Today@Sam Article

The Dean Of Students Office Presents: Bearkat Family Weekend

Sept. 28, 2023
SHSU Media Contact: Mikah Boyd

2022FamilyWeekend09Every year, the Dean of Students Office at Sam Houston State University works with numerous departments and offices on campus to provide students and their families with many fun events on Bearkat Family Weekend. This year, the weekend is starting early with SHSU facing off against Jacksonville State University in their first home football game of the season.

While some events require pre-registration, there are loads of fun things to do while visiting campus this weekend. Check out the schedule of events below and be sure to double-check for pre-registration notices before adding them to your planner.

Thursday, Sept. 28

Bearkat Family Weekend Check-in

9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Lowman Student Center, 2nd Floor Atrium Lounge

Registered guests come by to retrieve your purchased items, which may include a t-shirt and wristband, breakfast ticket and lunch ticket. Check-in starts Monday, Sept. 25, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. in this same location. The SHSU student referenced on your registration may pick up your items.

Financial GAP Analysis

5 – 6 p.m.

Garret Teacher Education Center, room 279

This workshop will dive deep into what the "GAP" is for finances. Presented by the Student Money Management Center, ELEVATE, TRIO and the First-Generation Center. 

Bearkat Alley Tailgate

5 – 7 p.m.

Zone 2, Lot 12 Coliseum Parking Lot

Bearkat Alley is the official tailgate area during football season! The Department of Student Activities hosts a variety of organizations and departments that tailgate together near Bowers Stadium. Enjoy a variety of food, giveaways (like t-shirts & rally towels) and Bearkat Spirit! Bearkat Alley entrance is FREE with your downloaded student football game ticket. We hope to see you there! Eat ‘Em Up KATS!

Bearkat Football vs. Jacksonville State

FamilyWeekendPepRally137 p.m.

Bowers Stadium

*Ticketed Event*

Make sure to wear your favorite orange shirt to our first televised Conference USA home football game! Don't have a favorite orange shirt yet? Make a quick pit-stop to the University Bookstore located on the second floor of the Lowman Student Center (LSC) ahead of kickoff. Please read and familiarize yourself with Bowers Stadium's New Clear Bag Policy.

Purchase tickets at, and use code FOOTBALL.

Students are free with downloaded tickets (download information video linked here)

Friday, Sept. 29

Bearkat Family Weekend Breakfast hosted by the Office of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving

8 – 10 a.m. Come and Go

Lowman Student Center Orange Ballroom

*Ticketed Event - Presale Ticket Required*

SHSU Alumni Association hosts a fun kick-off to the Friday activities! Come enjoy a delicious breakfast and learn about exciting opportunities their office supports: including eligibility for the coveted 2023 SHSU Tuition Draw (24 hours of in-state tuition), as well as engagement opportunities for your current student through the Student Alumni Association (SAA). A Bearkat Spirit gear giveaway ($50) will be drawn every 15 minutes during breakfast! 

Welcome Breakfast menu:
• Silver dollar pancakes with butter & syrup
• Breakfast potatoes
• Bacon or sausage
• Fluffy scrambled eggs


  • Coffee
  • Water
  • Hot Tea
College Fair

8:30 – 10 a.m.

Lowman Student Center, room 241

Before or after you get your breakfast, stop by to meet and interact with representatives from your student's specific college! The event may include college deans, faculty, staff members and student organizations from all eight of SHSU’s colleges.

Photos Outside of Austin Hall and at Sammy's Huge Chair

8:30 – 10 a.m.

Austin Hall and Sammy’s Huge Chair

Stop by to have your family photo snapped and commemorate the weekend! Photos will be available for online gallery download by October 13. Austin Hall is located on the west side of campus, with old-world flair you’re sure to notice, and Sammy’s Huge Chair is just behind the Lowman Student Center on Avenue J.

