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Family Weekend 2021

November 5 - 7

Registration for Family Weekend 2021 is now open! The deadline to register is Monday, November 1, 2021.

We hope you can join us in Evanston November 5 – 7, 2021 and encourage you to check out the program schedule below which will continue to be updated.

Register for the E-mail List

Family Weekend FAQ's

For all of your questions in planning for Family Weekend with your student, visit our Family Weekend FAQ section on our Family FAQs page.

A Note from Student Enrichment Services (SES)

Family Weekend Tailgate tickets are $21 for guests (this includes students) and $10 for children ages 3 - 12. Tickets to the NU football game are sold separately. If cost is a barrier to participation in either event, please visit the SES Parents & Families Website.

COVID-19 Safety Acknowledgment

When entering events during Family Weekend, you agree to comply with local, state, and University guidelines for in-person events. All guests are required to mask indoors and to have been fully vaccinated or received a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours.

Northwestern is pleased to be able to offer COVID-19 rapid antigen testing for campus visitors. Visitors may include prospective students, Northwestern event attendees, and family or friends visiting campus.

Please Note:The safety of our families and campus community is our priority. Plans for Family Weekend are subject to change as Northwestern follows local, state, and federal health directives and guidelines in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. The area of Family Engagement will continue to e-mail updates to families as they become available.

Campus Map

To assist you with your visit, please consult the Interactive Campus Map.

Official Family Weekend Schedule Book

A PDF of the Family Weekend Schedule Book is now available. Please plan to check in for Family Weekend on Friday, November 5 in 101 Wildcat Room, Norris University Center between 10:00 am – 6:00 pm. If you are unable to check in during that timeframe, please send your student to check in. Thank you!

Family Weekend 2021 Schedule

Family Weekend Schedule
Time Event Location/Details
10:00 am – 6:00 pm   Family Weekend Check-In Norris University Center - 101 Wildcat Room
11:00 am – 12:00 pm


Faculty Lecture Series: Round 1

Northwestern’s world-class faculty showcase their teaching expertise during various lectures for families. Lecture descriptions are listed below.

Llama Llama, Oh the Drama! What Children’s Literature Can Teach Us About Tough Conversations
Presented by Danielle Robinson Bell

202 Northwestern Room, Norris University Center

The events of the past year have forced organizations and the people who lead them to address important – and tough – topics. And for some, those conversations didn’t go well.  Sound familiar? At some point in the communications process there's a realization that what was being communicated didn't land well, or worse, didn't land at all. Using children’s books as a framework for narrative approach, this interactive lecture examines why difficult and sensitive subjects are hard to tackle and how to engage in tough conversation with loved ones and other important constituencies when the stakes – and emotions – are high.

Design 101: Embracing a Designer's Mindset
Presented by Pam Daniels

McCormick Auditorium, Norris University Center

Roughly half of Northwestern students take a design class before graduating and Designing your Life has become one of the most popular courses on campus.  If you're curious what all the fuss is about, come engage with Professor Pam Daniels and experience a mini design class for yourself!  

Behind the Camera: Managing, Mentoring and Dealing with Microaggressions
Presented by Ava Thompson Greenwell

McCormick Foundation Center

Have you ever wondered who decides what you watch on television news and how the gatekeeper’s identity impacts coverage?   Professor Greenwell studied the experiences of 40 broadcast journalism leaders who are Black and female to understand how their intersectional identities shape journalism and how the newsroom impacts them. In an interview-style video with one of her former students, Today Show co-host Sheinelle Jones, Professor Greenwell highlights some of the findings in her recent book, Ladies Leading: The Black Women Who Control Television News.

“Fermata” Does Not Mean “Hold Me!” 
Presented by Robert G. Hasty

REG 171, Master Classroom

How a conductor starts, stops, then resumes the music again.  The two most challenging and perilous moments for a conductor are when the large group being conducted must begin the music together, and when the sound must instantaneously stop.  A fermata in the music requires a conductor to consider both of these moments simultaneously.  Using The Star-Spangled Banner as an example, what gestures will be most effective in navigating a musical group through these moments?  In this presentation, we will unlock the secret of the gestures that can be used, as well as the variety of results that could be inspired.

