Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and COVID-19 regulations at the University, the annual Brandeis Family Weekend was cancelled during the fall 2020 semester. Fortunately, the University hosted students' parents and families for a weekend of on-campus activities this year.

Family Weekend officially began on Friday, Oct. 15, with a family check in at 10 a.m. at the Shapiro Campus Center. University staff provided families with name tags, a schedule for the weekend and some Brandeis merchandise. Later in the day, at 4 p.m., there was a welcome reception with complimentary food and drinks outside of the SCC. For families observing Shabbat, both the Hillel Club and Chabad Club hosted visitors for dinner. Other Friday night activities included a performance by Craig Karges, an award-winning entertainer, speaker and author, according to the Family Weekend schedule. 

Saturday, Oct. 16, was packed with faculty speakers and other events hosted by the University. The faculty presentations all took place in Spingold Theater, starting with the first faculty presentation by Prof. Dan Breen (LGS). In Breen’s presentation, titled “The King of the Puget Sound Bootleggers: Roy Olmstead, Louis Brandeis and the Forging of the Modern Fourth Amendment,” he discussed the modernization of the Fourth Amendment. 

The following faculty presenter was Prof. Sabine von Mering (CGES), who discussed the rapid effects of climate change. The event description on the Family Weekend schedule website said that von Mering focused specifically on the 2015 Paris Agreement and the reality of what commitments countries need to make to create a livable climate for the future. 

Next, families had the opportunity to hear from the director of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, Dalia Wassner, about her recent research regarding Latin American Jewry. The event description states that Wassner gave an overview of the  American Jewish diaspora and “explored her vision for founding a pioneering initiative on Latin American Jewry that bridges the academy and the community.” 

The last faculty presentation was by Prof. Don Katz (NPSY), in which he used psychology and neuroscience to defend the idea that everything is an illusion. Katz said that he aimed to show viewers “how easy it is to change what something tastes and even looks like.”

To end a day of faculty presentations on a wide range of topics, families were invited to watch “Brandeis Has Got Talent” at the Spingold Theater. Students in the performing arts showcased their artistic and musical talents to both parents and students. 

In addition to the presentations and shows, families had the opportunity to go on a campus tour and play family bingo.

The Family Weekend programming was concluded on Sunday, Oct. 17, with a Legacy Family Celebration for alumni of the University and a fall craft corner at which students and families could pick a pumpkin and carve or decorate it. 

Throughout all three days of the weekend, families were able to visit the Rose Art Museum. Current exhibitions on display were "re: collections, Six Decades at the Rose Art Museum," "Frida Kahlo: POSE" and "Mark Dion: The Undisciplined Collector."