LSC Kat Klub Games and Activities

9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Thurs. & Fri.; 10 a.m.  6 p.m. Sat.; 3  8 p.m. Sun. 

Lowman Student Center Kat Club, first floor

*Wristband Required*

The Kat Klub welcomes visitors to partake in some fun and games! Free play for billiards, table tennis, video games, tabletop games and bowling.  Games include Jenga, Dominos, cards, chess, checkers and Connect 4. Time may be limited to 30-minute increments when busy. Also features a coloring sheet station!

Escape Room in Newton Gresham Library

9 – 11 a.m.

Newton Gresham Library

A treasure has been hidden inside the library! Professor Purple, an eccentric librarian, wants to make sure this fancy surprise goes only to the most intelligent and devoted of seekers. Will it be you? Come to the library to seek your fortune! 

SHSU Campus Recreation Adventure Race

9 – 11 a.m.

Locations Across Campus

Complete an adventure together and explore the more inconspicuous spots on campus to solve clues and win prizes. Teams will solve riddles that will lead them to 14 different locations across campus. Each location features something interesting about the campus. This is a great way to see the campus and get a cool prize upon completion at the Campus Recreation Center, Suite 202. Please retrieve your prize by 4 p.m., on Friday, Sept. 29.  Adventure Race Linked Here!

Classroom Dives, hosted by First-Generation Center: Athletic Training Lab, ATTR 2300

10 – 10:30 a.m.

Lee Drain Building, room 108

Families can observe a live guest lecture to receive first-hand experience of the academic life of an SHSU student. Whether you are a first-generation family or you have not been to the college classroom in years, this brand-new programming is a unique opportunity to witness outstanding lectures from our enthusiastic faculty.

Dr. May Hernandez, assistant professor in athletic training, the Department of Kinesiology, College of Health Sciences and a first-generation student herself, introduces you to the profession of athletic training, including methods of care, treatment, and rehabilitation of athletic injuries. Laboratory experiences include athletic injury scenarios. Prize(s) provided to individual(s) who are most engaged during this live guest lecture!

Student Organization Fest

2022FamilyWeekend0610 – 11:30 a.m.

Frank Parker Plaza

Head out to beautiful Parker Plaza in the center of campus to see highlighted features of some of our 255 diverse student organizations. Your student may get to show off a group they're a member of or find a new group to get involved with. Enjoy jams from SuperJay the DJ while you browse.

Bearkat Family Weekend On-Campus Lunch

11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Come and Go

Old Main Market or General’s Market dining halls

*Ticketed Event - Presale Ticket Required*

Enjoy an on-campus lunch with your student where they eat!
Valid Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. at either Old Main Market or General's Market dining halls.
If you do not wish to use your ticket to dine at our buffet or multi-station style markets, you may choose to use your $10 lunch ticket as a voucher towards $10 worth of food items at any open retail food concept on campus. Retail food concepts on campus are as follows: Chick-Fil-A, Subway, Steak 'N Shake, Panda Express, Wild Blue Sushi, Pastabilities, Rising Roll, Brisket Burger and Taco Sabroso.

No cash back or credit will be given if the full value of the voucher is not redeemed. Anything costing over the $10 balance will be paid by the customer. Ticket/Voucher will only be available for redemption Friday, Sept. 29, 2023, 11 a.m.  2 p.m. The ticket/voucher will expire after this time. 

Bingo - hosted by the National Honor Society for First-Year Success 

12 – 2:30 p.m.

Lowman Student Center Orange Ballroom

*Wristband Required*

Join Alpha Lambda Delta (ALD) for some competitive bingo for a chance to win some amazing prizes!

Alpha Lambda Delta, also known as ALD, is a national honor society for first-year college students. To be invited for membership in the ALD chapter of Sam Houston State University, students must attain a GPA of 3.5 or higher during the fall semester, and it must be their first semester at a four-year institution.

Matinee Movies - Presented by Campus Activities Board "School of Rock"

12:45 – 2:45 p.m.

