Parent Events & Activities

Events throughout the year

Icon: Things to see and do in Madison

Throughout the year, many campus and community events welcome Badger families. Each event offers a unique opportunity to become engaged with the UW–Madison and with your student’s college experience. We invite you to connect with campus through one of more of these events.


Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR)

Attending Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) is the first step for new students and parents. SOAR takes place the summer before the student’s first year at the UW–Madison.

SOAR will give you and your student a closer look at what life is like for a UW–Madison student. As you visit campus and learn more about the community, you’ll feel like you’re already a part of a great campus and a city that is routinely considered one of the most livable in the country.

There is a separate concurrent SOAR program for parents/guests. We encourage up to two parents or adult guests to attend the SOAR Parent/Guest Program. You will be better able to support your student through his or her college transition by learning about the university and resources that are available to you and your student.

Student Send-Off Celebrations

Each summer alumni chapters across the country hold student send-offs, bringing together incoming students, their parents, and local alumni.

For incoming students, it’s a day to make new friends, get the inside scoop on beloved Badger traditions, and meet their “fan club” of alumni who reside in their home town.

For parents, it’s a day to learn about UW–Madison from local alumni, as well as discuss issues and share concerns with other parents.

For local alumni who work to raise funds for their local scholarship fund, it’s a day to meet and congratulate the students they’re helping to support.

For more information, contact the alumni chapter nearest you.


Photo of a UW–Madison student at a Badger Football game with her parents.Family Weekend and Parents Day at the UW Football Game

Based upon feedback we have received from parents over the last several years regarding Parents’ Weekend, we are changing the format of our fall event offerings. Beginning in fall 2015, we will offer two fall event opportunities. Parents Day at the UW Football Game will occur on September 26, 2015 and Fall Family Weekend will occur October 9–11. Registration for both events will open in late June. More details will be posted as soon as they become available.

Winter Family Event

The Winter Family Event provides parents with discounted tickets to a hockey game and a behind the scenes tour of Camp Randall Stadium. There is no registration fee – just bring the whole family and your Badger gear! The date for this event will occur in January and the exact date will be announced late in 2015.


Icon: Badger Family Spring VisitBadger Family Spring Visit

Badger Family Spring Visit is an event where family, and guests are encouraged to visit their student anytime during the month of April. Simply choose a weekend in April that works for you and take advantage of free or low-cost, family-friendly events and attractions while enjoying the beauty of springtime in Madison.

Just by registering, you’ll receive a complimentary welcome bag filled with Wisconsin giveaway items, discounts for area shopping, dining and attractions, and much more.


Beyond staying connected to information pertaining to your student’s experience and development, there are many ways for parents and families to become more involved at UW–Madison. We have highlighted some important resources and services that showcase why UW–Madison is a world-renowned living and learning community and demonstrate why it is a popular education and visitor destination.

Wisconsin Alumni Association

Wisconsin Alumni Association (WAA) links alumni, parents, and friends with UW–Madison. WAA offers scholarship information, online career services, lifelong learning opportunities, and worldwide travel.

University of Wisconsin Foundation

The University of Wisconsin Foundation is the official fundraising and gift-receiving organization to support the University of Wisconsin–Madison. To find out more about giving to the UW Foundation, visit their website, call 608-263-4545, or e-mail

Wisconsin Union

The Wisconsin Union is the social, cultural, and recreational center of campus. The Memorial Union, on the shore of Lake Mendota, and Union South, near Camp Randall, serve as gathering spots for students, faculty, staff, community members, and visitors. Find out more information on becoming a member and opportunities available to parents and families—including theater events, films, music, mini-courses, and outdoor recreation programs. Phone: 608-265-3000.

Continuing Education Opportunities

The University of Wisconsin Division of Continuing Studies connects alumni, parents, and friends to the UW through a wide variety of enrichment opportunities, special events, and courses.

Staying connected

Image of the cover of the "Staying Connected" newsletter.

Each year we publish a Staying Connected newsletter, sent to parents of graduating students, which addresses the many ways that parents and families can stay engaged, informed, and connected to UW–Madison and to the vibrant Madison community. Parents are invited to remain part of the Parent Program for as long as they would like.
« Download the Staying Connected newsletter (PDF)