About FSU Family Connection

FSU's Family Connection is the first resource for family members looking to stay connected to the Florida State University experience. Join the FSU Family Connection to learn more about events on campus, connect with university staff and faculty, and communicate with other FSU family members.

Family Support Matters: How Supporting Your Student Can Assist Them Through College

Once your student starts college, it’ll be a hard adjustment. Between moving from home, living long distances from close friends, and essentially having to start over in a brand new city at a brand new school is a rocky path. While it may appear that your student is transitioning okay, extending your support as a family can do a world of wonders for your student as they go through classes, friendships, realizations, problems, and more.

When you hear “supporting your student through college,” it’s possible that your mind jumps to money; you’ll think of tuition, scholarships, grants, food plans, grocery and gas money, financial disbursements. However, as much as college students love some extra cash and fast food, familial support extends beyond these actions. Support can mean sending a letter to their mailbox, which I can assure you never gets any mail otherwise. Showing support can mean remembering little details they tell you, like if they have a huge exam coming up or if they have an event this weekend with their student organization. Showing support can be sending a good morning or good night text, or calling them sometime in the afternoon to talk about their day. It doesn’t cost much to let your student know you’re thinking of them, whether you’re right across town, nine hours south, or in a different state. 

As the semester goes on and stress about classes is at its peak, the best thing you can do for your student is to support and encourage them. This support can come in brief reminders such as reminding them that it’s important to go to class, take time to study hard for tests, and to make sure they’re taking care of themselves. These actions may seem like you’re babying or being overly-controlling, but it really isn’t; students can use advice from the people that can give it best, which can be their family. No matter what you tell them, they are sure to think about it twice if it comes from you- especially in a caring manner. If your student is particularly struggling with school, consider researching the resources FSU offers to help them. Chances are they are completely overwhelmed or swamped with schoolwork, and if it’s their first year, they might be completely unaware of what to do. By sharing resources like Academic Support from the Academic Center For Excellence or the University Counseling Center, your student will recognize that you’re helping them as best as you can without being there with them. It does take some stress off, but it also keeps them responsible because they have to make the final call for what they do.

As far as a student perspective, many students appreciate the support they receive from their parents in any form. Whether you like to send care packages every once in a while, constantly give them updates from home, or text questions about their classes and schedule, I can assure you they enjoy it even if they don’t always respond (your student would notice right away if you were to stop). It’s the little things that they do notice and appreciate it, mostly because nobody can give you enough attention and love like a family can!

By Abby Cloud

30 Things to Do @ FSU Before You Graduate

Things-to-do-01.png30 Things to Do at FSU Before You Graduate

During your time at Florida State University, you can accomplish a lot: meet some of your closest friends, graduate with your Bachelor’s Degree, or get your dream job. It’s no doubt that you’re at college in order to fulfill your upper education, but who says you can’t have fun doing it? Here’s a compiled list of 30 “must-dos” on campus before you say goodbye!

  1. Celebrate FSU’s birthday on Landis!
  2. Take a picture with the Garnet and Gold guys.
  3. Host a study group in Strozier.
  4. Attend an FSU football game.
  5. Take a picture in front of the Unconquered Statue at Doak Campbell Stadium.
  6. Jump into Westcott Fountain on your 21st Birthday.
  7. Walkthrough FSU’s Legacy Walk.
  8. Watch the Homecoming parade College Ave.
  9. Attend the Flying High Circus.
  10. Start your morning with a coffee from Sweet Shop.
  11. Enjoy an afternoon on Landis Green. 
  12. Attend the President’s Ice Cream Social.
  13. Take your first day of school pictures with New Student & Family Programs on Landis.
  14. Take an exercise class at the Leach. 
  15. Catch a movie at the Askew Student Life Center.
  16. Participate in FSU’s Great Give.
  17. Have a late-night meal at The Den.
  18. Grab lunch in between classes from Mom and Pop’s Hot Dog Stand.
  19. Take a weekend and visit the Rez.
  20. Join an intramural sports team.
  21. Go see a musical or play with FSU’s School of Theatre.
  22. Visit the Museum of Fine Arts.
  23. Go to Market Wednesday.
  24. Participate in a philanthropy like Dance Marathon, The Big Event, or Relay for Life.
  25. Vote in the SGA election. 
  26. Pick up a copy of FSView. 
  27. Buy some FSU merchandise from the bookstore on campus.
  28. Eat at Suwannee Dining Hall. 
  29. Go to a concert hosted by Club Downunder/Union Productions. 
  30. Support FSU’s men’s and women’s athletics throughout the year.


