Interacting with students, parents and University officials at one of West Virginia University annual Summer Send-Off events gave Vicki Gersting the reassurance that her son would be OK in Morgantown.

“It was nice to talk with upperclassmen who came to the picnic to get an accurate view of campus life,” said Gersting, of Wheeling. Gersting’s son recently completed his junior year at WVU.

Every summer Mountaineer Parents Club chapters all over the U.S. hold Summer Send-Off picnics for local parents and students. Representatives from the University are available at each event to answer questions, provide information and share tips for new students.

The events provide an opportunity for families to get to know other Mountaineers in the area, and they help to create a network of support at home.

“The Send-Offs are so important, especially to first-year students and parents. I can always see a little nervousness in their faces when they arrive, but once the evening is over everyone is proud to be a Mountaineer,” said Joyce Kees, who serves as the Berkeley-Morgan County Parents Club chair. Kees’ daughter is a junior at WVU.

Valuable information on academics and transportation, among other things is often exchanged at the events.

Prizes are also given away. This year they include a $200 textbook scholarship card to the WVU Bookstore and each student and parent receives a special WVU gift.

The first Summer Send-Off currently scheduled will be held on June 26 in Rhode Island. Events are currently scheduled across the U.S. in Delaware, Virginia, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, among others.

A schedule of events can be downloaded at . The schedule will be updated as events are planned.

Fall Family Weekend, another popular Parents Club event, will be held on the WVU campus Oct. 1-3. For more information and to view the 2010 Fall Family Weekend schedule, visit .

The Mountaineer Parents Club, which was started in 1995, has more than 20,000 members 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 including “Parents Perks” discounts 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 an informative website.

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



CONTACT: Sabrina Cave, Mountaineer Parents Club

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