The Charger Blog

Charger Pride on Full Display at University’s Family Day

Charger families visited their students as part of Family Day, the largest one-day event the University has hosted on campus since the start of the pandemic. It enabled students and their families to safely reconnect while exploring everything the University has to offer.

October 5, 2021

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Image from family day.
Family Day brought more than 1,500 students and their family members together.

Although Akinbusola Akinwunmi ’25 had spent time away from home before beginning his first semester at the University last month, he had never been away from home for so long. That’s why he was particularly excited for his family to visit him on campus as part of the University’s Family Day.

“It is nice having them here,” said Akinwunmi, a cybersecurity and networks major. “I’d been looking forward to Family Day. I was especially excited about watching the football game with them.”

The football game – during which the Chargers defeated crosstown rival Southern Connecticut State University 38-9, capturing the coveted Elm City Trophy for the 11th consecutive matchup – was one of many fun activities that Akinwunmi enjoyed with his family. His parents and siblings visited the University from their home in New Jersey.

“We’re a close family,” said Akinola Akinwunmi, Akinbusola’s father. “We’ve all missed him. We were all looking forward to reconnecting with him during Family Day.”

Akinbusola Akinwunmi and his family on Family Day.
Akinbusola Akinwunmi ’25 (right) and his family on Family Day.
‘It’s nice to be at Family Day’

The Akinwunmi family was one of many that visited the University for a fun and relaxing day on campus. The event, the largest the University has hosted on campus since the start of the pandemic, brought more than 1,500 students and their family members together. The University had safety measures in place to protect everyone, including requiring family members to show proof of full vaccination or proof of a negative COVID test before arriving on campus. Students and their families wore face coverings while inside to keep everyone safe during the various events.

Cassandra Stevens ’24, a criminal justice major, said she was most looking forward to taking her mother, Carol, to the University’s crime scene training house, where families went on tours and learned what it takes to process a crime scene.

“It’s nice to be at Family Day and to be around more people,” said Cassandra. “It feels more like normal.”

“Last year, because of COVID, we didn’t get to enjoy Family Day,” added Carol. “I’m glad we’re getting to do what we didn’t get to do last year.”

Charlie the Charger with a visiting family on family day.
Families visiting the University explored the campus and met Charlie.
‘I love the campus’

Erica Gardner, associate director of the Center for Student Engagement, Leadership, and Orientation (CSELO), says the goal was for families to get a “full campus experience.” She says Family Day was a wonderful way for families to see the campus, learn about everything the University has to offer students, and to meet faculty and staff members, and their students’ classmates and families.

“It is important for me to make sure families feel connected to our campus,” she said. “We understand that the transition to college can be difficult, and we want to provide students and families with opportunities to keep those connections. My favorite moment of Family Day is when students come up to me to introduce me to their families. It reassures me that I am having a positive impact on our students and on our campus.”

Image of families playing corn hole.
Families enjoyed lawn games together on Family Day.

Many of the day’s activities were outside – including lawn games, interactive inflatables, and caricature artists. Families also made their own stuffed animals, which included miniature University of New Haven t-shirts, and got their pictures taken with Charlie.

Kathleen Trakimas came up from Bridgewater, New Jersey, to spend the day with her daughter, Stephanie Seymour ’22. She, too, was looking forward to touring the University’s crime scene house.

“I love the campus,” said Trakimas. “The students are so positive and so happy. It’s a lovely day at the University.”

“I’ve been looking forward to seeing Stephanie’s favorite spots on campus,” added her sister Caroline Seymour, who attended Family Day with Trakimas.

Faith Arcuri with her mom Mary on Family Day.
Faith Arcuri ’25 spent time with her mom Mary on Family Day.
‘It’s nice to get to be together’

The event enabled Charger families to explore the campus, including seeing residence halls, and visiting University Admissions and the Myatt Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Families learned how to salsa dance, decorated cupcakes together, and tested their puzzle-solving skills in an escape room.

For many families, such as the Arcuri family of Naugatuck, Conn., Family Day was a wonderful opportunity to spend time together while sharing their Charger Pride.

“I wanted to visit the campus to check out the atmosphere,” said Mary Arcuri, who attended Family Day with her daughter Faith Arcuri ’25, a communication major. “It’s so nice to get to do this. I love the campus.”

“This has been a lot of fun,” added Faith. “We don’t always get to spend a lot of time together, and it’s nice to get to be together.”