Families Celebrate PLNU Culture at Family Weekend

Participants in the Smash by the Sea event held by eSports club for Family Weekend on Oct. 14, 2023.

Point Loma Nazarene University’s annual Family Weekend took place from Oct. 13-14. The weekend included numerous events where students’ families could come together and experience the culture at PLNU. Some of these events included the escape room, classroom visits, President’s Breakfast and Smash by the Sea. 

According to Associated Student Body (ASB) Activities Director Jordan Roby, the goal for this annual event is to create a space where families can experience what PLNU is all about. 

“The hope for Family Weekend is bringing parents and students together to celebrate the amazing culture of Loma and to enjoy what makes it so amazing,” said Roby. 

The escape room was run by ASB. This year, Roby worked with Family Services in the hopes of creating something more engaging for families to connect and get to know each other through.

“Students can make great memories and be able to connect with other families on campus — maybe their roommate’s family, maybe their good friend’s family, and just have a great time,” Roby said.

The President’s Breakfast was a picnic-style breakfast at the Greek Amphitheatre where families could hear from President Bob Brower about how PLNU has encountered God through the decades. In addition, families also experienced worship and got to hear from a PLNU parent speaker. 

Jenna Bernath, a fourth-year multimedia journalism major, attended the breakfast with her parents. 

“Being a senior, it’s bittersweet. They had it [the Greek] all decorated and set up and I was like, ‘That’s how it’s going to be when I’m here for graduation,’ which is probably the next time my family will be in the Greek [Amphitheatre],” said Bernath. 

Jenna’s father, Tom Bernath, enjoyed the worship that occurred over the weekend.

“The food was good. And the singer [for worship] was incredible. It was awesome and inspirational to hear from a couple that spoke about the history of Point Loma and their walk with the Lord and how their time at Point Loma brought them together,” said Tom Bernath.

Being the mother of a fourth-year student, Jenna’s mother, Arlene, reflected on how this was her first and last Family Weekend to spend with her daughter. 

“As a family, we’ve seen her grow through her four years here. We get to go through this weekend with memories and how it has impacted her life,” said Arlene Bernath. 

The eSports club hosted the Smash by the Sea event which is a monthly event; however, it was opened up to families to attend for free in honor of Family Weekend. The event was set up for families with or without experience in video games. President of the club and second-year political science and music double major Ben Wodarczyk said the goal for the event was to have attendees participate in a Super Smash Brothers Ultimate tournament, build community and have fun.

His brother, Jacob Wodarczyk, accompanied him during the weekend and for the event. 

“I hope he gets the feel of what college looks like and that he’ll come to Point Loma because it’s such a great school,” said Wodarczyk. “He’s been experiencing college life with me. I took him to the Caf for lunch, he came to the dorm and came to the Arc with a bunch of people playing video games.” 

PLNU is one of Jacob’s top choices for schools to attend. Visiting his brother allowed him to experience the university’s culture.

“It’s been fun. He showed me his dorm room and I met his friends and got to see what life is like at Point Loma,” said Jacob Wodarczyk. “I like spending time with everyone and being able to interact with them.”

While some students and their families participated in events held on campus, others decided to do their own thing. First-year kinesiology major Madeira Lang and her family explored San Diego.

“We went to the beach and went to the grocery store. We hung out and it was just really nice to see them,” said Lang. 

First-year psychology major Lea Davies-kang spent the weekend with her mom. 

“We went to Costco and took one of my friends who didn’t have her family with us. We went to Liberty Station and ate out a lot. I showed her around campus and took her to my intermediate Spanish class,” said Davies-kang.

Being from Washington state, seeing her mom for the first time since move-in made for a special weekend. 

“We hugged a lot,” said Davies-kang.