First-Years Bring Families For A Visit

SUNY New Paltz will be holding their annual Parent and Family Weekend on Oct. 15-16, a period dedicated to educational and entertaining events on and off campus.

Associate Dean of Students Robin Cohen-La Valle is one of the organizers for the event. Cohen-La Valle said that about 1,180,000 households of first-year students received the invitation that explains the events, eateries and businesses, both on and off campus that are available to parents and students that weekend.

According to Cohen-La Valle, the invitation states that most of the events on campus and in the community are free and others cost a small fee, such as a two-hour Hudson River Boat Cruise from 1-5 p.m. The price of the trip is $25 by bus and $15 by car.

“Most parents come Saturday and spend one night in the area and stay Sunday, and while others within a few hours driving distance, would come up Saturday morning, spend a full day and even go home Saturday night,” Cohen-La Valle said.

She said since most parents come up Saturday, it is the day of the structured schedule of events. Saturday is the focus day, where there are many organized events such as Coffee Hour with President Donald Christian in the Student Union Multipurpose Room, a Planetarium Show at Coykendall Science Building called “Tonight’s Sky” and a Women’s Soccer game later in the afternoon.

Other events off campus include apple picking and a Historical Walking Tour of the village.

Sunday is an opportunity for parents and students to be informed about events that are going on around the community and the region. These include the New Paltz Farmer’s Market,  Historic Huguenot Street, Beacon Flea Market and the famous Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted House.

Although there are many events, which may seem overwhelming to students, orientation leaders will be assisting them throughout the weekend.

Brendan Wright, a second-year political science and Women Studies major, who is also an orientation leader, is confident that all orientation leaders will be helpful at the various events.

All orientation leaders will be taking different shifts to work at each event that will be happening on and off campus,” Wright said.

He also said that all parents, families and students should feel free to approach him or any other orientation leader if they have any questions or need any help.

Cohen-La Valle feels that Parents and Family weekend is a time for first-year students and their families to enjoy themselves and realize how much the students have changed from being college students for half a semester already.

“I am looking forward to showing my parents how much I’ve grown. I know I’ve only been here for a little while, but I feel that I’m much more mature,” said Brian Campbell, a first-year international relations major. “I can take care of myself, for now at least.”

Campbell hopes to reassure his parents that his attitude has transitioned into a more mature one, in which he is able to communicate with others and get his point across more efficiently.

Campbell isn’t the only student who feels this way. In fact, Cohen-La Valle believes  that this day is different than Orientation or Move-In Day.

“Now they are New Paltz students. Now it’s their place,” Cohen-La Valle said. “There’s something that happens in the first few months of college, where you’re not a high school student anymore and the parents can experience you showing them around.”

The transition is one that many first-year students realize on their own.

“I love to see all of my students walking around campus or eating together with other friends in the dining hall, because it goes to show that they are thriving in this new environment, and trying their best to be outgoing and active,” Wright said,

Although the invitations and brochure have been sent to all first-year households, families of upperclassmen are welcome to join as well. Interested participants can register via e-mail or online at A list of all events for the weekend,along with a  brief description of each one is located on the site as well.