By Abby Cloud


Celebrating the Arts @ Florida State University

October is the National Arts and Humanities Month, and the Florida State University is home to numerous art and humanities programs that continue to make waves in the Tallahassee and FSU communities, as well as the state and nation. There are several colleges, schools, and programs surrounding the arts and humanities, including but not limited to the College of Fine Arts, College of Motion Picture Arts, College of Music, and the FSU English Department. Within each of these departments, there are numerous ways for students to get involved and support the arts on campus. Here are just a handful of ways to experience or support the arts at Florida State University!

College of Fine Arts. The College of Fine Arts is extensive and has a plethora of ways to experience the arts on campus. One way is the Museum of Fine Arts (MoFA), located on West Call Street near campus. Admission is free and open to the public Monday-Wednesday from 10 am to 5 pm and Thursdays until 8 p.m. Inside they feature many types of exhibits throughout the year, each exhibit ranging from eccentric and unique to historical and informative. MoFA typically features art faculty and graduating artists exhibits as well. Events are hosted periodically and if football isn’t your thing, MoFA even offers a fun “Pregame at MoFA” opportunity every home game. 

Within the college, there is also the School of Theatre, which as of September 3, 2019 has been named No. 7 for Best College Theater according to The Princeton Review. This top-tier theatre school right here in Tallahassee debuted its 2019-2020 season this month with “Chicago.” For students and members of the community looking to support the theatre, there are numerous chances to do so all year. This year, the School of Theatre is performing shows like “The Importance of Being Earnest,” “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs,” “In the Heights,” “We Are Proud to Present,” and “Marie Antoinette.” Purchase show tickets here

School of Theatre

FSU’s School of Dance is home to Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC), an internationally recognized dance research center that attracts many notable figures and dancers. With an impressive and talented student body and staff, the accomplishments of the college extend into the state, nation, and worldwide. At FSU, however, you can directly support the school by attending any concert series like Days of Dance, an Evening of Dance, and Master Thesis Projects at the Nancy Smith Fichter Dance Theatre. Check out their calendar of events & purchase tickets here

College of Motion Picture Arts. FSU’s College of Motion Picture Arts ranks at No. 13 in terms of national rankings in August of this year. The film school is consistently highlighted as a powerful force in film schools because of their focus on experiential learning and their rapidly-growing alumni who make waves post graduation in the film world. Screenings of works completed by FSU students can be seen in various locations around campus, so be sure to stay updated with the college through their social media so you can support the students and their talents.

FSU English Department. FSU’s English Department iis home to numerous literary publications and ways to support the works of both students and faculty. The Kudzu Review serves as a completely undergraduate-student run literary magazine that has been around for over 30 years. The magazine itself is produced twice a year and publishes works completed by undergraduate students all over the country. They publish fiction, poetry, literary nonfiction, art, and photography, and encourage artists at FSU and around the country to submit their pieces or art, or apply to be on their staff. 

Another literary magazine stemming from FSU’s College of English is The Southeast Review, which was established in 1979. This literary magazine is completely run by graduate students and a faculty consulting editor. The literary magazine is produced twice a year and they publish submissions consisting of literary fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, interviews, book reviews and art. 

If you’re looking to read a book or work published by someone in the English Department, you can check out the homepage at https://english.fsu.edu/.  

