By Russell Napolitano
Many of you may have visited the Penn State Parents Council information table during Parents & Families Weekend. This table gave you the opportunity to learn about us and to make a connection with a Parents Council member. For those of you who did not visit the table, you may not be aware that Penn State even has a Parents Council. Regardless, you may have some questions – What do they do? Is this a group that is right for me? How do I join?
Since its formation, the Parents Council has been providing guidance and support for Parents Program initiatives. We are a group comprised of over 40 parents and family members who volunteer time to providing input regarding parent and family engagement through various connections and forms of outreach.
Personally, my experience on the Parents Council has been an extremely positive one. Not only has it given me the opportunity to stay connected to my children, but I have also met some incredible parents and families, many of which have become friends. The Parents Council has connected me to Penn State and has given me the opportunity to “give back” to an endeared community and share my experiences in a way that has helped new parents and families feel welcome. The Parents Council provides many ways in which you can get involved and put your life-skills to use. Whether it is through career services, welcome events, writing blogs about relevant experiences, student send-offs, and Parents & Families Weekend, the Parents Council has an array of opportunities that can be a good fit for you.
The best way for me to begin to answer your questions is through explaining our tagline: Welcoming. Sharing. Connecting. Our tagline sets the stage for what we are all about.
Welcoming: We are a passionate group of parents and families from all walks of life who are welcoming to new members who are committed to being involved and making a difference.
Sharing: We share first-hand experiences, knowledge and relevant information with one another and through the Parents Program website, blogs, programs and e-newsletters. We want new parents and families to know that they are not alone. There is a good chance that many of us have had the same questions or have faced similar challenges. We want to be a resource. If we don’t know the answer, we can connect you to the resources within the university who do.
Connecting: We are connected to the university through the Parents Program, a program that gives us direct access to resources as well as to the administration, faculty, and students. Our goal is to help connect a very large and diverse community. The Parents’ Council is also a good opportunity for you to stay connected to your student through our programs, on-campus meetings, and social events.
In addition to our tagline, the Parents Council maintains a vision, mission, and core values that guide all that we do from recruiting and selecting new members, to our programs and to our community outreach. You can read more at http://parents.psu.edu/parentscouncil.shtml .
How to Become a Penn State Parents Council Member
Applications are being accepted online through Nov. 16, 2017. There is an application and interview process to help in the selection of new members. Please note that the Parents Council is voluntary and requires a commitment to attend two meetings per year (spring and fall) as well as volunteer your time at Parents & Families Weekend (one weekend in October). Other than this, most volunteering can be done locally and in your own home. Visit www.parentprogram.psu.edu to fill out your application.
Another way to get involved and a good way to know if the Parents Council is right for you is to first volunteer as a Parent Ambassador. This is the route my wife and I took and it served as a way for us to become engaged with the Council and determine if this was a group that was right for us.
For those of you attending Homecoming this year (Nov. 10th and 11th), keep an eye out for us as a group of current and past Parents Council members will be marching in the Homecoming parade on Friday evening, November 10th. We would be happy to answer any questions and share our experiences.