Thousands of families flood Xavier’s campus for the first time in two years
By katie Sanchez, Staff Writer
The first Family Weekend in two years brought thousands of people to Xavier’s campus last weekend for three days of fun, entertainment and unity.
Nearly 5,000 individuals from more than 1,500 families attended the largest Family Weekend in Xavier’s history for the first since 2019.
“With that many people, that’s almost the number we have here full time. We almost doubled our campus size,” Deborah Ekeke, assistant director of leadership and activities for the Office of Student Involvement (OSI), commented. The OSI organizes Family Weekend each fall.
“We’re just happy that we were able to accommodate everyone. All of the events, as far as we know, went smoothly,” she added.
Family Weekend kicked off with a bang on Friday night as families packed the Cintas Center to get a sneak peek at Xavier men’s and women’s basketball teams during Musketeer Madness.
Brisk fall weather greeted the thousands of attendees who roamed campus on Saturday as they enjoyed all of the events of the day, including brunch at the Hoff Dining Commons and the Family Fall Festival, which included inflatables, games and caramel apples for all.
Many Xavier organizations were thrilled to welcome friends and family to their events. Xavier Singers and AcaBellas packed Gallagher Student Center with audience members as they held their first live concert in a year.
These groups were ecstatic to play in front of real crowds again after a year of atypical performances.
“There’s simply nothing like performing live for an audience that can be as much a part of the show as you are. It’s the most fun way to have fun and showcase all of your hard work,” Xavier Singers’ Sam Daly, a junior accounting major, said.
Large and amped-up crowds attended a plethora of campus sports events last weekend, including the marquee men’s soccer game against Georgetown on Saturday night. The chilly fall weather was not enough to dim the enthusiasm of the dozens of eager fans, even after the team’s loss.
The highlight of many families’ weekends was Xavier Theatre’s production of Mamma Mia. Four performances of the hit musical dazzled audiences Thursday through Sunday, with tickets selling out for most of the performances.
The most exclusive and anticipated event was the ever-popular Family Weekend Bingo, which, despite the addition of a second 650-person session for the first time ever, had all spots fully booked days before Family Weekend started.
Family Weekend also kicked off President Colleen Hanycz’s Inauguration Week with Community Action Day, part of Xavier’s National Day of Service. More than 200 Xavier students, family members and staff —including Dr. Hanycz — dedicated the day to serving at a variety of locations in the Greater Cincinnati Area.
The Presidential Inauguration Week continued on Sunday morning as hundreds of students and their families met Hanycz at the President and Jesuit Community Brunch in Cintas Center.
Families packed Bellarmine Chapel during several masses on Sunday, symbolizing the vivacity of Xavier’s Jesuit tradition throughout generations.
“This was my third Family Weekend. I have so many fun memories of coming here when I was younger, so it’s great to finally be able to be back,” Kat Blandford, a current high school student who has one sister who is an XU alum and another who currently attends Xavier, said. “Having gone to Family Weekend with both of my sisters, it really allows me to see what Xavier means to them.”