College of Music.College of Music The College of Music hosts a variety of events throughout the year to showcase all the talent that comes from this esteemed college at FSU. The College of Music has over five performance halls, including Ruby Diamond Concert Hall, Opperman Music Hall, and the Owen Sellers Amphitheater. In one of their many auditoriums and stages, students, faculty and staff, and the community can see guest artist lectures and recitals, the University Symphony Orchestra, and student performances. There are a handful of ensembles consisting of bands, choral, chamber, jazz, opera, early music, musical theater, world music, and orchestras that perform throughout the year as well. Check out their upcoming events at https://www.music.fsu.edu/ 


By Abby Cloud

Family Weekend Fun: A Guide to Tallahassee

Family Weekend is just around the corner, and that means visiting your student here in Tallahassee, Florida for a weekend of catching up and Seminole spirit at Florida State University. While there are many opportunities to dine, visit, and explore campus, perhaps you want to take the time to explore a little past the on-campus fun. Tallahassee has numerous local businesses and unique attractions for you to see while you’re in town. Here are some options for your student and family to experience while in town this weekend. 

Attractions. Not only is Tallahassee the capital for FSU Football, it is also the capital of the state of Florida. Tallahassee, dubbed the Capital City, is home to many historic sites, including the Florida Capitol Complex and the Historic Capitol Museum. In the 22-story complex, you can visit the observatory and gallery on the 22nd floor to see a gorgeous panoramic view of Tallahassee, and to view some artwork completed by notable Florida artists. The Historic Capitol offers self-guided tours of the ‘old capitol,’ and you can see interesting artifacts and learn more about Tallahassee’s legislative history. Both the Capitol Complex and Historic Capitol have free admission for visitors. Near campus you can find a hidden treasure in the heart of downtown: Railroad Square Art Park. In this art district, you can find eclectic artwork, unique restaurants and cafes, and lots of local shops for you to walk through. This is a favorite among Tallahassee locals and college students alike, and is an absolute must-see if you’re in town. If you’re not looking to spend money within the park, the vibrant artworks and buildings makes the walk through the district worth it. 

Another great way to experience Tallahassee is by utilizing the new electric scooters to ride through Cascades Park and enjoy the peaceful environment. (Just remember that these e-scooters are not permitted on campus).

Park Avenue Historic District is a chain of seven parks located in Tallahassee’s downtown. It is home to many events throughout the year, including the weekly Saturday Downtown Market, and is a picturesque part of downtown- even more so when the twinkling lights in the trees come on every night. On College Avenue, you can find another photo opportunity: a postcard-styled mural. Brightly colored and alluding to Tallahassee’s most iconic features, it represents the Capital City well and serves as an artistic rendering of what makes Tallahassee so wonderful. Inside of Cascades Park, you can also find a large orange sculpture of the letters TLH, which makTLH.jpge for a cute photo opportunity for you and your student in their new home. 

Dining. Besides enthusiasm for athletics and serving as Florida’s capital, there is nothing that Tallahassee does better than being a foodie’s dream. Whether you’re looking for a night out on the town, a delicious Southern lunch, or a tasty breakfast, Tallahassee has it all. Check out all the recommended dining opportunities here in the Capital City.

Breakfast: Lucky Goat Coffee Co., Canopy Road Cafe, SoDOUGH Baking Co., The Edison, Uptown Cafe, RedEye Coffee, Donut Kingdom, Bada Bean, All Saints Cafe, Black Dog Cafe, Catalina Cafe. 

Lunch: Jeri’s Midtown Cafe, Wells Brothers Bar and Grill, Kool Beanz Cafe, Chi Chi’s Cafe, Bird’s Aphrodisiac Oyster Shack, Hopkins Eatery, Momo’s Pizza, The Lunchbox, Vertigo Burgers and Fries, VooDoo Dog.

Dinner: Marie Livingston’s, Backwoods Bistro, Z. Bardhi’s Italian Cuisine, Madison Social, Centrale, Township, Table 23, Andrew’s Capital Grill and Bar, Midtown Caboose, Masa, Bella Bella, Mom and Dad’s Italian Restaurant. 

Nightlife: The Brass Tap, Proof Brewing Co., Lake Tribe Brewing, Fire Betty’s Arcade Bar, Madison Social, Township, The Fox and Stag, Liberty Bar and Restaurant. 

