Youve been invited to Family Weekend by your first-year Iowa student, who is playing tour guide this morning. Hes showing you where his classes are, where he studies in the IMU, the riverside, and the spot in Hubbard Park where he won a mud-wrestling competition to raise money for charity.
Youre going to an open house with him in the Becker Communication Studies Building, to talk with his professors and tour the facilities. Your daughter is attending an information session for prospective students at Bowman House.
Other members of the family are headed to a Saturday Scholars program, to hear Professor Steven Luck speak on "Eye, Brain, MindHow the Mind Processes Information." Yesterday you participated in "A Day on the Net for a 21st-Century Student," a hands-on demonstration of a students daily Internet research and communication. You know now, for sure, that this isnt the University you attended 24 years ago!
Last night the whole family saw the first showing of a new documentary on legendary wrestler and Iowa coach Dan Gablewhich wont even make it to HBO until later in the fall.
This afternoon its off to the game after the Family Weekend tailgate at Hawkeye Village. Grandma is going to skip the game and take your niece and nephew to the Iowa Childrens Museum, where the McLeod USA Discovery Center will keep them happily occupied for hours.
Tonight, the family is planning to attend "The Buck(Eye) Stops Here," a night of family fun, entertainment, and prizes in the Iowa Memorial Union, which includes a display and auction of Hawkeye memorabilia. The younger family members may attend Night Games at the Field House, beginning at 11:30 p.m.
After the Farewell Brunch with President Mary Sue Coleman at the Radisson/Highlander Inn tomorrow morning, youll head for home. What a weekend!
As youre thinking it over while traveling home, remember this: the whole three-day event is planned and carried out by students. Julie Williams coordinates their work for the Alumni Association, but shes quick to insist that the students do all the planning and execution. A 14-person planning committee of Student Alumni Ambassadors makes the decisions, and on the actual weekend, all 90 ambassadors turn out to help. Meghan OMalley and Adrienne Looney are co-chairs for the weekend.
Until this year, the event was called Parents Weekend.
"The Student Alumni Ambassadors wanted to honor parents but be more inclusive," Williams says. "They wanted siblings and grandparents of our students to see that theres something for everyone, not just parents. So they renamed it Family Weekend."
This is the first year that academic departments have been involved in a big way, she adds. The Colleges of Liberal Arts and Pharmacy have scheduled several open houses in departments to show student work, offer tours, and give relatives a chance to meet the professors. The Colleges of Engineering and Dentistry offer tours of research facilities, and tours of The Daily Iowan, the Richard O. Jacobson Athletic BuildingCarver-Hawkeye Arena, Old Capitol, and University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics also are available. Another tour gives students and parents a close-up look at life in a fraternity or sorority.
"Our theme this year is Black and Gold, Young and Old," Williams says. "That really says it. We have something for everyone during this weekend."
If youre interested in attending and didnt sign up at orientation, watch for an information packet that should arrive in the mail in late September or early October. Call quickly for hotel registrations. For more information, check out the web site at http://www.iowalum.com/programs/pw00/. While youre there, fill out a brief survey, and you may win free registration for the weekend.
By Anne Tanner