Author Topic: Should these events be adults only?  (Read 4988 times)

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TeamBhakta

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Re: Should these events be adults only?
« Reply #30 on: June 25, 2014, 02:19:13 AM »
May I make one suggestion. If you have grad students with children, but no close family/friends, it might  be helpful if you can create a list of trained babysitters.

One summer in grad school DS2 and I went to live on campus 125 miles from home. DS2 attended the YMCA day camp, so classes were covered.  Evenings were a problem as I knew no one outside of grad school.  DS2 could have been sleeping peacefully. I could have had a chat and drink with other students if I had had a sitter.

I dunno, I think that would be asking too much of the OP. It isn't her responsibility to do extensive foot work the parents should be seeing to personally

LadyL

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Re: Should these events be adults only?
« Reply #31 on: June 25, 2014, 08:58:34 AM »
Hi everyone. Lots of great feedback and food for thought. To clarify a few things:

The trips are not free, students and their guests both have to pay a copay. The copay is mainly to make sure people don't sign up and then not show, so it's nominal ($10-25). We are in a position where our budget actually exceeds our planning resources/abilities - the only way we can spend enough money to justify our  budget (and get the same amount of money next year) is to have several big trips a year planned by committee. It's an odd situation owing to the fact that our grad school is large but the # of grad students with time to devote to student government is small (there are maybe 20 of us). So no grad student is losing out on resources because we allow guest tickets; if anything the guest tickets help make the big events successful which right now is more important for preserving the budget structure.

The vast majority of our events are at lunch time or happy hour/dinner. We have good attendance at these and no one has ever brought children. Our big trips are usually on a weekend and that is where the kids issue comes in, but again, to my knowledge there are 2 grad students max who have asked for accommodations for their children (out of at least 100 total who have attended on average). I can float the idea of a family day meant to encourage students with kids to meet each other, but my sense is that it would be catering to a small demographic. Most of our grad programs are Ph.D. and it's typical for students to remain single and/or childless while in grad school as it's hard to balance a social and academic life, especially in some of the more high pressure programs where you work upwards of 80 hours a week.

bopper

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Re: Should these events be adults only?
« Reply #32 on: June 25, 2014, 09:19:22 AM »
Hmm... I was involved (though not as deeply as the OP is!) in my graduate school's equivalent of the grad student activity committee, and I can tell you that one of the stipulations in the charter was that student fees were to be used only on students.  So if we organized a wine tasting trip, the expenses for the grad students were covered, but all non-student attendees (spouses, SOs, etc) had to pay their own way.  That eliminated all of the "asking for extra tickets" stuff... because there were no extra tickets.

Yes, I was wondering about this. I don't think any of the organisations I've been involved with have provided a free ticket for non members. I wouldn't be very happy if my fees or fundraising money was going towards random non members. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the +1s were only attending because it was free, whether they were particularly interested in the event or not. That money could be better spent on resources for the actual members.

On the other had, if you have many after hours events that are only for the members, you may not get as many people going since they may not want to spend their leisure time without their SO.

jmarvellous

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Re: Should these events be adults only?
« Reply #33 on: June 25, 2014, 09:45:10 AM »
My grad program definitely does not cater to students with families. I think it's fine, and it's not something I've heard any discontent about.
We have a LOT of events, but I can only think of 2 that might've been family-friendly at all. There is a push, purely among students, to have more "alcohol-free" events going forward. I think that's nice, but it's mainly because our events are so very alcohol centric, not because we want to bring kids.
Our events (not counting anything during the school day, which wouldn't require a ticket but would basically be drop-in for interested students only):
  • Weekly bar nights, sometimes with 'drink tickets' available for a free drink, including special weeks like a Halloween party
  • Nighttime cocktail cruise, $20 pp, including 2 drink tickets, dates welcome
  • Weekend ski trip (I didn't attend, but it sounds like it was 80/20 drinking/skiing), very expensive, first-come-first-served partners allowed
  • Alcohol-free apple-picking day, free (no kids went, but they probably could)
  • Moderately priced casino trip, drinks and buffet included
  • Annual formal dance, $20 pp, dates welcome, 2 drink tickets included
  • Film screening, buy your own tickets (I think it was R/PG-13 this year)

I guess I'd mostly find it odd if anyone wanted to bring their kids to any of this, but I would fully expect the student government, if asked, to say kids were in fact not welcome. It shouldn't surprise any parent.

Our 'mature' students group would ordinarily fill this gap for married/parent/nontraditional students, but they weren't particularly active this year. Perhaps you could create a mature/parent-student committee within your student group that can take charge of 1 family-friendly casual event per year?

lowspark

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Re: Should these events be adults only?
« Reply #34 on: June 25, 2014, 10:13:01 AM »
So it looks like it's about 2 out of 100, or 2% of the customer base, so to speak. To me, that is not enough to justify planning specific family-friendly events. Inevitably, if you plan family friendly events specifically to attract or accommodate these few, those will be the very events they cannot attend for whatever reason.

