For many Lehigh families, Family Weekend is the time to reunite with loved ones, take in Lehigh’s campus, and watch or tailgate the home football game.
However, Goodman Stadium will not hold the game during this year’s coveted weekend.
This year’s event from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 will be without a home football game because Lehigh’s football team will be playing an away game at Monmouth University.
While the date isn’t ideal, there was a lot to consider when planning the weekend, such as major Jewish holidays, Labor Day, pacing break and other events taking place in the Lehigh and Bethlehem community, said Danielle Moyer, executive director of VP operations.
They do this, also, to ensure there are hotels available and a football game to attend on Lehigh’s home turf.
Moyer said she was in close contact with Lehigh’s Rabbi Steve Nathan to understand which of the Jewish holidays hold more restrictive traditions to be conscious of and avoid marginalizing any community.
She grew up going to football games and knows the importance of Lehigh’s school spirit and football traditions, but said some conflicts were considered heavily, especially Rosh Hashanah.
David Sedrak, ‘27, said he understands the office’s decision to not have a family weekend during a major Jewish holiday but still wishes Lehigh hosted a home game.
He said family weekend tends to bring in a wave of school spirit, but without the game, some fear there will be less this year.
“I’m kind of bummed about it. I think football games are a big part of culture here — they bring everyone together,” Sedrak said. “Without a home game…I feel like the community’s not going to be as tight as it could have been with a football game.”
Though there will be no tents for tailgates and other game-related events that are held at Goodman Campus, Moyer said there will still be an opportunity to watch the game with the rest of the Lehigh community, via livestream. The viewing on Packer Avenue will be from noon to 4 p.m. with the Mountain Hawks kicking off at 1 p.m.
“So even though we aren’t in the stadium cheering the team on, we will still allow for an opportunity for all parents, families and students to come together and cheer on the football team,” Moyer said.
While the lack of a home game impacts students and families, it also affects other Lehigh students who usually participate in the festivities, such as cheerleaders, football players and marching band members, as their families will not be able to see them in action.
Cheerleader Jane Manning, ‘26, said this year’s situation is more disappointing than previous years to some people she knows whose parents may miss out on the opportunity to see their children perform.
“I’m lucky because my family is close by so they can see me whenever for games, but I know some people — when they live farther apart — are just coming for Family Weekend,” Manning said. “That’s like the only time they would be able to see a game.”
Lehigh’s Office of Advancement and University Events has other activities planned for the weekend, such as the Brown and White barbeque, family classes at Taylor Gymnasium, Family Shabbat services at the Jewish Student Center, Pace the Prez, cookie decorating with the Center for Gender Equity, campus tours and more. The full list of events being held can be found on the Lehigh Alumni Family Weekend webpage.
For the next Family Weekend, Moyer said they will most likely be able to return to the weekend running when there is a home football game, which has always been a key factor when planning.
“We already are starting to look at next year, and it looks like there are a couple of dates that would work very well,” Moyer said. “We know that football brings everybody together. The tailgate is expected and we want to continue to do that in years moving forward.”