Relatives and friends of SUNY Oswego’s students are invited to come to campus and experience some unique events during Family and Friends Weekend, running from Oct. 20 to 22.

“A lot of parents, when they come for Family and Friends Weekend, they’re really just excited to see their Laker,” said Justin Dickerson, director of the Student Orientation and Family Engagement (SOFE) office. 

Since the event occurs in the middle of the semester, students have some time to settle in and get connected with their campus. The weekend also provides an opportunity for families to gain an understanding of their students’ experiences.

Rather than creating an intense program, the weekend is more about “us wrapping our arms around what the campus is doing and then pulling some more things in,” Dickerson said. 

Athletics and the arts are some examples of how students spend their time. There will be several athletic events for students to either participate in or watch with their families. 

The weekend’s athletics action opens with the Oswego women’s soccer team facing Cortland on Oct. 21 at 1 p.m. at Laker Turf Stadium. 

Both varsity ice hockey teams will take the ice that weekend on Oct. 21. The women’s hockey team will face the London Jr. Devilettes at 2 p.m., and the men’s hockey team will play Alvernia University at 5 p.m., both in the Deborah F. Stanley Arena and Convocation Center. Dickerson noted that both hockey games are starting earlier than usual, making it easier for family members who may be traveling to attend.

On the performing arts side, “The Importance of Being Earnest”, a family-friendly comedic period piece, will hold performances in Waterman Theatre throughout the weekend. The play will have 7:30 p.m. curtains on Oct. 18, 19 and 20; 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. showings on Saturday, Oct. 21; and a Sunday 2 p.m. matinee on Oct. 22. Tickets are free for students, $10 for the general public, and available via or any campus box office. 

The music department will also hold a free concert in Sheldon Hall at noon on Saturday, Oct. 21. Several of the college’s ensembles will perform selections for visitors.

The Student Association Program Board will present the LGBTQ+ Pride Festival from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday Oct. 21, in Swetman Gym. The event will include live music, food, giveaways and a runway scene.

In addition, two of SUNY Oswego’s plant-focused facilities will host a Fall Open House on Friday, Oct 20, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Visitors can see SUNY Oswego’s greenhouse on the roof of the Shineman Center, which houses SUNY Oswego’s living plant collection, featuring over 200 species of plants, as well as the Oswego Herbarium, in 306 Shineman, a plant museum housing roughly 40,000 preserved plant specimens collected from around the world and dating back to the early 1800s.

Getting active

Campus Recreation has made a major contribution to the weekend program, Dickerson said. One of their major events is The Great Pumpkin Run, a 5K run or walk which both students and non-students are invited to participate in. There is a $5 entry fee, and all proceeds from the run will benefit Blessings in a Backpack, an organization that helps feed children in the Oswego community over the weekends. 

Students can register online in advance, and visitors can register for the event on the day, starting at noon. The 5K starts off at 1 p.m. on Oct. 21 from the Marano Campus Center, While this event has previously taken place on the Friday of the weekend, Dickerson emphasized that he was excited to see the event happening on Saturday, making it easier for visiting family members and friends to participate.

From noon to 3 p.m. on Oct. 21 in the Marano Campus Center food and activity court, Campus Recreation and SOFE sponsor Fall Fest, which will include cider and donuts, pumpkin painting, a fall photo booth, games and more for all ages. A kids’ potato sack race will take place at 12:45 p.m.

The night before, Campus Recreation will host a Splash-In Movie at the pool in Lee Hall. Attendees will be able to float on an inflatable tube and enjoy a showing of “Jaws” on Oct. 20 at 7 p.m.

SOFE is also hosting campus tours so that families can see the campus. 

“Sometimes Family and Friends is the first time people are coming,” Dickerson said, as students may be a long distance from their hometowns. Tours allow families to have a good understanding of where their students are.

SOFE will also have special harvest-themed T-shirts for sale for the first time this year at the welcome desk in Marano Campus Center on Oct. 21 and 22. The shirts are green and feature a small logo on the front and a larger pumpkin design on the back.

While there is no shortage of things to do on campus throughout the weekend, Family and Friends Weekend can also provide a unique opportunity to explore the Oswego community. Dickerson noted the many parks in the area and fall-themed destinations like Ontario Orchards as among the many options.

SOFE works to engage parents outside of Family and Friends Weekend as well, including through Laker Family Hub, a social media offering for families, and through monthly family engagement seminars. This month’s seminar will take place in person on Oct. 21 at 9 a.m. in 132 Marano Campus Center, when Dickerson will present on supporting students through potentially stressful times.

For a full events calendar, visit the Family and Friends Weekend website, which also has links to purchase tickets for athletic events and theatre performances, plus registration for The Great Pumpkin Run.

-- Written by Mackenzie Shields of the Class of 2024