In this case, I think that the best policy is to have all events adults only unless otherwise specified. And you can specify those events as they happen if they happen to lend themselves to that dynamic.

So for example, you plan the alcohol-free apple-picking day (from jmarvellous's post) and you announce, children are welcome. You plan the bike tour with dinner afterwards (from the OP) and you announce, children are welcome on the bike tour only, dinner is adults only.

And when someone asks to bring a child to an event which you have not designated as "children welcome" you just state your policy. "I'm sorry but all our events are adults-only unless otherwise noted. This event is adults only."

Having children entails sacrifice. Sometimes you have to pay the cost of a babysitter. Sometimes you miss out on stuff. That's the way it goes. And that's true for everyone, not just grad students.  :)


mime

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Re: Should these events be adults only?
« Reply #35 on: June 25, 2014, 11:31:14 AM »
I agree very much with this statement:
That being said, even if a graduate student is entitled enough to think that it's ok to bring a young child to a bar where people are drinking and behaving inappropriately, then that student is also communicating that they don't have a lot of common sense.  And in a business/networking atmosphere, I would notice and it would reflect on how I trusted them professionally in the future. 

I'm a bit surprised that a +1 is even included in a networking event.
I attend professional seminars to maintain my credentials and stay on top of new developments in my field. They often involve a 3-4 day trip somewhere. These seminars typically include breakfast, lunch, several classes during the day, cocktails and vendor hospitality suites in the evening, and some tourist activities on the weekend. Here's how they are attended:
  • The classes are attended only by the professionals in the field. A +1 wouldn't be allowed.
  • For a fee we can include others for the meals. I have seen spouses there; but they often have trouble socializing, as does the spouse who invited them because now they have an 'outsider' to include in conversations. I have never seen children attend the meals. I'm sure nobody wants to project such an unprofessional image.
  • The cocktail hour and hospitality suites are for networking. No +1 attends, but they are not prevented (no tickets, no monitoring who comes and goes...) It would absolutely reflect poorly on a professional to bring a spouse, let alone a child! The meeting materials don't point this out, but the nature of the event is understood to be primarily "professional networking", not "social time" or "family time".
  • The tourist activity is publicized as a family activity. Families go, and that is appropriate. It is a social event and not a professional one.


When I read the OP, the first thing that came to mind is that the grad students need to be educated on what, exactly, is meant by the terms "networking", "social event", and "family activity".

Also good to keep in mind for parents... organizers of events designed for education or networking should not have to figure out what to do with your kids:
Having children entails sacrifice. Sometimes you have to pay the cost of a babysitter. Sometimes you miss out on stuff. That's the way it goes. And that's true for everyone, not just grad students.  :)

jmarvellous

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Re: Should these events be adults only?
« Reply #36 on: June 25, 2014, 11:57:14 AM »
I will say that I bring my spouse to about 1 in 4 networking events, but only because we're both in the same field and both will be looking for work in a couple of years when our degrees are done. I find it awkward sometimes when people have partners outside our field who they bring to networking-focused events (but luckily, that's rare).

LadyL

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Re: Should these events be adults only?
« Reply #37 on: June 25, 2014, 12:16:48 PM »
I agree very much with this statement:
That being said, even if a graduate student is entitled enough to think that it's ok to bring a young child to a bar where people are drinking and behaving inappropriately, then that student is also communicating that they don't have a lot of common sense.  And in a business/networking atmosphere, I would notice and it would reflect on how I trusted them professionally in the future. 

I'm a bit surprised that a +1 is even included in a networking event.
I attend professional seminars to maintain my credentials and stay on top of new developments in my field. They often involve a 3-4 day trip somewhere. These seminars typically include breakfast, lunch, several classes during the day, cocktails and vendor hospitality suites in the evening, and some tourist activities on the weekend.

Our events are not as involved as a multi day conference; they are more like a lunch where there are scientific presentations, or awards for scholarly work given out. These are typically during the day and we don't allow +1s.  We really only do +1s for events that occur outside work hours Fri-Sun.

bah12

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Re: Should these events be adults only?
« Reply #38 on: June 25, 2014, 12:27:59 PM »
I will say that I bring my spouse to about 1 in 4 networking events, but only because we're both in the same field and both will be looking for work in a couple of years when our degrees are done. I find it awkward sometimes when people have partners outside our field who they bring to networking-focused events (but luckily, that's rare).

I do not bring my spouse to seminar's, conferences, classes, or business lunches.  However there are several dinners, wine tasting events, etc, that not only do I bring my spouse to, but when others don't bring their spouses, we always wonder why.  There are also picnics and other events where children are encouraged to attend.

On average, I attend about 33% of my DH's 'networking' events and he attends about 30-50% of mine.  I can also say that my most profitable business contact was made because of a conversation and a shared interst he had with my DH.   And in that conversation, we found out that his grandaughter and our DD are about the same age, which led to a playdate where I was able to close a pretty huge contract with him.  I would never underestimate the power of a family connection when it comes to business contacts.