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.


Family Weekend – October 21-23, 2016

Photo of a Badger family at Union South Parents' Weekend football tailgate party.

From grandparents to siblings, Family Weekend gives the whole family a chance to see UW-Madison through the eyes of your student. The weekend will feature a wide variety of programming options, including: open houses, behind-the-scenes tours, a family photo shoot with Bucky, a football game watch party (away game: Badgers vs.Iowa), talks with professors, a showcase of campus programs, learning sessions, hands on science activities, theater and music performances, cooking classes, and more. More information about Family Weekend, hotel discounts and registration will be available in early spring.

Parents’ Day at the UW Football Game

A family celebrates Parents' Weekend.

If attending a Badger football game is on your Badger bucket list, this experience is for your family! This event will offer you access to purchase football tickets (first come, first served). We will arrange hotel blocks and showcase a list of campus and community events and destinations. Please note that there will be no registration fee or additional programming for parents during the weekend.

Over 700 families enjoyed Parents’ Day at the UW Football Game on September 26, 2015! Check back in January for the 2016 date.

Winter Family Event

Join the Parent Program for an exclusive day on campus Saturday, January 9, 2016. In collaboration with Wisconsin Athletics, the Parent Program is offering a discoun{framenamebase}ted ticket price of $13 (regularly $24) for the Wisconsin Men’s Hockey team as they take on Ohio State at 7 p.m. These specially priced tickets are available online using our special link only.

Additionally, prior to the game, stop by Camp Randall Stadium for snacks, warm refreshments, and a chance to explore places normally unseen on game days, such as the trophy room, locker room, and the sky boxes. Since this event is not open to the public, if you plan to attend, please RSVP by Wednesday, January 6th. Parking and tour access details will be emailed to you when you complete your reservation.

If you need overnight accommodations this weekend, contact the Lowell Center located right on campus for a SPECIAL PARENT RATE of $79 which includes parking, breakfast and internet. Call 866-301-1753 and mention the promo code: HOCKEY, or register online.


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)