Family Weekend is a weekend at Mercyhurst that has always been bittersweet for me. Although I love seeing all the families descend on the Hurst, I usually spend the weekend missing my own. As an international student, my parents have never been able to visit for this weekend or join in for any of the activities. With the pandemic this year, I feel that a lot of students and families have gotten a taste of what it’s like to not be able to see your family frequently throughout the semester, and to not be able to go home at the drop of a hat. Because of this, having Family Weekend is more important than ever this year. That’s why I’m so glad that Family Weekend has gone ahead online.
I have been disappointed this year by how MSG has failed to commemorate some big Mercyhurst traditions because of the pandemic. Although alumni still got to have Homecoming From Home, nothing was organized solely for the students that were here on campus to take part in. For example, as a senior I was frustrated and sad that we did not get to elect our Homecoming Court, even virtually. This year we’ll also miss out on Springfest, and I don’t think MSG has any plans to do a similar virtual event to mark this weekend. That said, MSG did a wonderful job with maintaining a sense of normalcy over Family Weekend. My parents were able to join events virtually from Ireland and register for t-shirts that I could pick up on their behalf. I thought that the Young Alumni Panel was such a nice way to remind families and current students how the Hurst will live on as part of our identities beyond graduation, and how we can foster that. It was so great to hear from the panel of alumni, including Justin Hawkins ‘18, Lynne Gillott ‘18, Sam Lioi ‘17 and Morgan Wangler ‘18. I knew some of these people when I was a freshman and it was a pleasure to see them again.
In addition, I have spent most of my Family Weekends at Mercyhurst working as a senator or MAC/SAC programmer, and so it felt good to just sit back and take part. I was able to play bingo and compete for some great prizes, and my mom was able to take part in a painting tutorial with the Art department. Overall this weekend was a hit, because instead of simply canceling the event or changing it hugely, the university made it work for the times that we’re in, and I appreciated that.