While their offspring enjoyed some off-campus entertainment, parents of incoming students gathered at the Tulane University Bea Field Alumni House as part of the university’s summer orientation activities.
At the Bea Field Alumni House on the uptown campus, parents compare notes about what they’ve learned at New Student Orientation. (Photo by Sally Asher)
Approximately 50 parents from across the country joined Tulane orientation staff for dessert, wine and discussion of the day’s events at a recent orientation session.
Penny Wyatt, director of orientation and parent programs at Tulane, says the dessert reception is a great way for parents to connect with each other and share experiences.
“The reception lets parents relax and process what they’ve heard that day,” says Wyatt.
The reception also is an event for parents to learn about ways to get involved in the Tulane community. There are several opportunities for parents to visit New Orleans during their students’ first year, including Welcome Week
in August and Homecoming and Family Weekend
Parents can get involved in the Tulane community by providing mentoring services to students, such as hosting internships or allowing students to shadow them during an academic break, says Wyatt.
“A parent might have a career that his child’s roommate is really interested in pursuing, and connecting with the parent could be a great asset to that student.”
Parents who attend the summer orientation events form a bond with the orientation staff, and stay in touch with them throughout their students’ time at Tulane, says Wyatt who, along with other orientation staff members, serves as a liaison to help parents connect with other Tulane departments.
Meeting parents who already have children in college or who have graduated reassures those parents who are sending their first child to college, says Wyatt, as does getting to know the Tulane staff members who will be close by.
“There are friendly, helpful people at Tulane,” says Wyatt, “and we’re going to support their students as they navigate through their Tulane experience.”
Alex Chasick, a freelance writer living in New Orleans, is a 2005 graduate of Tulane University.