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It’s a family affair at Wingate this weekend

by Luanne Williams

What’s it really like to be a Wingate Bulldog? Students can share the feeling with their parents and siblings during special events planned for Family Weekend.

 “The purpose of Family Weekend is to get families to come back on campus after students have settled in and have had time to get to know Wingate so they can introduce their families to the activities and people they are falling in love with,” says Brittany Bumgarner, assistant director of Alumni and Parent Relations. She says the event also gives parents of first-year students a chance to check in with them just over a month after the start of classes and to network with more seasoned moms and dads.

A group  of people at tables under an arbor.

Kicking off with the Clambake at the Campus Lake on Friday and ending with soccer and football on Saturday night, the two-day celebration is chock full of tradition but also features some new offerings.

Although it started out primarily as an alumni and athletic dinner, the Clambake has evolved into a much broader event involving alumni, parents and current students. Extra seating has been added this year to accommodate the crowd at the campus lake. The meal includes all-you-can eat seafood, and proceeds from the live auction support Wingate athletics.

Families who prefer a movie under the stars Friday night can opt to hang out in the heart of campus and enjoy Peter Rabbit at the Amphitheater.

Saturday will kick off with the cross country team’s Bulldog Stampede, followed by an 11 a.m. University Update at the Batte Center’s McGee Theatre. Families will hear from President Rhett Brown and Provost Helen Tate prior to enjoying a Family Mixer on the Batte Center Lawn. Name tags will include hometowns so that parents can more easily network with one another.

Another newly revamped Family Weekend offering will be the Saturday afternoon Breakout time during which parents can learn more about a variety of topics. In the Recital Hall, students who have taken part in W’International will share what they most loved about their travels, and representatives from the Office of International Programs will answer questions about all of Wingate’s study-abroad opportunities. Meanwhile, families can go to the Vocal Hall to learn about internships, resumes and jobs from Lori Brasile, the assistant director of Internships and Career Services.

During the second half of the Breakout, parents can hear from representatives from the Office of Counseling Services, who will address challenges unique to college students and help facilitate discussion during a session called Parent Confidential.

“The idea here is to give parents more opportunities to share with one another the ways in which they are dealing with various issues,” Bumgarner says. “We want parents whose children just arrived this year to get advice from others who have already undergone some of the same challenges.”

A middle aged couple and their son eat at a table decorated in blue and gold.

Another Breakout option will highlight the various ways students can spend their time outside of the classroom. Tommy Severin and Michaela Tuesburg from the Office of Residence Life and Involvement will share details about Wingate’s registered student organizations and the host of on-campus activities that enhance and support the college experience.  

“This session is targeted more to the families of younger students who may still be looking to their parents for guidance about how to get involved. Maybe they haven’t fully found their campus home yet. This will help parents be informed so they can know what’s available,” Bumgarner explains.

Breakout sessions will end at 3:15 p.m. Saturday, giving families time to visit Wingate Outfitters before heading to the tailgate area next to the Irwin Belk Stadium. Soccer fans can watch Wingate take on Tusculum at Pride Park, while those who prefer football will see the Bulldogs face Lenoir-Rhyne.

Check out the Wingate website for a full schedule of Family Weekend events and detailed information about ticket availability.