Engineering Mindfulness: The Science of Success
Presented by Joe Holtgreive

Guild Lounge, Scott Hall

Do you ever feel disconnected from your profession, your family, yourself?  If so, you’re not alone.  In today’s world of exponentially expanding information and perpetually evolving technology we’re constantly confronting change and the uncertainty it brings.  The daily demands for your attention can seem endless; bulging inboxes, boundless meetings, and beckoning devices.  Today’s college students are no different.  Engineering Mindfulness is a response to this challenge.  In the Engineering Office of Personal Development, we offer courses on emotional intelligence, improv performance, and whole-body thinking (collaborative problem solving through partnered dancing), all of which leverage the powerful practice of mindfulness.  Come see how we teach mindfulness tools and the brain science behind them to Northwestern students enabling them to reach their peak performance. This class will involve didactic instruction, small group discussion, and large group interaction.

Why is There So Much Gender Inequality in Poor Countries?
Presented by Seema Jayachandran

203 Lake Room, Norris University Center

Gender gaps favoring men and boys -- in employment, education, health, and more -- are especially large in developing countries. In this lecture, we will discuss why economic progress often helps bring about more gender equality, and, conversely, why gender inequality slows down economic progress. We will also discuss some exceptions – ways that economic progress exacerbates gender gaps – and how public policy can help alleviate this tension.

Your Brain on Happiness: A Road Map to Health
Presented by Robin Nusslock

205 Louis Room, Norris University Center

This lecture will examine the neuroscience of happiness and well-being. You’ll learn what systems in the brain help generate positive emotions, and how these brain systems affect our mental and physical health. We’ll discuss how stress and addiction affect these brain systems, and evidence-based strategies for increasing happiness and the health and longevity of our brains.


Jabberwocky: Making Sense of Nonsense (Wirtz Center Ballroom in the Marjorie Ward Marshall Dance Center)

Presented by David Catlin, School of Communication

“’Twas brillig and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:” 

Grab your vorpal sword and come slay the Jabberwock with us. 

Engaging with Lewis Carroll’s famous nonsense poem, “Jabberwocky,” from his 1871 novel Through the Looking-Glass, student-parents will discern meaning and develop deeper understanding of text through analysis, embodiment, collaborative creation, and performance. This experiential theatre class will introduce concepts of ensemble, interpretation, character, action, objective, gesture, breath, voice, vocal dynamics, environment, specificity, and group-devising.  Members of the class who wish to fully participate are encouraged to wear clothing and shoes (or socks) comfortable for hunting Jabberwocky.

10:30 am – 12:45 pm Campus Tours Leave from West entrance of Norris University Center
Family Ambassadors will lead 45-minute campus tours which leave at 10:30 am, 11 am, 11:30 am & 12 pm
1:10 pm – 2:00 pm  Ju’mah (Muslim Friday Prayer

Parkes Hall, Room 122, 1870 Sheridan Road

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm


Faculty Lecture Series: Round 2

Northwestern’s world-class faculty showcase their teaching expertise during various lectures for families. Lecture descriptions are listed below.

Between Narrative and Dramaturgy: Reading Camus During the West African Ebola and Covid-19 Pandemics
Presented by Adia Benton

203 Lake Room, Norris University Center

Have recent epidemics hewed closely to the outbreak narrative, as elaborated by literary scholar Priscilla Wald, or maintained a dramaturgical form, as proposed by historian of medicine Charles Rosenberg? In this lecture, I examine the two paradigms from an anthropological perspective in an attempt to understand what kinds of interventions are possible and necessary, when we have told particular kinds of stories about epidemics.

Structural Art in New York's Suspension Bridges and Chicago's Tall Buildings
Presented by David J. Corr

202 Northwestern Room, Norris University Center

Successful structures become permanent symbols of the places they are built, are an expression of each designer's vision for the resolution of forces, and often serve important social functions in their communities.  These features are key elements to the concept of structural art, a new form of creative expression that emerged with the profession of structural engineering in the 19th century.  In this lecture we will examine some of the best examples of structural art in the USA in NYC's long-span bridges and Chicago's tall buildings.

What Does It Mean to Have a Mental Disorder?
Presented by Renee Engeln

Harris Hall, L07

The classification and diagnosis of mental disorders remains the foundation of much of the work in clinical psychology and psychiatry. But questions remain about whether scientists and practitioners can even agree on what a mental disorder is and whether our current diagnostic system is helping or hindering progress in identifying treatments for mental disorders. This lecture will provide a whirlwind tour through historical and recent developments in our understanding of the nature of mental distress.

The Necessity of Automating Journalism
Presented by Jeremy Gilbert

McCormick Foundation Center

Modern newsrooms are beset by multiple challenges. To remain a valued and trusted source worthy of attention, and possibly subscription, newsrooms need to turn to automation. That automation, driven by artificial intelligence, helps to generate news, personalize/customize news experiences, improve distribution and lift revenues. 

