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Siena College sign
Original photo by Jessica Dery

Elizabeth Byrnes ’24, Co-Chair of Family Weekend

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Siena chapter.

Elizabeth Byrnes is currently a sophomore at Siena College. She is double majoring in history and english and minoring in Educational Studies. With COVID making it difficult to make friends and interact with her classmates, she decided to get involved in many clubs and activities. To name a few, she is a student ambassador, involved in the American Cancer Society and is also on the Events Planning Committee on the Student Events Board. Through the Student Events Board, Liz, along with co-chair Azka Hasan, was able to plan the Siena College Family Weekend which took place October 1st-3rd 2021. 

Her Campus Siena: What made you decide to join the Student Events Board?

Liz Byrnes: I decided to join the Student Events Board because in high school, I was extremely involved with organizations that planned and facilitated events for the student body. When I heard about SEB, I couldn’t pass up the chance to have the opportunity to plan events on a larger scale throughout my time at Siena!

HCS: What made you decide to run for chair of family weekend?

LB: I decided to run for Family Weekend Co-Chair because I believed it would pose a challenge for me and allow me to grow my abilities as a leader.

HCS: What was your favorite part of planning family weekend?

LB: On a professional level, my favorite part of planning Family Weekend was contracting vendors. This was something I did not have much experience with and I enjoyed learning about all of the details that go into a seemingly simple experience. I have rarely had the opportunity to work professionally with individuals who are not a part of the Siena community, so I was grateful to learn something that will be useful to me in the future in regards to planning events. On a personal level, my favorite part of planning Family Weekend was getting to know those that worked with me on this project. The connections I made through this project are extremely valuable to me and I will truly miss our meetings, as they have become the status quo in my calendar. 

HCS: What was the most challenging part of planning family weekend?

LB:I believe that the most challenging part of planning Family Weekend would likely be the looming threat of the pandemic. When we began planning in February, there was no way to be certain what our world would look like by early October. While we were exceptionally lucky to put on an event with minimal pandemic-related disruptions, I feel it was always in the back of our minds that our hard work could be jeopardized by ever-changing policies.

HCS: What were some aspects of family weekend that you got to plan?

LB: A few of the aspects that I had the opportunity to collaboratively plan for Family Weekend are selecting the theme, brainstorming event ideas, selecting vendors, contracting vendors, creating a schedule and deciding what events would occur throughout the day, designing the t-shirt, coordinating volunteers, creating detailed documents of layouts for facilities, and much more! 

HCS: What were some aspects of family weekend that you got to enjoy?

LB: Family Weekend itself was a joyful experience for me. Seeing the events that we had discussed for so long come to fruition was a delightful feeling, yet the best part of Family Wee

kend for me was getting to see my parents! As a sophomore, my parents have never truly gotten to see what my life is like at Siena, as last year they would pick me up behind the closed gates, seeing only half of everyone’s faces. Getting to show them the place I love to call home made the weekend even more delightful than it already was. 

HCS: How has being the co chair of family weekend enhanced your Siena experience?

LB: Being one of the Family Weekend Co-Chairs enhanced my Siena experience in many ways. Having the opportunity to be a part of the Student Events Board has opened up the door for many other opportunities for me here at Siena. I met so many incredible people who possess the most incredible hearts and minds. I have learned so much from the people around me throughout the process. Being deeply involved in campus life is something that has always been important to me. Having had a pandemic-style freshman year, I am immensely grateful to have earned this position and had the experience of watching months and months of planning come to life before my eyes. 

Talking with Liz about her experience planning Family Weekend with SEB has really made me realize how much planning and thought goes into each event Siena holds.  Liz truly showed how dedicated she is to the events board and how much time and effort she and Azka put into Family Weekend 2021.