Anoush Stamm

Anoush Stamm (top right) chooses to spend time with her friends and their families during Family Weekend since hers isn't able to come. 

JMU’s Family Weekend may be an opportunity for families who live closer to campus to come visit their Dukes, but some students are left without the ability to see their family due to a multitude of reasons.

JMU hosts Family Weekend annually and has activities for attendees such as picnics, tournaments, sporting events and special shows. Though these activities are provided, some students can't enjoy the weekend with their own family, so they opt for other options instead. 

“[I’ll] probably catch up on homework, sleep, hang out with friends,” sophomore studio art major Hannah Blount said. “Honestly, my family kinda avoids coming on Family Weekend just because it’s so busy.”

Some students say they struggle with finding things to do over the weekend. 

“[There’s] nothing to do,”     freshman biology major Jasmine Kauffeld, whose family lives in Stuttgart, Germany said. “Mostof my friends are leaving for the weekend.”

There are activities that aren’t based around families, such as "Whose Live Anyway?" hosted in the Forbes Center at 8 p.m. Friday. Some students wish the university would do more for students whose families are unable to attend. 

“It doesn’t have to be specific, but I mean it is nice to have things to do that’s also recognized." said Kauffeld. "They could bring dogs, [because] it is hard without your family.”

Kauffeld said she believes JMU should recognize the students in this situation and encourage them to find things to do over the weekend. 

“I think that JMU should have an event where people who are really far away can meet up,” sophomore and English major Anoush Stamm said. “I only know that people are far away when I ask them ‘Where are you from?’ On Family Weekends, they can be like, ‘Hey, our families aren’t coming in, do you want to go out to dinner or go to the football game together?’”

Anoush, who’s from New Orleans, said she gets assistance from friends over Family Weekend since it’s “really far away and very expensive” for her family to visit during the weekend.

“I’m really blessed to have friends that, when their families come in town, they welcome me and make me feel apart of their families,” she said. “I have a really close-knit community of friends that takes away that homesickness feeling from me, which is awesome.”

Some students have said they feel alone during the weekend. Stamm said that freshmen and anyone else dealing with their family being unable to come should take action to help themselves avoid feeling lonely.

“Definitely reach out to other people because you’re not alone in feeling homesick,” Stamm said. “I know there’s people who even live two hours away who feel homesick. Don’t isolate yourself because there’s people who will make you feel loved and make you take the homesickness away.”

Contact Katelyn Morrison at morri6kl@dukes.jmu.edu