All You Need is Love? What Science Can Tell Us About Couples' Emotions
Presented by Claudia Haase

Guild Lounge, Scott Hall

What makes or breaks a relationship? This question has long puzzled laypeople and scholars alike. Research show that one answer lies in how individuals navigate the emotional ups and downs in their relationship. But how can we study couples' emotions? Which emotional behaviors predict relationship happiness and which predict misery? Why do some partners blow their top whereas others keep their cool during conflict? And how do couples' emotional lives change as they get older? In this lecture, we will discuss scientific insights into couples' emotions, watch short video clips, and learn how to spot a fake smile.

What Do We Know When We Know a Person?
Presented by Dan P. McAdams

205 Louis Room, Norris University Center

I will reprise this past year’s first-day lecture for my Personality Psychology class, which asks a basic psychological question:  What do we know when we know a person?  Featuring the lives of Lady Gaga, Steve Jobs, and Oprah Winfrey, I suggest that to answer the question you need to consider a person from three different standpoints:  as (1) a social actor, equipped with stylistic traits that shape how a person expresses emotions and performs their roles on the social stage of everyday life; (2) a motivated agent, which refers to the underlying goals, values, and motivations that spell out what a person wants in life and how they aim to pursue it; and (3) an autobiographical author, who constructs and lives according to an internalized life story, reconstructing the past and imagining the future to provide life with some semblance of meaning and coherence. 

Reimagining Love: Sex, Intimacy, and Commitment During a Time of Global Upheaval
Presented by Alexandra Solomon

McCormick Auditorium, Norris University Center

Dr. Alexandra H. Solomon is adjunct faculty in the School of Education and Social Policy and a licensed clinical psychologist at The Family Institute at Northwestern University. She teaches the popular undergraduate course, “Building Loving and Lasting Relationships: Marriage 101.” She is the author of two bestselling books: Loving Bravely and Taking Sexy Back and the host of the new podcast, Reimagining Love with Dr. Alexandra Solomon. In this talk, Professor Solomon will bridge theory, clinical wisdom, and research to explore the question, “How can we be certain about love when the world is so uncertain?” She will offer strategies and insights to help us bring our best and bravest selves to our intimate relationships

Afternoon with the Undergraduate Schools

Bienen School of Music (BSM)

  • 2:10 pm – 4:10 pm (Pick-Staiger Concert Hall)
  • Join Conductor Mallory Thompson for a student rehearsal of the Symphonic Wind Ensemble.
Medill School of Journalism. Media, Integrated Marketing Communications (Medill)
  • 2:45 pm – 4:15 pm (McCormick Foundation Center Forum)
  • A brief showcase of innovative student work and a panel featuring Medill leadership.

McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science (MEAS)

  • 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm (205 Louis Room, Norris University Center)
  • McCormick family members are invited to this presentation and Q&A with Dr. Burghardt, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Engineering, and current engineering students.

School of Communication (SoC)

  • 2:45 pm - 3:45 pm (Wirtz Center for Performing Arts, Room 201, 1949 Campus Drive)
  • Dean E. Patrick Johnson and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs and Advising Lori Barcliff Baptista will speak briefly, and academic advisors will mingle with guests.

Weinberg School of Arts and Sciences (WCAS)

  • 2:45 pm – 3:45 pm (Cahn Auditorium)
  • Presentation and panel discussion on resources and opportunities for Weinberg students.

School of Education and Social Policy (SESP)

  • 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm (Annenberg Hall, Room 123)
  • An open house and conversation with SESP faculty and advising team will take place in the SESP Student Affairs Office on the first floor of Annenberg Hall. Light refreshments will be served.
Family Weekend Schedule
4:00 pm – 4:30 pm Mindfulness Meditation Drop-In Multi-Belief Space, Parkes Hall, Room 204, 1870 Sheridan Road
4:30 pm – 5:30 pm Conversation with the President Cahn Auditorium
Join President Schapiro for a conversation about Northwestern and the student experience. Other key staff will be present to answer questions from family members. 
5:30 pm – 6:00 pm

Northwestern Hillel Family Reception

629 Foster St.
Schmooze with other alumni, current students, and Hillel staff before Shabbat services and dinner!
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm  Shabbat Evening Services 629 Foster St.
Join us for student-led Reform and Conservative services!
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm Northwestern Hillel Shabbat Dinner 629 Foster St.
We are hosting a free, catered Shabbat dinner!
7:00pm Women's Volleyball vs. Wisconsin

 Welsh-Ryan Arena

Undergraduate students are free but guests must Purchase Tickets.

