Family Weekend brings visitors

FAMILY UND hosts events for students’ families to experience life on campus.

About 340 families participated in UND’s 21st Annual Family Weekend held this part weekend.

Starting Friday morning, families had the opportunity to attend several classes with their students. Beyond the classrooms, families also took part in other campus events such as family night at the Wellness Center and tours of campus.

Saturday, families attended games, as both the football and volleyball teams were at home.

Some families and freshmen said they were just glad to be reunited with their students for the weekend.

“It is really nice having my family here,” freshman Ginger Dougherty said. “I missed them a lot, and it’s really nice to show them what I have done the last several weeks here at UND.”

Kristi Okerlund, of the UND student Event and Leadership Office, said there are several advantages to family weekend.

“The good thing about Family Weekend was they got to choose what they wanted to do,” she said. “Some families just wanted to be together. Other families wanted to do everything and experience life on campus.”

In addition to students seeing their parents, many also saw their younger siblings, who took full advantage of the time with their older brothers and sisters.

Heather Varez, mother of freshman Phelan Varez, was glad to bring her other children to visit their brother for the first time since move-in day.

“Last night at dinner, (Phelan’s siblings) both wanted to sit next to him,” Heather Varez said. “They definitely missed him a lot.”

Heather Varez and many other parents, including Ken Nordberg, agreed while they looked back on the events of Welcome Weekend and how their children seemed then. Just over a month later, they were able to see big changes in their children.

“Ryan seemed a little nervous the day we came and dropped him off,” Nordberg said of his son. “Since then, things have sounded to have gone pretty well for him. He did well on his quizzes; he spends a lot of time working out, and it just sounds like he has had a really good time.”

Leading up to the event, Okerlund said volunteers came in for a few hours and put welcome bags together for each family. While it was just the second year they separated Homecoming from family Weekend, Okerlund said they have gotten very positive feedback.

Although the event went by quickly, the Student and Leadership Office already has preparations underway for the next Family Weekend.

Mathew McKay is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at