For Stockton University, University Weekend is a fall tradition that showcases all that the university offers. While large gatherings are still not a reality, this year’s University Weekend took an alternate form.
Like many campus happenings, University Weekend took place virtually this past weekend. Although a handful of events occurred in person (for those who reside on campus), most were virtual and accessible wherever students are. Events included movie nights, comedians, Kan-Jam tournaments, virtual reunions, and even Fred Fest.
“Our planning committee pulled together and designed a series of virtual events that continued to capture the spirit of University Weekend,” Lauren Wilson, Associate Director of The Office of Student Development, said.
“Although the weekend looked and felt very different than past University Weekends, we were still able to move forward with some of our traditional events, including Stockton Myths & Legends, and Fred Fest, which offered an opportunity for students to canoe on Lake Fred.”
Wilson also mentioned several asynchronous programs that let individuals participate in University Weekend at their convenience. These programs comprised of a collection of videos of Stockton’s campus, programming, athletics, sustainability, and much more. On the social media front, graphics and wallpapers allowed students to promote their Stockton spirit from a distance.
On Instagram, the university launched the #takeawaytalon initiative, where members of the Stockton community could take the Talon mascot on fun adventures during University Weekend, on and off-campus.
“This university weekend was definitely unlike any other,” said Kiara Vélez-Padilla, a student leader who visited this year’s virtual and in-person events. “Hosting mostly online, we were very excited to host in person programming. Although the crowds were much smaller, it was still an enjoyable weekend.
“The students who attended, myself included, got to enjoy nice weather and kayaking,” said Vélez-Padilla. “Overall, although it was relatively quiet, and we missed seeing family members on campus, we had a blast.”
Wilson reported many of the events were successes. As virtual programming opens up greater accessibility, some events were better attended by a more diverse crowd. One of the weekend’s newest programs, The Student Development Family Reunion/Student Leader Happy Hour, saw participation from Stockton community members from all over the country.
With the success of University Weekend To Go, student leaders are grateful for online programming. While many seek the return to everyday life and traditions such as University Weekend, Student Development says one thing is for sure: The 2020 University Weekend was truly a special time for Stockton’s community, and it will be one students and staff will never forget.