Snacks: Tasty Pastry Bakery, Lofty Pursuits, Sugar Rush Bar, Nothing Bundt Cakes, N2 Sweets, Magda’s, Big Easy Snowballs, Lucy & Leo’s Cupcakery. 

Shopping. A great way to spend your time in Tallahassee is enjoying all of the businesses and shops that Tallahassee has to offer. All over town, you can find many different boutiques, including Quarter Moon Imports, Loli and the Bean, Olde Fields Clothing Co., Lucky and Charmed, and Sparkle by Madison. Local shopping options for men include Southern Compass Outfitters and Cape Harbor Outfitters. If you’re in search of some FSU gear, you can head over to the FSU Bookstore, Garnet and Gold, Alumni Hall, or Bill’s Bookstore for the latest FSU items. In addition to these local stores, Tallahassee is also home to the Governor’s Square and Tallahassee Malls which contains popular department stores and chains. For Tallahassee souvenirs, you can check out the Visitor Information Center where there are many cute shirts, hats, and stickers. Some local businesses and boutiques in town also have their own spin on Tallahassee merchandise for sale. 

Even this general guide to Tallahassee only touches on a little of what the city offers its visitors. If you have any questions or need suggestions for the weekend, you can always call (850-606-2305) or visit the Visitor Information Center & Gift Shop (106 E Jefferson Street).

By Abby Cloud

Don’t Miss Out on the Garnet & Gold Silent Auction!

Don’t Miss Out on the Garnet & Gold Silent Auction! Friday,  September 27, 2019

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Family Weekend is full of exciting events surrounding the Florida State University community and this year is no exception! To kick off the weekend, the annual Garnet & Gold Silent Auction will be taking place at the 1851 Dining Hall (2nd Floor) alongside Family Weekend Check-In on Friday, September 27th. 

The Garnet and Gold Silent Auction is just over a decade old and is the biggest fundraiser allowing FSU Family Connection to support FSU Family Fund. FSU Family Fund provides services and support for students on-campus through free flu shots to more than 2,500 students through University Health Services, Stress Buster Days around midterms and finals through the University Counseling Center, and Move-In and Graduation Assistance for the Unconquered Scholars program- just to name a few things provided by Family Fund. Because tuition does not cover the items stated above, FSU Family Fund works to provide these important student needs. By attending and participating in the auction, the goal this year is to raise enough funds for book scholarships, the Food for Thought Food Pantry in the Dean of Students Department, and a Thanksgiving meal for CARE students.

As an attendee of the auction, you get the chance to place bids on a variety of goodies put together by the auction’s host, the Family Connection Council as well as several other university and local supporters. This year, students and families can expect a plethora of FSU memorabilia, practical residence hall  items, collectible items, gift baskets, gift cards, and concert/sports tickets! Some of the sponsors for this year’s auction are Barefoot Campus Outfitters, Books-A-Million, Madison Social, RedEye Coffee, the FSU Bookstore, and many more businesses. Thanks to these donors and sponsors, the Garnet and Gold Silent Auction is looking forward to benefiting the FSU Family Fund and providing families with fun gift baskets!

Mark you calendars so that you have a chance to bid on some awesome merchandise. If you cannot attend the auction, consider making a donation to the Family Fund here. Want to know exactly what will be available for bidding?–make sure you are signed up to receive the Family Connection newsletter that will feature details on baskets & bidding. Hope to see you Friday!

By Abby Cloud

Looking Forward to Family Weekend at FSU!

Looking Forward to Family Weekend at FSU

By: Virginia Gesler, Dave Bachansingh (FSU Family Connection Council Members)

It’s just around the corner…Family Weekend! Family Weekend can be fun for the whole family. Brothers and sisters are welcomed as well as grandparents, aunts and uncles- whomever you define as family. For many first-year parents, this may be your first time seeing your student since dropping them off in August. You are filled with anticipation for this amazing reunion, and while they may not show it, your student is more excited to see you than you know. 19_0068(003).JPG

For parents and families making the trip to Tallahassee next week, safe travels! Whether you are staying in a hotel or with your student, we hope that your time visiting your student is exceptional!

