Counting Down the Days to Family Weekend 2018


In typical fall quarter fashion, we have already sped through Weeks 1 through 4, and many of our first-year students are rounding off their first months away from home.

Speaking from personal experience, every second spent at home or with loved ones is special. And it’s not just fall quarter that goes by too quickly. Before you even realize it you’re already a senior. Real-life looms near and graduation is nigh. In the midst of all our business, we forget to call the people back home who are thinking of us. Thankfully, it seems Northwestern understands this, too: For families who are counting down the days to see their students, family weekend will offer three days of events from Friday, October 26, through Sunday, October 28.


While all families can attend the annual events, the weekend is particularly special for those of first-year students, who make up more than 60 percent of attendees. As in past years, the Saturday tailgate and football game will mark what some may consider the highlight of family weekend. Anyone who still wishes to attend the game after the tailgate can purchase tickets through Northwestern Athletics.

Family weekend, hosted by Student Affairs, gives parents a real glimpse into the day-to-day lives of Northwestern students. On Friday, families have the opportunity to attend lectures hosted by some of the faculty who teach their students. Here’s an overview of some of the speakers, who will speak about various topics on our campus:

  • Medill Prof. Patti Wolter will speak about building narratives and longform storytelling.

  • Bienen Prof. Ryan Dohoney will survey the history of experimental music in the United States.

  • Weinberg Prof. Wendy Pearlman will present her oral history of the Syrian civil war to chronicle the Middle Eastern conflict.

  • And, new this year, the Buffet Institute will be hosting former President Barack Obama’s national security advisor Tom Donilon, for an event titled “National Security’s Greatest Threats and the Path Forward.”

The weekend aims to provide more specialized activities, for families to access the smaller building blocks of student life. On Friday afternoon and evening, schools and residential halls or colleges will hold individualized information sessions. Northwestern is also holding discussions through Counseling and Psychological Services and Multicultural Student Affairs about resources for LGBTQ students and students of color. Religious & Spiritual Life will offer mass, Shabbat dinner and Ju’mah.


Yes, family weekend has something for everyone, but it’s not just about University programming. It offers us something very simple but much needed, especially at this point in the quarter: a quick breather with the people we love. Make sure to visit New Student and Family Programs for the complete schedule of events planned for family weekend.