Campus expecting 1,500 family visitors
There are signs of fall all over the CU campus. The colors of the leaves have changed, most students have their first exams out of the way and family weekend is approaching fast.
Though the annual fall happenings will feature most of the same events that have occurred in the past, family weekend 2006 will also offer a couple new elements: the grand opening of the ATLAS (Alliance for Technology, Learning and Society) building and the launching of the fall convocation.
“What is a little different this year is the fact that the ATLAS grand opening is occurring on the Friday of family weekend so parents have the opportunity to visit ATLAS and see what that building has to offer,” said George Ballinger, director of parent relations at CU.
The grand opening of the ATLAS building will include tours of the building; art, music, theatre, and dance performances in the new two-story Black Box Theatre; live student-produced broadcasts from the performance studio; film screenings and presentations; distinguished speakers; student, faculty, and alumni panel discussions and interactive kiosks in the exhibition lobby.
The fall convocation will also take place Oct. 13.
“It is an opportunity to recognize outstanding junior faculty and outstanding freshmen and sophomore students,” Ballinger said. “This is the first time this has ever been done (and we have) the desire to do it year after year from here on out.”
Other highlights of the convocation include presentations by junior faculty members about their research and explanations why the studies are beneficial to CU, the local community, the state and even the world, according to Ballinger,.
“They basically have the opportunity to talk about their research,” he said. “Those events will also be open to the public and parents. It kind of shows how much family weekend is really growing this year.”
According to Ballinger, the turnout is expected to exceed last year’s by about 700 to 800 people. CU is expecting around 1,500 families this.
Family weekend will also give family members the opportunity to attend some traditional events like the Big 12 football game, luncheons, residence-hall receptions, a variety of lectures and faculty/student affairs presentations, art exhibits, various student concerts and a 5K family fun run.
Preparation for the arrival of the parents by CU students and faculty has not changed.
“The Office of Parent Relations works on family weekend all year long, and we’ve been coordinating with agencies across campus – everything from parking and transportation to the student-affairs staff,” Ballinger said. “In terms of sprucing up campus, I guarantee the folks in facilities will do the best they can – considering the weather – to really make the campus look good for visitors.”
Greek houses are also putting some extra effort into family weekend this year.
“We’re cleaning up the houses, setting up for activities and getting ready for parents to see where their kids live,” said sophomore psychology major and member of the Delta Chi fraternity, John Christensen. “Some of the fraternities are even having barbecues before they go to the game on Saturday.”
Christensen said family weekend is a good opportunity for new members to show their parents the Greek houses they just joined.
As for students being on their best behavior for the weekend, sophomore pre-health major Sean Forrester says the extra effort is minimal.
“Family weekend is just like every other weekend,” said Forrester. “Except this weekend I guess I have to clean up the house a little and hide some beer cans.”
However, students and faculty members agree on the main purpose of family weekend.
“The whole idea of family weekend is for family members to visit their CU students, find out a little bit more about the university, get some good presentations and emerge from the whole thing with some good experiences,” Ballinger said.