The Charger Blog

Family Day Creates Charged Up Environment for Students and their Families

Family Day provides a fun way for students to reconnect with their families, experience a sense of community, and to show them all that the University of New Haven has to offer.

October 24, 2023

By Anchal Bhatia ’24 MBA

Family Day was a fun way for Chargers to come together.
Family Day was a fun way for Chargers to come together. All photos courtesy of Chariot Yearbook

Reuniting with families amid hectic academic schedules at Family Day is something that many students look forward to. The University of New Haven recently hosted its annual Family Day event, where family members and friends were welcomed to spend a day together participating in events and activities on campus.

Ally Kocivar, associate director for programming for the Center of Student Engagement, Leadership, and Organization (CSELO), believes Family Day was lively and entertaining, creating positive energy among the students living away from their families.

Every year, the Family Day event comprises various interactive and fun activities planned for families and people from every age group, which brings together different recognized student organizations and groups to make this day a success. This year, Family Day included fun games and playful moments, which brought out everyone’s enthusiasm and involvement.

Members of the University enjoyed cotton candy as part of Family Day.
Members of the University enjoyed cotton candy as part of Family Day.

“Family members were seen enjoying this year’s events such as ‘stuff-a-pillow’, ‘Grit N Wit,’ ‘Musical Trivia’, and much more,” said Kocivar. “Moreover, attendees were given tickets to the University’s football game, an additional exciting event for the families.”

One of the highlights of the day was a conversation families had with Sheahon Zenger, Ph.D., interim president, and Ophelie Rowe-Allen, Ed.D., vice president of student affairs and dean of students. Dr. Zenger talked about his own children, including his youngest who is a student at the University. He also compared the Charger community and the atmosphere on campus to the other nine colleges and universities he has been a part of throughout his more than 30 years in higher education.

“I’ve never seen a university that has so many activities for students to be part of each and every day,” said Dr. Zenger. “Whatever it is you want to do, this is the place where you want to be.”

‘A wonderful opportunity for students to connect with family and friends from home’

Family Day was a collaborative event intending to display the work, support, and resources made available to the students on campus. Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS) was one among the several tables present at the event invited by CSELO to strengthen interaction with the students’ families.

“Family Day was a great event,” said Paige Bartels, director of CAPS. “I believe it was a wonderful opportunity for students to connect with their family and friends from home and to show them what experiences, resources, and support systems are available to them at the University.”

Bartels believes Family Day is a meaningful event for the students and their families and considers it a wonderful opportunity to connect with their loved ones. She also recognizes that this event can be difficult for students whose families cannot visit them on this day or those who have trickier relationships with individuals back home.

“I understand this day can be an emotional moment for many, but it is always nice to see everyone engaging and interacting with each other’s families,” said Bartels. “I wholeheartedly encourage students to reach out for support and find things to help them stay connected with our campus community.”

families and friends explored the campus
Students and their families and friends explored the campus during Family Day.
‘Sense of purpose’

The Myatt Center was among the many offices represented at the tables, opening their space to the families at the event. Riya Sood ’24 MPH, diversity peer tutor with the Myatt Center, believes that events like this help enhance the positive environment on campus.

“The Family Day event is certainly helpful and can act as a stressbuster for the students, in which families help offer their soothing presence and a source of comfort, easing the anxieties often associated with academic and social life,” said Sood.

“Besides this, a day with the family can help kindle motivation and renew the sense of purpose, driven by the knowledge that they are valued and supported both within their families and the University community,” she continued.

‘Another fun-filled event at the University’

In the Myatt Center, Sood witnessed the close connection between students and their families and could imagine the enormous and joyful memories being made for everyone present at the event. She felt a sense of comfort and enthusiasm to see the positive environment across campus and through families’ involvement in wanting to understand the student culture at the University.

Padmaja Phadke ’24 M.S., a candidate in the University’s graduate program in data science, was one of the attendees at the Family Day event and considered the experience to be quite joyous.

Chargers Marching Band
The Chargers Marching Band helped welcome visiting families and friends.

“The Family Day parade at the beginning of the event was quite energetic and set a positive vibe for the further proceedings,” said Phadke. “Truly, the Family Day event brought a sense of joy we don’t find elsewhere.”

Phadke interacted with several of her classmates’ family members. She also noticed the joyful moments shared between the family members and their enthusiasm for participating in the activities that were made available to them.

“My favorite activity was the ‘stuff-a-pillow’ session that everyone found quite delightful,” shared Phadke. “The day ended on a fun note where we watched The Little Mermaid, took plenty of pictures, and experienced yet another fun-filled event at the University.”

Anchal Bhatia ’24 MBA is an MBA candidate at the University of New Haven.