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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Family Weekend attracted thousands

    Fire dancers, the world’s biggest slide and a barbecue for 1,700 people were a few of the events held on campus this weekend.

    Family Weekend 2006 brought parents, siblings and friends from everywhere to the UA campus to see what students do when they are away from home, said Tommy Bruce, executive director for Family Weekend.

    “”In years past we’ve spent time going out into the community, taking parents off campus,”” said Christina Lieberman, program director for campus activities.

    This year, the goal was to focus Family Weekend back to the UA campus, said Bruce, a business administration sophomore.

    “”This year, Family Weekend feels more well-rounded. It’s more like a family reunion than mom and dad coming to see campus.””

    -Christina Lieberman,
    program director for campus activities

    “”We tried to utilize all the resources we have on campus, like Gallagher Theater and the (UA) Mall,”” Bruce said.

    Families participated in Comedy Corner and midnight volleyball, and despite the Wildcats’ loss to Oregon State, the post-game barbecue on Saturday was a success, Bruce said.

    Typically, brochures for Family Weekend are sent out to freshmen and transfer students, but this year Bruce created a bilingual brochure for every student, including graduating seniors and graduate students, Lieberman said.

    “”There’s a misconception that Family Weekend is only for freshmen,”” Lieberman said. “”This year we tried to show that it is for everyone to participate in.””

    Families were responsive to the changes, and there was a significant rise in attendance, Bruce said.

    “”Seeing more families here has been a real highlight,”” Bruce said. “”There are students seeing brothers and sisters they haven’t seen in a long time. We want everyone to feel like a part of the Wildcat family with or without family here.””

    “”I couldn’t believe how many young children I saw out here,”” Lieberman said. “”The Mall was a giant playground.””

    Between the egg races, the block party and the fireworks, Family Weekend was a success, said Lieberman.

    “”This year, Family Weekend feels more well-rounded,”” Lieberman said. “”It’s more like a family reunion than mom and dad coming to see campus.””

    Elizabeth Rohrer, a psychology senior, said she had her siblings visiting for family weekend, including her younger sister, who wants to attend the UA after high school.

    “”They’re mostly enjoying the parties,”” Rohrer said. “”We’ve seen a lot of stuff happening on the Mall.””

    Jena Michels, a pre-business sophomore, said her parents visited for the second year to participate in Family Weekend with her sorority, Sigma Kappa.

    “”We just came down to visit her,”” said Michels’ mother, Carol.

    “”They had a lot of games and stuff for kids yesterday,”” said Michels’ father, Tony. “”But most of our events are for her sorority.””

    Family Weekend also brought a boom in community sales, said Lieberman.

    “”This is like Christmas sales for most of the community,”” Lieberman said. “”I’ve seen parents walking around in new U of A shirts.””

    Albert Sugiharta, an accounting senior and student leader at the U-Mart, said even for a game day, the U-Mart was much busier that usual.

    “”It’s usually slow during the weekend, but this morning was very busy,”” Sugiharta said.

    Although Fridays are “”usually dead,”” the campus was alive until 10 p.m. with people coming out in droves, Lieberman said.

    “”It was a phenomenal event,”” Bruce said. “”It’s an all student-run event, and any time we have to organize 4,000 people with events is a challenge in itself.””

    Financial help from clubs and the university, especially the UofA Bookstore, made the event possible, Bruce said.

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