Facebook Page Allows Fordham Parents to Connect

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Fordham parents find a space on Faecbook to connect and communicate with one and other. (Courtesy of Unsplash)

Dylan Balsamo, Managing Editor

Even though their children are possibly thousands of miles away from them, the parents of Fordham University students are still able to be involved in their child’s education and collegiate life through social media.

“Parents of Fordham University Students” is a Facebook page dedicated to allowing Fordham parents to interact with each other in order to exchange information about their children’s experience at the university — academically, socially and habitually.

The page’s title additionally reads “PARENTS ONLY,” making it very clear that the page is intended only to be used by parents of Fordham students looking to retrieve information for their child or about the Fordham experience.

It is open to parents of students of all kinds at Fordham, whether they live at Rose Hill or Lincoln Center or commute to and from school.

The Facebook group was created in 2017 and currently has four administrators monitoring all posts and comments on the page: Bridie Murray, Michelle DeLong Lombana, Liz Varenne and Sandy Fuller Ubriaco. Murray and Varenne were added as group admins a few days before the beginning of the 2021-22 academic year.

The fact that Facebook, the social media and social networking giant owned by the newly-named Meta Platforms, is the chosen forum for communication between parents of current college students is not exactly surprising.

There are currently around 21.6 million Facebook users in the United States. While the website has reportedly lost about 15 million users worldwide since 2017 (likely due to legal scandals and the faltering public image of founder Mark Zuckerberg), it also reportedly still contains accounts from 81% of American adults. The website has proven itself useful for and accessible to adults in an age of ever-evolving media platforms and landscapes.

In order to be sure that only parents are able to permissibly post on the page, joining the closed Facebook group requires passing a protective screening. According to the “About” section on the page, upon submitting a request to join the group, potential members must answer three questions on their computer screen in order for their request to join to be approved.

Once parents have access to the page, they are connected with over 3,000 other accounts that can make new posts to the page or comment on someone else’s. This forum for parents to have their questions about Fordham answered or even express concern over something happening at the university stays rather active, often having about five to 10 posts per day.

These questions, concerns and comments can encompass just about anything regarding academic and campus life at Fordham University, ranging from off-campus living spaces, to transportation to and from airports, to issues such as the recent fiasco regarding mold in O’Hare Hall on the Rose Hill campus.

The tone of posts on the page can also range from enthusiasm and encouragement to annoyance and anger.

Common topics of discussion that bring about feelings of annoyance among parents include living spaces and dining options and services on Fordham’s campuses, particularly on the Rose Hill campus. One post by a parent from Nov. 5 described the Rose Hill food as “awful, even inedible at times.”

Another parent said this past Saturday that they were “utterly disgusted” when hearing that her daughter was apparently experiencing a “problem with cockroaches” while living in Walsh Hall.

The page also saw heated debate between parents last spring regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and the university’s decision to make it mandatory to return to campus in the fall 2021 semester.

It was enough to cause Ubriaco to post a general announcement about the group in May, calling for parents to “support each other” no matter their stance on the vaccine.
Regardless of these occasional tensions present on the page, it still maintains the goal of having a “positive, informative place for parents to ask questions and share advice.” It is through the “Parents of Fordham University” that they are able to attempt this goal.