The annual Family Weekend at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith will take place this year Oct. 30-31, featuring a variety of virtual and in-person events to encourage pride throughout the community and engage students and their families in campus traditions.
All Family Weekend events are free and open to the public in hopes of allowing students, parents and community members a chance to experience life on campus.
“This Family Weekend looks quite a bit different from previous years,” said Stephanie London, director of Student Activities and coordinator of assessment for Student Affairs at UAFS. “While we don’t have the traditional Lady Lions volleyball game, we are excited to still show our Lion spirit through several events and new initiatives.”
New to Family Weekend this year is the inaugural Family of the Year Award. This award was created by the Student Government Association (SGA) to recognize the support systems that are crucial to student success and honor those helping UAFS students achieve their higher education goals.
“I believe that Family Weekend is important to our university because it is a time to honor our families, who truly do so much to support students,” said Claire Hollenbeck, a junior political science major from Fort Smith and president of SGA.
All UAFS students enrolled for Fall 2020 are eligible to nominate their family, defined for this purpose as a group of individuals or members who support their student’s success including parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins, extended relations, host families, caregivers and close friends. Nominations must be submitted by 11:45 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19. The winner will be announced by UAFS Chancellor Terisa Riley during a virtual Chancellor Chat on Friday, Oct. 30.
In-person Family Weekend events this year will be:
- Greek Week: Yell Like Hell
7-8:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30
Watch UAFS fraternities and sororities compete in this annual dance competition. Guests must register in advance as seating is limited.
- Family Drive-in Movie: “Ghostbusters”
6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31
Crowder Field Parking Lot
Enjoy a family movie night from the comfort of your own car. Each vehicle must have a UAFS student or employee on board. Advance registration is required.
Virtual events this year will be:
4-5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30
Hear from UAFS Chancellor Terisa Riley about UAFS projects and initiatives. Dr. Riley will also announce the recipient of the first-ever Family of the Year Award.
1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31
Learn about UAFS Career Services and the Babb Center for Student Professional Development and how they prepare students for their career and continue to foster career readiness even after graduation.
2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31
Test your UAFS knowledge in this Jeopardy-style trivia.
The week preceding Family Weekend, Oct. 26-30 has been designated as Volunteer Week, led by the LionHeart volunteer program, which includes students, faculty, staff, and Fort Smith-area community members.
“LionHeart is so excited to be a part of Family Weekend this year as we introduce a unique virtual volunteering opportunity for families to participate in,” said Katelyn Morris, a senior business administration major from Smithville, Oklahoma, volunteer and service student assistant for LionHeart. “This is a great way for families to make memories together while also making a difference.”
Volunteer and service events will include:
- Lend Your Voice with VocaliD
VoicaliD allows you to record your voice, submitting it to a voicebank. Your voice is then paired with a recipient that relies on using a computer, or AI, to speak – allowing recipients to express themselves by matching their personality to their preferred voice in the voicebank. Participants will need computer access, headphones with a microphone, and a quiet place to record their voice.
- Coat Drive
New and gently used gloves, scarves, and coats can be dropped off Oct. 15-31 on campus at the Recreation and Wellness Center (6-9 a.m. and noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday) or the Student Life Office, Room 115 in the Smith-Pendergraft Campus Center (8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays). Collected items will be provided to students in need.
- Holiday Food Drive
The Dave Stevens Lion Pride Pantry is raising funds to feed hungry Lions during the holiday season. With your help the pantry will hand out more than 100 Thanksgiving boxes and 50 holiday boxes this year.
In addition to the online and in-person events and service projects, several “on your own” activities have been added to the Family Weekend slate. These can be completed on the participants’ own time throughout the days leading up to Family Weekend.
On-your-own activities will include:
Walk, run, hop, cycle, or skip your 5K any time Oct. 17-31. Registration is $25 and all proceeds support the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith Alumni Legacy Scholarship. This 5K can be completed any time anywhere, but a UAFS map will be provided to those wishing to participate in a campus route.
- Lions Coloring Contest
Choose your favorite coloring sheet from the UAFS Facebook page. Submit your completed coloring sheet by 11:45 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22. Coloring sheets will be posted to the @UAFSSAO Facebook page for voting with likes, comments, and shares. Winners in the Child and Adult categories will receive a plush Numa Lion!
- Family FAFSA Workshop
When a student fills out the FAFSA, they often need more than just their information. Learn more about the FAFSA, sign up for a webinar, or watch a pre-recorded video on how to complete this process. UAFS students who complete their FAFSA by Oct. 31 will be entered to win one of five $1,000 UAFS scholarships for the 2021-2022 academic year.
- Lion Family Chili Cookbook
The Chili Cook-off Tailgate is a Family Weekend tradition. In honor of this event, Registered Student Organizations have submitted their favorite chili dishes to create a virtual cookbook. Choose your favorite and enjoy a family dinner night.
For full details of all Family Weekend events, including registration information, go to campuslife.uafs.edu/student-activities/family-weekend-2020. To show how your family is participating in Family Weekend, share your photos and videos on social media with #UAFSFamilyWeekend.