensselaer. The talk will take place in the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center Concert Hall, from 9 to 9:30 a.m. The 20th annual Honors Convocation ceremony, which celebrates the outstanding academic achievements of students and faculty, will immediately follow in the same location.
Brown noted that the schedule is designed with the Clustered Learning, Advocacy, and Support for Students (CLASS) initiative in mind—with designations for each class theme. Highlights of this year’s events include student performances and exhibitions, family and class-focused dinners, and partnerships with student organizations. In addition, the Lighting Research Center is hosting presentations for families by graduate and undergraduate students.
On the playing fields, events include the men’s football game vs. the University of Rochester. Prior to the game, members of the Sigma Chi fraternity will host a tailgate barbecue outside of the East Campus Athletic Village. All proceeds will go to the Huntsman Cancer Institute to help fund cancer research. In addition, individuals can lend their support in attending men’s hockey vs. Sacred Heart University, and a women’s hockey game vs. University of Vermont.
For individuals interested in getting a glimpse of the diverse cultures on campus, the annual International Festival event will showcase more than 20 different countries and cultures representing the Rensselaer Union international student organizations and individual members of campus. The event will be held Saturday, Oct. 19, in the Rensselaer Union McNeil Room from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Families also will have an opportunity to attend the annual Fall Fest Celebration. The free community event features performers, food vendors, crafters, and children’s activities. Area businesses and community organizations also participate. The event will take place at the East Campus Athletic Village from noon to 2 p.m.
Sixty-five events have been planned for the weekend to highlight the many facets of Rensselaer. In addition to campus visitors, students, staff, and faculty are welcome and encouraged to attend any of the open programs throughout the weekend.
To view the complete schedule of events, visit