More than 4,000 expected to visit during Stanford’s Family Weekend

Family Weekend
Parents and guardians will have the opportunity to hear from Stanford faculty and administrators at Family Weekend.

Stanford is preparing to welcome about 4,000 visitors on Feb. 28 and 29 for the annual Family Weekend, which gives parents and guardians a glimpse into Stanford academic and campus life.

By Kate Chesley

More than 4,000 family members are expected on campus for Stanford’s Feb. 28-29 Family Weekend, the annual event featuring faculty lectures, information sessions, campus tours and open houses – all designed to give parents and guardians a glimpse into their undergraduate student’s life at the university.

Families who haven’t registered are still welcome to attend. Simply check in at the Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center and do onsite registration. Check in for both registered and unregistered families is Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. All events, other than the concluding Entertainment Extravaganza, are free and open on a first-come, first-served basis.

This year, the Office of Special Events and Protocol, which coordinates Family Weekend, will email a digital version of the brochure to everyone who has registered online. The emailed brochure will include a PDF with links for more information and will be sent in advance of the event to help families plan their visit. Also new is a custom Google Map that includes all of the Family Weekend venues to assist with wayfinding on campus. Printed copies of the brochure will be available for pickup when families register, as well as name badges. This badge will function as a “ticket” to access the specially designated weekend events.

As in the past, both Provost Persis Drell and President Marc Tessier-Lavigne will address parents and guardians and answer their questions. Drell’s welcome is scheduled for Friday at 10 a.m., while the president’s talk will be Friday at 1:30 p.m., both in Memorial Auditorium.

Susan Dackerman, director of the Cantor Arts Center, will be among those offering Back to School classes.

Friday also features Conversations for Families, which are 10:45 a.m. panel discussions with Stanford administrations that are tailored to the experiences of each class year. Harry Elam, senior vice provost for education, will moderate the discussion for families of first-year students; Susie Brubaker-Cole, vice provost for student affairs, will moderate for sophomore families; Laura Dominguez Chan, associate dean of career education and director of career communities will moderate for junior families; and Jan Marie Barker-Alexander, assistant vice provost for Centers for Equity, Community and Leadership, will moderate for senior families.

Always popular among Family Weekend attendees are the Back to School Classes with members of the Stanford faculty and administrators who specialize in working with students. New this year is “What Does It Mean to Be a 21st-Century Museum?” presented by Susan Dackerman, the John and Jill Freidenrich Director at the Cantor Arts Center. Other classes address such topics as global warming, depolarizing American politics and unlocking potential in students and adults with dyslexia and ADHD.

Family Weekend will also include campus tours, offered on both Friday and Saturday. The tours will include Campus Planning and Architecture, the Anderson Collection at Stanford University and the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve.

The weekend’s activities will culminate Saturday with the Entertainment Extravaganza, sponsored by the Parents’ Club of Stanford University. The student groups performing this year are Basmati Raas, a competitive garbaa raas team; Common Origins, an urban/hip-hop dance group; Everyday People, a hip-hop, Motown, R&B and soul a cappella group; the Stanford Collaborative Orchestra, a student-run symphonic ensemble; Stanford Counterpoint, an all-woman a cappella group; and Stanford Jump Rope, which offers a high-energy jump rope performance.

Any remaining, unsold tickets for the Entertainment Extravaganza will be available to purchase on-site at the Family Weekend Information table in the Alumni Center during check-in hours or outside of Memorial Auditorium 30 minutes before the show.

Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Family Weekend.

Are there any events designed for younger siblings?

Unfortunately, we do not offer specific activities for younger siblings, although we suspect high school age students may enjoy some of the Back to School Classes. We are confident the entire family will enjoy the Entertainment Extravaganza, which consists of Stanford student performances.

Where can we park?

As in the past, parking will be at the Galvez Lot at the intersection of Galvez and Campus Drive, which is across the street from the Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center.

Common Origins
Common Origins is among the students groups performing at the Entertainment Extravaganza.

What if a family member needs disability-related accommodations?

Disability parking spaces, marked in blue, are located throughout the campus. These spaces are reserved for vehicles displaying state-issued disability placards or license plates. Vehicles with disability placards or plates may also park in any other unmarked spaces on campus. If you need a disability accommodation or wheelchair access information, contact the Diversity and Access Office by Feb. 19 at 650-725-0326 or email

Will I be able to get Internet access on campus?

Yes. Family members are able to join the “Stanford Visitor” network for free access to the Internet while on campus. With the Stanford Visitor network, you can use the university’s wireless network to access the Internet while on campus. The visitor network offers limited bandwidth and sessions are limited to 12 hours. Services are limited to email, web browsing, VPN and SSH.

How to get online
1. Select the SSID Stanford Visitor from your device’s list of available wireless networks.
2. Open a browser and load any URL; you will be redirected to an access page (on a mobile phone, the access page should open automatically).
3. Click Accept to acknowledge the terms of use. Your browser will be sent to a confirmation page and from there you can get online.

What is the weather like on Family Weekend?

Bring an umbrella because the Bay Area can be rainy in February. We advise dressing in layers. It is often cool in the mornings and evenings but can be quite warm midday. And please be assured that all events are informal. In particular, we advise wearing comfortable shoes. The events are located throughout campus, and the weekend can involve a great deal of walking.

More questions? Call the OSEP Office at 650-736-9018, email or visit our web page.