Before students return to Morgantown for the fall semester, the West Virginia University Mountaineer Parents Club is bringing friends, food and Mountaineer spirit to studentshometowns.

The Summer Send-Offsmore than 40 held annuallyare happening across the United States. Each send-off event, hosted by the local parents club chapter, gives members the opportunity to network with other students, families and alumni from their area, learn more about WVU and discuss common concerns about University life.

Summer Send-Offs are a great way for students and families to meet others from their hometowns. Valuable information is often exchanged such as transportation, major information and more,said Sabrina Cave, executive director of the Mountaineer Parents Club.Every summer these events take place and WVU families anxiously await the schedule, as well as the speakers that attend.

Representatives from the University are available at each event to answer questions, provide information and share tips for new students. This years speakers include the student body president, Mountaineer mascot, faculty, staff and various outstanding students.

Currently, send-off events are planned in Rhode Island, Delaware, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Illinois, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio and various counties in West Virginia.

Prizes are given away at each send-off event; this year they include a $200 textbook scholarship card to the WVU Bookstore and a certificate to the womens soccer game that will be held during Fall Family Weekend.

Fall Family Weekend , another popular Parents Club event, will be held on the WVU campus on Oct. 2-4. For more information and to view the 2009 Fall Family Weekend schedule, visit .

The Mountaineer Parents Club, which was started in 1995, has more than 20,000members with 15 state chairs and one international chair. The organization has more than 70 local clubs that host guest speakers from WVU , visit area high schools and act as a support system for parents and students.

Club members receive benefits includingParents Perksdiscounts from Morgantown merchants; a newsletter published three times a year; Parent Electronic News bulletins with timely information about campus happenings; a toll-free helpline (1-800-WVU-0096); and access to an informative Web site.

The Parents Club coordinates many other services for parents and students, including bus service to students going home for holiday breaks and parking passes for families moving their students in and out of Morgantown.

WVU families may join the club by calling 304-293-2506 or registering online at . For more information about Summer Send-off events, visit .