By Jack Dawson
Students’ families are welcomed back to Youngstown State University every year for Family Day, an event that gives students the opportunity to bring their families to campus for food, games, prizes, sports and several other activities especially for families.
The event used to be for resident students but is now open to all students. YSU hosted the annual event on Sept. 30.
Ahjah Johnson, program coordinator for housing and residence life, described the event as YSU’s way of welcoming families back to campus.
Activities include caricature artists, a photo booth, sporting events, games, raffles and family of the year award. Students entered the Family of the Year contest by writing a 500-word essay about their families. The winner received a $500 gift card for the bookstore and a plaque and was recognized at the football game.
Stephanie Reed, associate director of housing and residence life, was excited for the chance to interact with students and their families
Reed was especially excited about the games and activities that students and their families could participate in.
The games included many of the games featured at Penguin Nights the previous day. Families played games to win tickets, which they could then enter into a raffle for a basket of their choosing. The baskets included prizes such as a Fitbit, an Amazon Echo, wireless headphones and a Beats Pill.
Family Day makes a point to get students involved with YSU athletics. The day featured free volleyball and football games.
For families who weren’t inclined toward athletics, Family Day also showcased a Harry Potter themed event at the Ward Beecher Planetarium. The event looked at the night sky in relation to the wizarding world of Harry Potter.
A lot of students looked at the event as a way of reconnecting with their families. Jordan Dickey, a first-year student at YSU, was mostly excited for the opportunity to spend time with her family on and around campus.
Donique Marcella, a second-year student at YSU, liked the opportunity to attend the football game with her family.
John Lucas, a first-year student at YSU, thought the event took place at a good time in the semester. Lucas is not from the surrounding area and said the event gives students that are starting to get homesick a good chance to reconnect with their families.
“I think Family Day is a good idea, it gives people that don’t live close to campus the chance to see their families and spend quality time with them,” Lucas said.
Reed hopes to grow the program and continue to expand upon it each year.