8:00 pm – 10:00 pm Acapalooza—hosted by NUDM Cahn Auditorium
Join Northwestern University Dance Marathon (NUDM) and Family Engagement for a night of a cappella music and fun! Hear from Northwestern’s incredible a cappella groups and learn about NUDM 2022 primary beneficiary, Chicago Youth Programs, and secondary beneficiary, the Evanston Community Foundation. Tickets ($5 for students, $8 for family members; cash only) can be purchased outside of the auditorium starting at 7:30pm. All proceeds go directly to NUDM.
The Big Ten has announced that the Northwestern Wildcats will take on the Iowa Hawkeyes at 6 pm CDT on Saturday, November 6. Family Weekend Tailgate tickets are sold out. For those who have already purchased tailgate tickets, the Family Weekend Tailgate will take place from 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm in Wildcat Alley, next to Ryan Field. Fan Shuttles will be available to bring families from on-campus parking to Ryan Field throughout the afternoon and evening.  To learn more visit the nusports website.
Family Weekend Schedule
Time Event Location/Details
10:00-11:00 am Campus Resource Sessions

Career Services for Northwestern Students - 202 Northwestern Room, Norris University Center

Northwestern Career Advancement (NCA) will offer an overview of the career resources available to your student including career counseling and advising services, internships and summer experiences, and the post-graduation success of our students.  Come learn about how Northwestern prepare its students for life after graduation.

Study Abroad Information Session - McCormick Auditorium, Norris University Center

Northwestern students participate in study abroad programs around the world. The Global Learning Office will provide insight into the process and possibilities of studying abroad.

Undergraduate Research Information Session - 101 Wildcat Room, Norris University Center

 The Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research will explain how students can get involved as well as the extensive resources and funding available.

Office of Fellowships Session - 203 Lake Room, Norris University Center

The Office of Fellowships helps students find and apply for external sources of funding to do many different things, including research, internships, language study, and tuition support, with international options available for all opportunities.

10:00 am - 12:00 pm Black House Tours
1914 Sheridan Road
The Black House is intended to be a home away from home for Northwestern's students who identify across the Black Diaspora. The Black House provides space for culturally salient programming, services, advocacy, outreach, holistic development and resources. Multicultural Student Affairs invites parents and families to an informative tour of the renovated Black House. Tours will start at 10am, 10:30am, 11am, and 11:30am.
10:30 am – 12:00 pm Walking Tour of Downtown Evanston

Weber Arch, Corner of Sheridan Rd and Chicago Ave

Discover the fascinating shared history of Northwestern University and the city of Evanston. The tour will begin at the gateway arch located at Sheridan Road and Chicago Avenue, aka "the eyebrow of beauty." Walking south on Chicago Avenue into downtown Evanston, we will explore the interrelationship of the university and the town it founded and how the progressive ideals of both created a unique community. 

Please go to to purchase tickets for the tour. 

11:00-11:45 am Campus Tour

Leaves from West entrance of Norris University Center
Family Ambassadors will lead a 45-minute campus tour.

1:30-2:45 pm Campus Tour

Leaves from West entrance of Norris University Center

Family Ambassadors will lead a 45-minute campus tour.

1:30-3:00 pm


Rhythm Nation


(Cahn Auditorium)


Family Engagement presents Rhythm Nation! Join us performances featuring Northwestern student dance groups. Admission is free!

2:00 pm – 3:30 pm Walking Tour of Downtown Evanston

Weber Arch, Corner of Sheridan Rd and Chicago Ave

Discover the fascinating shared history of Northwestern University and the city of Evanston. The tour will begin at the gateway arch located at Sheridan Road and Chicago Avenue, aka "the eyebrow of beauty." Walking south on Chicago Avenue into downtown Evanston, we will explore the interrelationship of the university and the town it founded and how the progressive ideals of both created a unique community. 

Please go to this site to purchase tickets for the tour. 

Time 3:30-5:30 pm Family Weekend Tailgate

(Wildcat Alley, the Football Practice Field located east of Drysdale Field)

If you pre-purchased tickets, join us for our annual Family Weekend Tailgate! The tailgate will feature traditional tailgate food, music and great company! Tailgate ticket sales are currently sold out.