There are a lot of activities taking place during Family Weekend and you will have plenty to choose from. Most families prefer arriving in Tallahassee early on Friday to get a jump start on activities and quality family time.

By arriving early on Friday, you can check out the Silent Auction presented by the FSU Family Connection at 1851 in Azalea Hall. There is always a great selection and an array of gift baskets and prizes, ranging from FSU memorabilia, campus experiences, and other Seminole goodies. The funds raised through this auction will go towards the FSU Family Fund, so it is all for a good cause.NSFP-Silent Auction-Sharepost.png

As one of only two collegiate circuses in the nation, the FSU Flying High Circus puts on an amazing show for students and families. Aerialists, gymnasts, clowns and jugglers all make for a family-friendly activity that will have you smiling from ear to ear. There are only two opportunities to see them while in town, so if you have tickets–we promise the show will not disappoint! 

Many of the extracurricular organizations have something to commemorate Family Weekend, so based on your child’s involvement you may have additional activities to attend. There will be many opportunities for families to meet your student’s new friends and to see how they spend their time on campus when they are not in class. Many of these organizations will welcome all families and parents with open arms–some instructors will even invite you to class! This is a great way to experience academic life on campus! 

There is also a Faculty Reading & Book signing featuring Assistant Professor, Aaron C. Thomas. Or visit the Leach and pick up a complimentary guest pass & join your student in a workout! Passes are available between Friday September 27 at 12PM -Sunday September 29 at 5PM. 2019 OFR - BookReadingSigningEvent_Flyer 8x11.jpg

A great way to wrap up the day is at the Friday Night Block Party in Collegetown from 5pm-10pm. It is the official start to FSU’s football festivities with a super fun street party with live music, and street vendors There are plenty of restaurants in the area to dine with as well. On Friday night, the University is also hosting a BBQ Dinner featuring delicious food items. 

If you are the athletic type or just someone who wants to start their Saturday with a great walk around campus, you can sign up for the Campus Recreation Family Weekend 5K Run/Walk. It’s open to family members of all ages. And, if you’re looking for a meal after the 5K? You can plan to attend the Saturday Tailgate Brunch at 1851. 

On Saturday, you’ll also want to take time to get prepared for Florida State’s home game. School spirit is at its finest and your students show that they are true Seminoles. There are so many traditions to be a part of during the day. The kickoff time is 7:30PM giving you plenty of time to fit in a trip to the Sod Cemetery or watch the Marching Chiefs “skull session” at Dick Howser Stadium, approximately two and a half hours before kickoff. Don’t forget to be at your seat in time to see Chief Osceola and Renegade plan the spear in the middle of the field, signaling the start of the game. From here, your only responsibility is to cheer our team on to victory. Hopefully, you have practiced your “chop”. Be loud and proud! 19_0068(035).JPG

While some will insist you don’t have to come: they like having you there. I have seen the excitement and pride as students show off the new place and just enjoy your company at a nice meal you are paying for. Just enjoy your time with your student. Take this time to tell your students how much you loved being with them and that you are proud of how they are doing. As you hit the road, reflect back on the amazing job you have done with raising your Seminole and how you built lasting memories in the past 48 hours. 

If you’re looking for more information about Family Weekend,, you can visit the Family Weekend website here

Edited by: Abby Cloud

So Your New ‘Nole is a Marching Chief…

What do you do now?!?

Meet Mike Woelfle–Mike serves as a member of the Family Connection Council and is dad to Jensen, a 2019-2020 World Renowned Marching Chief.

I know the joy of having a daughter who is a member of the World-Renowned Marching Chiefs. Check out her video on preparing the Marching Chiefs auditions — https://youtu.be/-io9A-HWTh8. As you can see, they have been through a lot to get to this point. We are so glad to have them as part of the Chiefs family!

