Campus was bustling this past weekend with over 1,300 families from 42 different states and 11 countries flocking to the University for Brandeis Family Weekend, according to  the Brandeis Family Weekend webpage. The programming of Family Weekend consisted of a wide variety of activities including various sporting events, student performances, academic lectures from faculty members, campus tours, support staff-based information sessions, and family gatherings. The University worked to make this programming accessible to all, including Shabbat observant families, by offering guided walks with volunteer escorts from Usdan Student Center to the Boston Marriott Newton.

Festivities began on Friday, Sept. 28 with the Brandeis Family Weekend 2022 Welcome Reception held on the Great Lawn. Many University administrators present at this event met with family and friends. There were also live musical performances by students, family photo opportunities, refreshments, and welcoming remarks.

Other programming on Friday afternoon included campus tours and panels, the women’s soccer game vs. Washington University, Late Night Trivia, and “Proscreamium” — a performance of Halloween-themed music by the a cappella group Proscenium. The audience was full of students and families listening to popular medlies and compositions of songs from popular culture such as “Mean Girls” and “Phineas and Ferb.” The departments of Student Accessibility Support, Student Engagement, Academic Advising, and the Hiatt Career Center also held open houses.

The packed programming schedule on Saturday kept students, families, and friends constantly busy. The Department of Community Living, Gender and Sexuality Center, and the Undergraduate Research and Creative Collaborations Offices hosted open houses. There were various panels — such as “Creative Arts at Brandeis” and “Archaeology and Me,” which featured a panel of archeologists — that allowed community members to learn more about different programs and initiatives on campus.

There were also many information sessions offered for parents and students covering a multitude of topics, including student safety and wellness, studying abroad, and social justice. Other events that took place on Saturday included tours, faculty presentations, and “Class Coffee” — an event allowing students and families from the same class year to come together and connect with one another. The “Create@Brandeis Craft Market” took place at the Fellows Garden, where visitors and community members shopped for handmade goods including jewelry, ceramics, and more, all of which were made by Brandeis students and faculty.

On Saturday night, the “Student Performance Showcase” took place in the Levin Ballroom. This Brandeis Family Weekend event highlighted performances by MAD Band, Brandeis Klezmer Band, Rather Be Giraffes, Up the Octave, Emma Fiesinger Does Stand-Up, Manginah, Proscenium A Cappella, the Nintendo Bros, Hooked on Tap, Brandeis Ballroom Formation Team, Omer Barash, Brandeis Voicemale, and Starving Artists. This two-hour performance captured the diversity of performing arts on campus and allowed many family members and friends to show support for their students. Audience member Emily Hou ’26 stated in an interview with the Justice at the event that she loved the performance: “The Student Performance Showcase was a great blend of performing arts at Brandeis! I really enjoyed being able to support my friends in MAD Band and Proscenium, and it was cool to see what a lot of the performing arts clubs have been working on this semester.” 

To conclude the Saturday activities, the Campus Activities Board hosted the “Halloweekend Extravaganza” in the Shapiro Campus Center. The CAB event had refreshments, pumpkin and cookie decorating, tarot reading, face painting, a movie, a photo booth, a costume contest, carnival games, mini golf, and an escape room.

Family weekend wrapped up on Sunday with another full day of programming. Both the men’s and women’s soccer teams faced off against the University of Chicago, and Brandeis hosted the “Family Weekend Soccer Tailgate Experience” with a food truck, lawn games and other competitions, and giveaways. The Student Union hosted the “Student Union Pumpkin Fest,” an event featuring pumpkin carving and painting and a contest with prizes for all ages of the Brandeis community. The “Create@Brandeis Craft Market” was set up again in Fellows Garden, and presentations included “Behind the Scenes with Undergraduate Theater Collective” and “Faculty Presentation: White Supremacy and Antisemitism: Lessons from the January 6th Capitol Attack,” with Prof. Jonathan Sarna (NEJS). 

Through Brandeis Family Weekend, many campus facilities were open for use. Gosman Sports and Convocation Center was free for all visitors, and group fitness classes such as Pilates were offered. The Chapels hosted open houses and a wide variety of religious services were held. The Brandeis Bookstore was open, selling University merchandise, and attendance was popular at the Rose Art Museum.

Family Weekend allowed Brandeis family members and friends to participate in fun events on campus, spend time with their students, and preview a sampling of Brandeis life. This weekend also provided a space and an opportunity for the diverse members of the Brandeis community to connect with and learn from one another.