Luther’s annual Family Weekend

As students progress through their education, their relationship to this tradition progresses, too.

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Luther’s annual Family Weekend

Cami Sternberg('22), Josh Sternburg, Dan Sternburg('94), Brynn Sternburg, and Emily 
Sternburg demonstrate Luther spirit.

Cami Sternberg('22), Josh Sternburg, Dan Sternburg('94), Brynn Sternburg, and Emily Sternburg demonstrate Luther spirit.

Hope Gilbertson ('22) | Chips

Cami Sternberg('22), Josh Sternburg, Dan Sternburg('94), Brynn Sternburg, and Emily Sternburg demonstrate Luther spirit.

Hope Gilbertson ('22) | Chips

Hope Gilbertson ('22) | Chips

Cami Sternberg('22), Josh Sternburg, Dan Sternburg('94), Brynn Sternburg, and Emily Sternburg demonstrate Luther spirit.

Hope Gilbertson, Staff Writer

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   Parents, siblings, and other loved ones came to campus this past weekend to visit their Luther students. In celebration, Luther provided various activities and experiences for family and students alike.

     Family weekend has been a long-held tradition at Luther, but it did not always have the same name or traditions. Professor of Anthropology Colin Betts (’93), can attest to how Family Weekend events have changed.

    “They didn’t have Family Weekend when I was here, they had Father-Son weekend and Mother-Daughter Weekend,” Betts said. “It was totally different. The issue was that it wasn’t very inclusive. First of all, there was gender, and not everybody has the same family structure. It was still interesting and I remember a lot of people coming.”

         Although the structure of Family Weekend has changed, the event still achieves its main purpose: bringing the Luther community together with their friends and family by allowing their loved ones to experience Decorah. For many first-years,  this weekend presents an opportunity to reunite with family after being away from home, possibly for the first time ever.

Hope Gilbertson (’22) | Chips
Johanna Welter (’20) (front left), Annika Welter (front right), Sonya Lund (back left), Kaija
Welter (’22) (back middle), and Kjersten Welter (’93) (back right) spend time together
outdoors.

    “It’s a month after move-in so it’s a good time for parents to come up, see how classes are going, talk with their kids, and see what they have been up to here at Luther,” Teagan Kelly (‘22) said. “My mom and my dad both came up Friday night and stayed through Saturday afternoon. We went to Stone Hearth Inn, which nobody seems to know about but it has delicious food. We did a lot of shopping at Walmart, then went to downtown Decorah.”

     As students grow older, their experiences during Family Weekend may change as they build relationships with other students and become more involved on campus. Rhianna Picht (‘21) anticipated a difference between her first Family Weekend and her second.

   “[I was] more excited because it is my second year here and I am doing more things related to my major,” Picht said. “[I was] excited to show my family where the nursing labs are and what I have been doing as a nursing major, instead of just doing first year prerequisites.”

      While Luther coordinates events for family members, students also plan special activities to give their families a taste of their life at Luther. Brooke Johnson (‘20) thinks there are some Decorah locations that are essential to a perfect family weekend.

    “We are definitely going to Mabes, that’s the famous place to go with your parents,” Johnson said. “And definitely Whippy Dip to get a tornado.”

     Family weekend is also an opportunity for family and friends to watch their Luther students participate in their athletics, music ensembles, and other activities. This allows family members to gain a true understanding of students’ lives at Luther.

   “I think we have this weekend because parents don’t really understand what is going on at college after they drop off their kids” Emily Marlow (’19) said. “It’s kind of like you dropped off your kids a month ago and this is when they are really acclimated. It’s a good time to have it.”

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