First Things First — a bit of background. The “Marching Chiefs” are the official Marching Band of Florida State University. They got their name way back in 1949, shortly after the University became co-educational in 1947 and added football. In 1953, the band saw the arrival of a new director, Dr. Manley Whitcomb, and arranger, Charles Carter, who changed the band in ways that persist to this day. Dr. Whitcomb brought with him the style of marching now known as the “Chief Step”, while Mr. Carter’s arrangements defined the band’s distinctive musical style. Mr. Carter also arranged “The Hymn to the Garnet and the Gold” for the band, which we’ll talk more about later. The Color Guard Auxiliary was added to the band in 1970 and in 1974 the Chiefs gained the title of being “World-Renowned” thanks to an international performance in Syria. In 2009, the Chiefs continued to set records for collegiate band size when they hit an amazing total of 460 members! Their longstanding slogan is that “Florida State occasionally may lose a football game, but never a halftime show”. Whether the game is won or lost, the Chiefs ALWAYS show up and do their job!

Whether you’re mom, dad, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, or grandparent—welcome to the club!

Marching Chief auditions are truly overwhelming and stressful. While there may have been little you were able do to help your student as they actually tried-out, know that you helped prepare them to do their best by doing everything possible to ensure that move-in went smoothly and that they are well-stocked with food and supplies for the week. You’ve endured camp and have probably had less contact with your ‘Nole, but they know you were there for them if they need you. Even if they don’t say it, your support and understanding gave them confidence in their ability!

If your ‘Nole found their name on that Block List, you might be wondering… “How do I become a #1 Chiefs’ Fan?”

Being aware of the following traditions is a great way to start:

  • Campus Crawl – takes place before the first home football game of the year, when the Chiefs walk around campus and play school songs as loud as humanly possible by the residence halls. As they do so, they are followed by friends, family, and other supporters. What results can only be described as truly inspirational (and a little WILD)!
  • Block Party – the Friday night before a football game, the Chiefs assemble a pep band and visit Collegetown to play various stand tunes. A crowd forms in the street between the restaurants and the fun ensues!
  • Continuity – Marching Chiefs rehearse the morning of each game at the Chiefs practice field as spectators watch.
  • Skull Session – The band assembles in the outfield of the baseball stadium and each section individually plays a prepared piece, followed by a full band sneak peek of songs from the halftime show of that week. The name originates from the fact that this is the band’s opportunity to get the music into their skulls. J Supporters sit in the stands and cheer them on as they do so!
  • March Over – Chiefs march in a parade block from skull session into the stadium while supporters line the street beside them.
  • Legacy Walk – Chiefs, pep band, and cheerleaders greet the football team by the Legacy fountain as they enter the stadium before the game.
  • Hymn to the Garnet and Gold Marching Chiefs remove baseball caps in the stands after the game and do an instrumental/vocal performance of the Hymn to the Garnet and Gold.
  • Prism Concert A variety show in the Ruby Diamond Concert Hall that includes musical performances by all concert bands, various ensembles (quartets, etc.), sections, and a full band performance by the Chiefs. Get your tickets early, they sell out quick!
  • MCATDT Stands for “Marching Chiefs All The Damn Time”. ‘Nuff said!

The Chiefs and Kappa Kappa Psi, a national music fraternity, also hold the Marching Chiefs 5k (http://www.marchingchiefs5k.com/) as a fundraiser in October of each year. This year’s race will take place on October 27th. All Chiefs participate in some capacity and many run in the race. Last year, Dr. Plack, the Director of Athletic Bands, actually ran the race carrying a musical instrument. Whether you run or just show up to support those who are, race day is a great day for the Chiefs.

Throughout the year, you can also follow the World-Renowned Marching Chiefs on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/fsumarchingchiefs/, Twitter at @fsuchiefs, and Instagram at fsuchiefs. The band’s website is http://fsuchiefs.com/.

To close, the Marching Chiefs are not just a band, they are literally a way of life. Your new Marching Chief will make friendships and memories and develop skills that will last a lifetime. They’ll learn about themselves and become closer to their University than they ever thought they could be.

Go ‘Noles and MCATDT!!