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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Family Weekend unites students and families for weekend of activities

This past weekend, Carleton parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, friends and loved ones from across the globe traveled to Northfield to visit their Carleton students. From Friday, Oct. 13 to Sunday, Oct. 15, different departments and offices hosted events for students and families, ranging from tours to religious services to movie nights. 

One of the first events held on Friday was the Family Weekend Convocation, in which Grace Colburn ’26 introduced the speaker, her father Gregg Colburn. Colburn spoke about a book that he co-wrote, “Homelessness is a Housing Problem,” which evaluates popular beliefs about homelessness in a data-driven manner. The book evaluates homelessness not from the perspective of those experiencing it, but from the wider perspective of the major metropolitan areas in which homelessness is a problem. Colburn wrote and spoke about how many of the conventional beliefs about what drives homelessness are statistically untrue, and dove into the regional variation of the housing and homelessness crises. 

After his speech, students, staff and parents were able to ask questions about his book and his speech. “It was a surprisingly good speech,” said Jennifer Gillman, a parent. “I wasn’t so sure about going to convocation at first, but I am very glad I did.” 

While students attended their afternoon classes, there were tours available to families from the Perlman Teaching Museum, the East Energy Station and the Office of Admissions. Due to heavy rain throughout the day, some events, like the architecture tour, were canceled, while others were moved inside. A tent was set up near the chapel as an event space, but due to the weather it was not used as much as was intended. 

On Friday night, the Jewish Students of Carleton (JSC) hosted a Shabbat service in a classroom in Leighton Hall. In addition to Carleton students and families, several students from St. Olaf attended the event, as well as Professor Stacy Beckwith, Chaplain Schuyler Vogel and Associate Chaplain Ailya Vajid. The service acknowledged the ongoing conflicts in Israel and Gaza: attendees were given the opportunity to light candles in honor of those they have lost, and the group prayed for healing and the return of captives. At the end of the service, President Alison Byerly visited to talk to students and families and dinner was served. 

There were a host of activities available to students and families on Saturday morning, from pickleball in the Rec Center to a run in the Arboretum. There were several lectures in the Weitz Cinema in which professors gave 30-minute presentations.

The first lecture, presented by economics professor Mike Hemseath, was about study abroad opportunities in Cambridge for economics students. He spoke about the economics OCS program that will be available in the summer of 2024 and fielded parent questions about the program’s content and the application process. 

The second talk, given by religion professor Sonja Anderson, covered Anderson’s seminar course, “Apocalypse How?”. She explained the content and purpose of her seminar, gave a background on representations of the apocalypse, and advertised the Apocalypse Manuscript Viewing Party on Tuesday, Oct. 24, where Anderson’s students will display their handmade illuminated manuscripts of the Book of Revelation. 

The third and final talk by political science professor Dev Gupta concerned the impact of Cold War politics on the Eurovision Song Contest and the Soviet response to the competition. Gupta discussed the USSR’s political impact on the song competition and how the Soviet Union responded to the “decadence” of the Western competition with their own replacement, known as Intervision.

Later, in the chapel, President Byerly and Dean Livingston gave updates about the state of affairs at Carleton and allowed students and families to ask them questions. Topics ranged from the strategic plan to the college’s new chaplains. Students and families used this opportunity to express their thoughts, both positive and negative, to Byerly and Livingston, but the event remained civil. After the Q&A session, the Career Center and Off-Campus Studies (OCS) fellows hosted panel-led Q&A sessions later in the afternoon. That night there were two movie screenings and a bonfire on Mai Fete Island. 

On Sunday, more talks were given in the Weitz Cinema. One was a joint lecture with art professor Stephen Moring and computer science professor Dave Musicant, as well as a presentation by math and statistics professor Claire Kelling about how statistics affects the world of policing. In the afternoon, Carleton hosted Macalester for a quadball match. Students and families were encouraged to either watch the game or join the action themselves. 

The last event of Family Weekend was a sound bath meditation session on Sunday evening in the chapel co-hosted by the Office of Health Promotion (OHP) and the Office of the Chaplain. Yoga mats and pillows were laid out in front of the pews, and Macalester Buddhist Chaplain Marc Anderson used a variety of instruments to create soothing and meditative sounds to help students de-stress during the busy midterm season. After about an hour of meditation, attendees gathered in the back of the chapel for dinner catered by Desi Diner. 

While many students were visited by family members, others did not have visitors for Family Weekend. Thus, 1Gen hosted a writing home event on Friday night. Letter-writing supplies, boba and pie were provided and students were encouraged to write letters to friends and family.

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About the Contributor
Isaac Kofsky
Isaac Kofsky, Viewpoint Editor
Hi there! I’m Isaac (he/him) and I’m a first-year prospective religion or geology major. I’ve been described as “the chapel’s press liaison” and I love eating dinner at 4:45pm, reading non-fiction, wearing sweaters, and drinking two cups of black coffee at every meal. When I’m not in Carletonian pitch meetings or in religion class, you can normally find me doing homework in the chapel or drinking tea in the religion lounge.   Isaac Kofsky '27 was previously a Beat Writer.  

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