Lowman Student Center Theatre

A cool, indoor family activity complete with popcorn! School of Rock (PG-13) synopsis: Jack Black strikes all the right chords as a teacher who turns his private-school pupils into a classic rock band. Refreshing, screwball comedy never takes itself too seriously. Written by Mike White, who co-stars as Black's buddy.  

Classroom Dives hosted by First-Generation Center

1:30 – 3 p.m.

College of Humanities and Social Sciences, C-070

Families can observe live guest lectures to receive first-hand experience of the academic life of an SHSU student. Whether you are a first-generation family or you have not been to the college classroom in years, this brand-new programming is a unique opportunity to witness outstanding lectures from our enthusiastic faculty. There are three back-to-back guest lectures featuring professors from different studies. Families can attend just one or all the lectures for a chance to learn more about some of the classes their student attends. All lectures will take place in room C-070.

English Composition, ENGL 1301

1:30 – 2 p.m.

Kendall Gragert, associate director of the Elliott T. Bowers Honors College, and first-generation student, introduces you to rhetorical knowledge, including negotiating purpose, audience, context and conventions. Students practice their writing processes including drafting and revising for a variety of purposes in this lecture. Prize(s) will be provided to individual(s) who are most engaged during this live guest lecture

Introduction to Philosophy, PHIL 1301

2 – 2:30

Maria Botero, a professor in the Department of Psychology and Philosophy, will introduce you to the fields and issues of philosophy as discussed by both classical and modern philosophers. Prize(s) will be provided to individual(s) who are most engaged during this live guest lecture.

Introduction to Psychology, PSYC1301

2:30 – 3 p.m.

Jorge Varela, professor of psychology and chair of the Department of Psychology and Philosophy and first-generation student, introduces you to a broad survey of the field of psychology, covering such topics as learning, perception, personality, development and psychopathology. Prize(s) will be provided to individual(s) who are most engaged during this live guest lecture.

Super Smash Brothers Tournament hosted by the SHSU Bookstore

2 – 4 p.m.

Campus Bookstore, Lowman Student Center

The SHSU Bookstore is hosting a Super Smash Brothers Tournament in its lounge area on a Nintendo Switch. The first 32 students will be able to participate in a one-on-one battle-style tournament until they are at the top of the bracket. The winner takes home a new SHSU t-shirt. Players are welcome to bring their own controllers. 

Family Feud - hosted by SHSU Student Government Association

3 – 5 p.m.

Lowman Student Center White Ballroom

*Wristband Required* 

Bearkat Family Weekend registrants will get a chance to participate as a live audience in the TV-style game show, “Family Feud.” Families should come early to register for a chance to compete for prizes as they guess the results of audience survey questions. Must have a wristband to register.

Matinee Movies - Presented by Campus Activities Board "Wrath of Man"

3 – 5 p.m.

Lowman Student Center Theatre

A cool indoor, family activity, complete with popcorn! “Wrath of Man” (R) synopsis: This film's story starts when a mysterious man known only as H begins working for an armored truck company based in Los Angeles, where the main job is to haul, move, and transfer loads of dollar bills by the millions on a daily basis. Various characters contribute to the narrative as a secondary plot of revenge surfaces with a heist plot. 

Bearkat Family Weekend Block Party and Car Show

5 – 8 p.m.

Bowers Stadium Parking Lot (Parking Lot - P14)

FamilyWeekendPepRally10squareMake plans to attend one of the largest events of the weekend for an evening full of fun!

There will be live music featuring Houston's own, acoustic singer-songwriter J.B. Barnett. J.B.'s original music is a fusion of soulful melodies with catchy, witty and inspiring lyrics. He also plays a multitude of covers from various genres and is often compared to the likes of Jack Johnson, John Mayer and Jason Mraz. People can continue jamming during alternating sets with Sam Houston alumnus, SuperJay the DJ. 

