Mississippi University for Women held Parent and Family Day on Saturday, Sept. 27. It was the first time that the W has ever held such an event on campus, and the plan is to make it an annual occasion.
Parent and Family Day brought students and loved ones together for a day of activities, food and excitement. Happiness seemed to be in abundance as family members began to arrive on the campus at 10 a.m. to check-in for the day’s event.
It looked as though the weather would interfere with the day’s plans. The sky gave off a grim appearance, the gray clouds that hovered above made the morning look almost like sundown. There was a slight breeze in the air, and the possibility of rain seemed likely. Luckily, Mother Nature decided to not spoil the day.
Jessica Harpole, director of student life at MUW, was stationed outside of Poindexter Hall checking in family members before they went into the building. She played a major role in making the day possible. She has been planning out the event for a year and a half. The process included collaborating with several other offices and business both on campus and in the community of Columbus to provide an array of options for family members.
“We’ve been talking about doing some sort of family friendly programming for some time now, and so we decided that Parent and Family Day would be that option. So what we wanted to do was create a day where our parents and family members could spend time with their students on campus,” said Harpole.
Assisting Harpole in preparing for the event was Austin Rayford. He is sophomore here at the W. He played an important role in organizing the event as a student intern for the office of Student Life. He was excited to show his family around the campus.
“I’m happy to be able to bring my family in on the W experience, to show them not only the W but what Columbus has to offer, and today is a great opportunity,” said Rayford.
His grandmother, Barbara Sutton, and younger cousin Matthew Brown came to the festivities. There was a gleam in Sutton’s eyes and a smile on her face as she watched her grandson work. She said their relationship is extremely close.
She revealed that Rayford’s mother had died last year, so being the support system that he needs is something that she takes seriously. They talk to one another every day on the phone, and he told her about the event.
“I’ve really enjoyed this. I have never seen anything like this before,” said Sutton when asked about the day’s festivities.
All day long there were activities and entertainment for the families to attend. The fun started with a cook-out sponsored by the Residence Hall Association at 11:30 a.m. near the gazebo.
Around 12:30 p.m., families had the option to go on a tour of the campus, view the art gallery’s senior exhibit or go on the double-decker bus tour around the city of Columbus.
At 2:30 p.m., families could check out performances from the International Student Association. ISA did four sets of performances. Sumitra Karki, president of ISA, talked about how much time and effort members put into rehearsing.
“They had been practicing in Nissan Auditorium for three nights and had been practicing in the dorms and in their rooms for the past week,” said Karki.
As the day went on, entertainment included an improv performance by the theater department, arts and crafts and,to top things off, a hypnotist performed. It was an all-around day of fun and togetherness. The smiles on the faces of MUW students revealed what was most important to them: having the opportunity to spend time with the people who love them.