Parentsƒ?TM Council meets for first time today during Family Fest

By Anna Waugh

As parents and relatives arrive on campus today for Family Fest, some will have a little bit of added responsibility. Twenty-one parents from around the country have been invited to the college to serve on the Parents’ Council, a new advisory group to President Brian Rosenberg and other administrators.

The group will meet two times a year, at Family Fest and the Spring Sampler, to facilitate communication between the parents of current and prospective students. Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Laurie Hamre said that the administration has tried to invite representatives who reflect the diversity of the students on campus. However, all of the parents are domestic.

In the past five or six years, Hamre said, the number of parents requesting information from the college has increased threefold, and parents are more involved now in their students’ lives than in the past. She said she “sees [the council] as a need, and [that] it could be really helpful.”

Stephen Willman ’79, an alumnus and parent of two Macalester students, has accepted his invitation to become a member of the parents’ council.

“We will likely deal with parents that are overly concerned with their student’s well-being and help the administration by acting as liaisons and ambassadors,” he said.

Schools like Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., and Williams in Williamstown, Mass., also have parents’ councils.

According to Hamre, parents on the council will have two tasks. They will communicate with other parents, acting as a sounding board to the broader community, and they will also plan events on campus for parents, including a meet-and-greet for first-year parents during orientation.

“It’s a way for us to meet and get to know the parents of current students,” Hamre said. “After all, who knows parents of current students better than parents of current students?”

Student reactions to the parents’ council have been mixed.

“It’s like going back to high school again,” Alexandros Konstantinou ’08 said.

However, Willman, the parents’ council member, disagrees.

“I do not believe we should have any voice to change anything regarding life at Mac but rather serve the community’s needs,” he said.

When asked about the importance of giving parents a voice around campus, Willman joked, “We pay the bills, don’t we?”