Aramark will provide a full concession available for purchase with cash or card, including smoked on-site pulled pork or brisket sandwiches topped with onions, jalapenos and BBQ sauce; loaded mac-n-cheese bowls with your choice of pulled pork or brisket; chips & queso topped with smoked pulled pork or brisket; and Talent's BBQ sausage on a stick with a flour tortilla. Mac-n-cheese and chips & queso will also be available plain which would make a great side, snack or kid's item. Popsicles and Lemon Chills will be available to curb your sweet tooth and keep you cool. Drinks available for purchase will include sodas, beer, wine and seltzers, while water will be provided for free.

On top of the food, music and general fun, there will be a car show with interactive voting, featuring eye-catching vehicles from all eras. Trophies for the car show will be awarded at 7:30 p.m.

Participants are encouraged to bring a lawn chair to spread out and enjoy the evening after eating.

SHSU Volleyball vs. Florida International University

6:30 p.m.

Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum

Visit for tickets (may not be available until closer to the event).  You will not need to purchase a ticket for your SHSU student.  Johnson Coliseum enforces the same clear bag policy as Bowers Stadium, see the main Bearkat Family Weekend webpage for details.

College of Arts & Media - Department of Dance “Masters of Dance”

8 – 10 p.m.

James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center, Dance Theater

“Masters of Dance” showcases a collection of diverse dance works choreographed and produced by the graduate student organization Master of Dance.

Performances may contain haze and strobe lighting. 

Tickets are available on the Box Office website for $12 in advance and $15 the week of the event. Season passes for $99 include 10 events of choice per year. SHSU students, faculty, and staff may redeem one free ticket per event with a valid Sam ID. Student tickets will be available the week of the event. Restrictions may apply. Contact the Box Office for details. 

Tau Kappa Epsilon presents a Concert Benefitting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

9 p.m.

Shenanigans and Confetti’s Beach Club, 1548 11th Street, Huntsville, TX

Join SHSU's Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity as they present a benefit concert featuring Noah Hicks, with special guests Palmer Anthony and Graycie York. The concert is part of the Prison City Concert Series for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, with all proceeds going to the hospital. Tickets are $14.19 online and $15 at the door. Doors open at 8:00 p.m., music starts at 9:00 p.m..  

Saturday, Sept. 30

Life on the Houston Farm

9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Sam Houston Memorial Museum Complex

Come step back in time with the Sam Houston Memorial Museum & Republic of Texas Presidential Library to learn about our university's namesake. Walk the actual property once owned by Sam and Margaret Houston. Visit with costumed interpreters to learn about life on the Houston Farm and Texas in the 1850s. See the Houston family home, known as the Woodland Home, on its original site and the Bear Bend Cabin, reported to be Sam's hunting lodge; and the Houston Mercantile in the Roberts-Farris Cabin, representing the Maryville, Tennessee store of the early 1800s that Sam worked in when he was a young man. Then tour the Memorial Museum (free admission during this time) and view the permanent exhibits of the museum, including the largest collection of Houston artifacts and memorabilia anywhere.

Matinee Movies - Presented by Campus Activities Board "The Little Mermaid" (1989)

10 – 11:30 a.m.

Lowman Student Center Theatre

A cool, indoor family activity, complete with mini muffins! "The Little Mermaid" (G) synopsis: A young mermaid strikes a deal with a sea witch to become human in order to land the man of her dreams, even though her father has forbidden her to swim to the surface.  

Roller Rink hosted by the Lowman Student Center

10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Lowman Student Center White Ballroom

*Wristband Required*

Come get active, Bearkat families! The LSC White Ballroom will be transformed into a roller rink, complete with music and lights! Skates will be provided, including limited kid’s sizes. 

Honors College Parents Luncheon

12 – 1 p.m.

Lowman Student Center, Orange Ballroom

*Invitation Only*

The luncheon is a perfect opportunity for parents or supporters of current Honors students to meet the Honors faculty, deans and ambassadors who work with students in the Honors College.

