if we are fortunate, we'll be looking to attend commencement ceremonies in May 2013. While I realize this is a long ways off, I also understand that making hotel reservations early is a must. So I was hoping that some of you who have been part of the festivities in years past, or this year, can share the timeline a bit. Should we plan to get there a day or two early for individual degree ceremonies prior to the overall one? thanks much.
Many parents like to come on Friday and go to a semi-formal, outdoor event called Campus Dance. Sometimes parents buy a table at the dance, which they often share with parents of their kids' friends. That starts at 9 pm.
Saturday afternoon is Baccalaureate, when students don their caps and gowns and listen to a speaker and watch other performances. Parents can't be in the same church as the students (no room), but the event is simulcast on huge TV screens on the Main Green. It's sort of a dry run for the next day.
Sunday is graduation and the departmental ceremonies. When you are done depends on the size of your child's department.
We stayed until Monday, and that's the day we moved our daughter out of her apartment.
BOOK EVERYTHING AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE. That includes not only travel and hotel but also dinner reservations. Don't forget that this is not only commencement but reunion. Thousands and thousands of people are coming that weekend.
Something to keep in mind, while hotels that are outside of Providence (e.g. Pawtucket, Seekonk) will be cheaper, finding parking will be incredibly difficult so it might be worth trying to stay close enough to the campus to walk or at least get a taxi.
Definitely agree with making all reservations early. We always stayed in the local Motel 6 (college bills took their toll!!) and we made the reservation a year in advance. The great thing about Motel 6 was that we could cancel any time before 6:00, even during graduation week, and we weren't charged until we checked in. So I booked for a whole week because of grad weekend and moving out, but I was able to cancel a few of those days when the actual time came. Both Motel 6 are about 10 or so minutes away by car. Of course if you're flying or train-ing it in, that would be difficult.
Almost the cheapest place to stay is the college itself. (as far as I know I'm pretty sure they still offer housing to parents, as well as the reunion classes. There were quite a number of parents staying in dorms when I was there for a reunion 4 years ago.) It may seem outrageous to pay $130 per night for 2 (sometimes awful) twin beds, bedding and shared bath down the hall in a dorm, but the local hotels jack up the prices so much that I've found it to be cheaper. (ie everything is outrageous then.) And you are right on campus. No parking hassles (they allow you to park in the campus lot when you get there, then basically don't move unless you have to). And you get a taste of your student's college life! If you can make a back up reservation that is cancellable somewhere else, then you have until Brown takes the reservations (in about March?) to decide. PS most hotels will not allow reservations until <1 year, and watch for fine print that allows rate changes for "special events, etc" because you will easily pay $150 plus a night for bare bones hotel. (and you have a lot less risk of bedbugs at Brown!)
It seems that the rate for staying on campus is per bed with a two night minimum stay. There are also fees and other charges depending on if you want a private bathroom, etc. My money would still be with Motel 6! Yes, it's more expensive that weekend than other times of the year, but it's cheaper than anything else around, provided you have a car with you. Actually, I think that we could make a reservation 364 days before the actual date we needed it. Good luck, though!
Rate for this year for graduation/reunion at Brown is $65 per bed. (so double is 130.) There is a 2 night minimum. When we wanted to add an extra day later, that was not a problem. You can get the apartments, private bath etc, but those are extra costs, less available, and prob not worth it. We noted in the past that they often put parents in the same dorm as their student, if the student lived on campus, but not a guaranteed thing.
Well, I wasn't going to mention the dorms, but since BrownAlumParent did ... I always stay in the dorms (when I come back for reunions). Of course, I know what to expect and don't mind roughing it. The beds aren't very comfortable, the furniture is spartan, and the bathroom is down the hall. And you always risk being near partying students. Frankly, I think the rate has risen to absurdity, because I think you can find hotel rooms for less money.
But I love staying on campus. I never have to worry about parking, I can walk to everything. I had no problems being on the Green super early on graduation day to snare a great seat, because I was a 5-minute walk away. But I went to Brown, so staying in the dorms is a nostalgic act for me, and I'm not sure how most parents would feel about them.
Our family stayed in the Dorms for $50pp in '09 so $65 seems reasonable. One of us got a single. Almost everyone was family so no partying in dorm. I stayed off campus with daughter.
After graduation, we left right away to go to Newport where we had booked a rental for a few days and took 'the boyfriend' along. The rental apartment had a good kitchen and lobster boiling pots and hammers and crackers, so one night we went to the local seafood market and bought live ones to pig out on for our big celebratory meal. This was a great idea and we had a week or so to walk on the beach, eat clams, and such. It was cost effective for 6 ppl I think.
Federal Hill does have nice Italian restaurants. You can probably check yelp for recommendations. The departmental ceremony I attended this year ended closer to 4 (lots of graduates), so I'd make your plans for dinner.