Elaine Szujewski (Parent: CAS’12)
Feeling Close—from Chicago
As their children assimilate into college life, parents often struggle to strike a balance between “hovering” over their children and respecting their growing independence. Elaine Szujewski, mother of Peter (CAS’12) and a member of the Parents Leadership Council (PLC), knows this all too well.
While her son prepared to leave Chicago to attend BU, Szujewski sought a way to stay connected with him without being overly involved. At Peter’s orientation in summer 2008, Szujewski met Christy Loring, associate director of the Parents Program, who offered a way to stay connected through the PLC. Szujewski attended the PLC’s fall meeting during Parents Weekend 2008 and was impressed with how BU administrators “truly wanted to hear the parents’ thoughts and opinions,” she says, and she subsequently joined the council.
As a member of the PLC, Szujewski works with the Parents Program and BU administrators to offer a parent point of view on important decisions. She exemplifies a dedicated PLC member through her extensive fundraising and volunteer work, including hosting a Summer Send-Off event for Chicago-area freshmen and providing Alternative Spring Break (ASB) students with a homemade dinner for an evening.
Summer Send-Offs help students create a connection with BU before they even arrive on campus, Szujewski says. In addition, the events give her opportunities to interact with other parents, share her own BU experience, and help others prepare for the BU world. Hosting ASB dinners, she adds, allows her to hear perceptions of the University from many different students—perspectives she can consider when advising the Parents Program and University administrators on their endeavors.
While she gives her time and resources to the PLC, Szujewski says that, in return, she gains a sense of closeness with the BU community, a feeling she particularly appreciated last semester, when her son was studying abroad in Niger, Africa.
This story was originally published in Parent, our online magazine for BU Parents. Download the pdf here.