SHSU Volleyball vs. Florida International University

1 p.m.

Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum

Visit for tickets (may not be available until closer to the event).  You will not need to purchase a ticket for your SHSU student.  Johnson Coliseum enforces the same clear bag policy as Bowers Stadium see the main Bearkat Family Weekend webpage for details.

College of Arts & Media - School of Music 'Chorale Fall Concert'

7:30 – 9:30 p.m.

James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center, Payne Concert Hall

The SHSU School of Music invites you to attend the SHSU Chorale Fall Concert. 

Tickets are available on the Box Office website for $12 in advance and $15 the week of the event. Season passes for $99 include 10 events of choice per year. SHSU students, faculty, and staff may redeem one free ticket per event with a valid Sam ID. Student tickets will be available the week of the event. Restrictions may apply. Contact the Box Office for details.  

Sunday, Oct. 1

SHSU Soccer vs. Louisiana Tech

1 p.m.

Joseph Pritchett Field, 1302 19th Street, Huntsville, TX

Visit for tickets (may not be available until closer to the event).

Off-Campus Activities  

Bearkat Course - Bearkat Family Weekend Special Play

Start times available from 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Fri. - Sun.

Bearkat Course - 457 IH 45 South, Huntsville TX

Parents play for the student rate on the three days of Bearkat Family Weekend! $35 for 18-holes with cart. Starting times can be made up to one week in advance by calling 936-294-GOLF. 

City of Huntsville Tourism - Visit Sam Houston Statue

9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Thurs. & Fri., 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sat., 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sun. 

Sam Houston Statue and Visitor Center, 7600 Highway 75 S, Huntsville, TX

A tribute to courage, the Sam Houston Statue was designed and constructed by artist and Huntsville native, David Adickes. He dedicated the statue to the City of Huntsville on October 22, 1994. It is the world's tallest statue of an American Hero at 67 feet tall on a 10-foot sunset granite base. Within the visitor center, you will find an assortment of visitor information including unique videos, brochures, maps and a friendly Texas ambassador to help plan your day. Also check out our souvenir gift shop full of Texas treasures, collectibles and memorabilia. The statue and visitor center will be open to the public on Saturday as well from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Visit Huntsville State Park

6 a.m. – 10 p.m. daily

565 Park Road 40 W, Huntsville, TX

Huntsville State Park will extend free entry ($7 value, per person) on Saturday and Sunday to Bearkat Family Weekend guests, with wristbands. Camping would require reservation and fee. For more information on park offerings and activities, visit their website

Orange You Glad You are a Bearkat

Saturday, Sept. 30

1 – 4 p.m.

Huntsville Downtown Square

The City of Huntsville's Main Street Program and the Downtown Business Alliance invite you to downtown Huntsville to enjoy great shopping and snacking. Participating businesses will offer orange treats. Come out and see our beautifully decorated Sam Houston window displays! 

Sammy Hour

Saturday, Sept. 30

2 – 5 p.m.

Various locations

Sponsored by the City of Huntsville Tourism

Check out some unique local watering holes, each listed location is offering special discounts to visitors with a Bearkat Family Weekend wristband.

  • Golden Oak Micro Cellar 
    1124 Jones Road, New Waverly TX 77358
    Tasting Room: 281-468-8486
    20% discount on tastings, 10% off t-shirts

  • Teysha Vineyard
    577 Dodge-Oakhurst Road
    Contact: 713-817-3448
    20% off wine tastings, glasses of wine and bottles

  • West Sandy Creek Winery
    1773 FM 1791, Richards, Texas 77873
    Winery: 936-436-9050
    20% discount on all items

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This page maintained by SHSU's Communications Office:

Director of Content Communications: Emily Binetti

Communications Manager: Mikah Boyd
Telephone: 936.294.1837

Communications Specialist: Campbell Atkins
Telephone: 936.294.2638

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