NYU held its annual Alumni and Parents Day this past weekend, where former students and parents of current first-year or transfer students are welcomed back to campus with a flurry of lectures, tours and information sessions. NYU’s various departments and schools banded together to host a number of different events, from workshops to tours of school facilities. Events like this have become a staple of the college experience, with many schools turning their family weekend events into full blown extravaganzas with guest lectures, celebrity entertainers and football games. Many institutions regard family weekend as a phenomenon, one worthy of significant planning and consideration. For example, the University of Texas at Austin lists up to 95 events spread over the course of three days. But while it is nice for freshmen to see their parents again in a university-organized setting, it represents a considerable disruption for its other students. While we don’t go as far as UT, NYU’s Parents Day is still a cumbersome annoyance for its students and NYU should consider doing away with the event outright.
This past weekend, the hustle and bustle of New York streets were only made worse by gawking parents joining the fray. Dining halls and local restaurants were full of families trying to negotiate plans, and students trying to study in Bobst had to work around presentations and panels. The timing of Parents Day — smack dab in the middle of midterms — is another mark against it in the eyes of students not taking part in the events.
It’s debatable whether NYU has the infrastructure to host thousands of parents on the square for a day, but more than that — the school should not feel like it has to. The whole idea of family weekends is unnecessary, and represents an incessant desire for parents to be involved in the lives of their children long after they need to be. NYU should not facilitate this overbearingness. Adulthood is not a custody battle between school life and home life — there are no visitation hours. Ultimately, while Parents Weekend can be a fun reprieve from school, it mostly represents a distraction for the rest of the student body and a waste of school resources for a few hours of hoopla.
If parents decide that they want to take the time to visit their children in New York City, stuffing them in Kimmel or Bobst and having them watch a slideshow is hardly the best they could do. Not only is NYU’s Parents Day inconvenient to students in the middle of midterm season, but it is also the least interesting thing that parents could do in the city with their kids. Take them out to Broadway, go for a bike ride in Central Park, go shopping — anything but boring them with the minutiae of the university. The inconvenience the event causes is avoidable, and the university should reevaluate whether or not it is worth the trouble.
Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them.
Email Emily Fong at [email protected]