Time 6:00 pm Northwestern Football vs. Iowa

(Ryan Field)

Cheer on your Northwestern Wildcats as they take on the University of Iowa! Tickets available at

Family Weekend Schedule
Time Event Location/Details
9:30 am & 11:00 am Sheil Catholic Center Sunday Mass 2110 Sheridan Road
Join us for Sunday mass.
9:30 am – 11:30 am Northwestern Hillel Family Open House Bagel Brunch

629 Foster Street

Join us before you head home for an Open House Bagel Brunch, hosted by current Northwestern students.

9:30 am – 10:30 am Fraternity & Sorority Life Panel Presentation

205 Louis Room, Norris University Center

Families are invited to a presentation provided by the Fraternity & Sorority Life staff that will overview the values of our community, benefits of membership, and pathways to joining across our four councils: the Interfraternity Council (IFC), the Multicultural Greek Council (MGC), the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), and the Panhellenic Association (PHA). Families will also have a chance to ask questions and engage with a panel of upper-class student leaders within the FSL community about their experiences.

10:00 am Krispy Kreme 5K

Southern End of Northwestern Lakefill

The Krispy Kreme 5K is a typical 5K with a twist as every donut you eat takes time off your run! It’s a fun way to combine everyone’s love of donuts with friendly competition. Be sure to register online to participate.

11:00 am – 12:00 pm Student Panel Presentation with Family Ambassadors

205 Louis Room, Norris University Center

Take part in a panel presentation and Q & A with Family Ambassadors regarding student life and their experiences at Northwestern.

11:00 am – 12:00 pm Alice Millar Chapel University Service

Alice Millar Chapel, 1870 Sheridan Road

All students and families are welcome to join us for an interdenominational Christian worship service in the resplendent beauty of Alice Millar Chapel led by the internationally recognized Alice Millar Chapel Choir.  Brunch available after the service.

12:00pm Women's Volleyball vs. Indiana

Welsh-Ryan Arena

Undergraduate students are free but guests must Purchase Tickets.

5:00pm Women's Basketball vs. Parkside – Exhibition Game

Welsch-Ryan Arena

Admission is free for all

Block Museum of Art40 Arts Circle Drive

Visit Northwestern’s campus art museum! The Block is a dynamic, imaginative, and innovative teaching and learning resource for Northwestern and its surrounding communities, featuring a global exhibition program that serves as a springboard for thought-provoking discussions relevant to our lives today. The museum is open November 5 - 7 from 12 pm – 5pm. To learn more about the current exhibition, please visit the Block website.

The Block is always free and open to all.

Visit the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion

Engage in the Northwestern recreational student experience! Offering seven recreation facilities, three intramural sport seasons with nine sports, 38 club teams, open recreation, a vast array of fitness equipment, wellness programs and services, indoor and outdoor water activities, and tennis - NU Recreation has something for everyone!  Learn how fitness, wellness, recreation, and sports activities can help your student deal with the stresses of academic life, enhance their overall well-being, and improve their everyday life.

Henry Crown Sport Pavilion will be open from 6:00am - 10:00pm on Friday, 8:00am - 9:00pm on Saturday, and 8:00am - 10:00pm on Sunday.  

Families will have complimentary access to Henry Crown and all Group Exercise classes throughout Family Weekend.

Group Exercise Class Schedule
Group Exercise Schedule





9:00 - 10:00 a.m.

Aqua Fitness



Noon - 1:00 p.m.

Vinyasa Flow Yoga


Studio 2

Noon - 1:00 p.m.

Strength & Core


Studio 1AB

5:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Mindful Yoga


Studio 2





8:15 - 9:15 a.m.

Cycle Challenge


MAC Court

9:30 - 10:30 a.m.

Yoga Basics


Studio 2

9:30 - 10:30 a.m.



Studio 1AB

11:00 a.m. - Noon

Vinyasa Flow Yoga


Studio 2





11:00 a.m. - Noon

Hatha Yoga


Studio 2

Noon - 1.00 p.m.



Studio 1AB

Things to do in Evanston & Chicago

We know not everyone wants to attend a football game during Family Weekend. It’s also a great time to explore Evanston and Chicago, two cities your student has the privilege of living in and close to during their time here. Take a minute to check out our non-exhaustive list of things to do while you are in town!  

Visit our "Things to do in Chicago and Evanston page"

Campus Parking

Parking is open and free to family members Friday, November 5 through Sunday, November 7 for any on-campus spot (except for handicapped and reserved spaces). The most accessible lots are the south campus garage (near Norris University Center) or the north campus garage. Parking is limited (and requires a fee) at Ryan Field on Saturday; families are encouraged to park on campus and take the game day shuttles (picking up along Sheridan Road) to the game and Family Weekend Tailgate.