Families Connect at Junior Parents Weekend

Author: Katie Harris

Families Connect at Junior Parents WeekendXule Lin

Thirty months ago, parents dropped off the Class of 2016 at Notre Dame for the first time. On Feb. 20 for Junior Parents Weekend, those parents returned to experience the community and home their children have made while away at college.

The events of Junior Parents’ Weekend included a gala and meals for parents and students to socialize. Parents met friends, friends’ parents, hall staff and professors, all of whom play an important role in students’ live at Notre Dame. The events allowed parents to learn about their child’s second home.

Emma Fleming, a junior English and Spanish major, says it is very important to bring families together. “You get to bring people who really created your first idea and image of home to your new home,”Fleming says.

Fleming’s mother, Judy Dean-Fleming agreed, and says it was nice to hear how much Notre Dame loved her daughter. “Something beyond you is loving your child — their teacher, their rectors, their community — so that makes you feel really good,” she says.

Tony Fleming, Emma’s father, says, “You look around at the room, and I think that speaks for itself.” 

The room was generally filled with excited, chattering voices, eager to share stories and accomplishments and to combine their separate family spheres.

“We’re talking about the future, the projects you’re working on. It’s not being in an orientation where the teachers are telling you, ‘here’s what going to happen in the next couple of years.’ You’re starting to acquire accomplishments now. It’s cool. This is a really neat time,” Mr. Fleming says.

In his address at the President’s Dinner on Feb. 21, Junior Class President Zach Waterson also offered his thoughts on the ideal timing of JPW.

Waterson says, “Sometime over the last few months, we realized that when we set foot on this campus years ago, we weren’t becoming independent of family, we were complimenting one family with another and now, over this weekend, we have the opportunity to witness our two families come together ... for juniors at Notre Dame, the words ‘friend’ and ‘family’ have become synonymous.”