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Junior Parents Partake in Campus Fun

By Prateek Kumar, Crimson Staff Writer

Over a thousand relatives of the Class of 2009 descended upon Cambridge this weekend to partake in activites for the annual Junior Parents Weekend.

The Harvard College Parents Association hosts the yearly event, but this year the Association partnered with the Crimson Key Society for the first time to plan the weekend’s activities.

“Weekends like this are intended to give the parents of Harvard students a taste of the undergraduate experience,” said Lawrence D. Arbuthnott ’10, special projects coordinator for Crimson Key. “[It’s] a structured program by which the University can thank parents for their primary contribution to the school—their children.”

“One of the biggest challenges for this event is accounting for its sheer size,” said Arbuthnott, who led a five-member Crimson Key committee that worked with the Parents Association to coordinate the weekend.

Although the Parents Association did not have an exact count of guests who attended, Kate Drizos—a staff assistant for the Harvard College Parents Association—speculated in an e-mailed statement that the weekend drew larger crowds than usual.

Many parents said they were pleased with the weekend’s activities, despite a Saturday rainstorm that prompted the National Weather Service to issue flood warnings for much of the region.

“This is a great event,” said Wei R. Chen, father of Jason Y. Chen ’09 and an Oklahoma resident. “We like the environment and the history here at Harvard and enjoyed getting the chance to visit the campus.”

Chen said that there was so much to do on just the first day of the weekend—including a talk by University President Drew G. Faust, several campus tours, museum open houses, and receptions held by masters of the undergraduate Houses.

Many parents, like Joem Koskey, father of Felix Koskey ’09, agreed with these sentiments. The elder Koskey noted that his day had been “fully occupied” by the sheer number of planned events.

However, Koskey’s favorite part of the weekend was visiting University Health Services.

“It was interesting to learn how they help students deal with stress, and the answers that parents received were beneficial,” he said.

Other parents praised the faculty for being receptive to parent questions and concerns during the weekend.

“I find everyone to be warm and gracious, and the faculty is certainly quite welcoming,” said Loren J. Metzger-Marcus, mother of Alexander W. Marcus ’09. “It’s been wonderful to get a slice out of our son’s day.”

Parents also had a wide variety of events to choose from on Saturday. These included an early-morning jogging tour of the campus; lectures by various faculty members; multiple sports games; and cultural events like Ghungroo, an ethnic performance put on by the South Asian Association.

“My only complaint is I wish that Harvard had this event every year, not just for the parents of freshmen and juniors,” said Metzger-Marcus.

“You don’t realize how much of an impact you have until you see the face of a Harvard parent after they’ve just been enthusiastically welcomed to campus,” said Arbuthnott. “It makes all the hard work and effort worth it.”

­—Staff Writer Prateek Kumar can be reached at kumar@fas.harvard.edu.

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