Blue and White Weekend celebrates community

To call upon the engagement of parents, President Mark Burstein delivered remarks about the happenings at Lawrence in a public speech on Saturday Oct. 6.

Blue & White weekend, formerly called the Fall Festival, is an annual celebration for students, parents, alumni and the Lawrence community. According to Burstein, the purpose is to provide an organized opportunity for parents to be connected with students and institutions. The three main goals for the year stated by Burstein were enrichment of interdisciplinarity, increasing affordability and the working on the Center for Career and Community Engagement.

Lawrence will continue to update its intellectual capital while ensuring its own strengths. Enhancing a deeper educational experience of interdisciplinary courses, Lawrence hired two neuroscientists, Assistant Professor of Psychology Callum Hicks and Assistant Professor Linnet Ramos, this fall. “They are part of an effort to really deepen our cognitive neuroscience educational opportunities for students,” Burstein said. In addition, the Geology department is in the process of renaming itself “Geosciences” and will focus on the study of Earth.

Because of the funding activities and generosity of the larger Lawrence community, LU now offers better financial support for students. The program of Full Speed to Full Need (FSFN) provides full demonstrated financial need, and Lawrence has raised $78 million toward its $85 million goal to reduce the debt for every student. Moreover, Lawrence is trying to cover 50 percent of fees for students studying abroad, and currently the reimbursement of oversea programs is around 30 to 35 percent.

To rethink the relationship between LU and life after graduation, the Center for Career, Life, and Community Engagement was established. According to Burstein, Lawrence has increased funds not only for internships but also for updating the buildings. Followed by the renovation of Ormsby Hall, Kohler Hall also will be renewed. In doing so, the life of all residential students will be improved.

Even though there is a large first-year class, it does not impact the increasing affordability of Lawrence very much. “I don’t think the size of the first-year class will impact the education we are providing,” Burstein said. “Being in a diverse place for students, faculty as well as staff is critical for the education we offer.”

Apart from the talk given by Burstein, there were many other activities during the past weekend. Sports games including football, volleyball and women’s tennis were part of Blue & White weekend. Parents could also go to classes with students and visit the Wriston Art Center galleries. The mini-courses taught by faculty and staff included various topics, such as “Why Should You Care About Plato’s Republic?” and “Emerging Job Search Trends for College Students.”

Comic magician Ben Seidman was invited to perform, and he was the only person in history to be named the Resident Magician at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. A mentalist and hypnotist named Christopher Carter also came to the celebration. On Saturday night, Lawrence University Choirs held a concert in Memorial Chapel. Parents, students, staff and faculty joined the LU Cycling Team on a group ride around Appleton on Sunday morning. Blue & White Weekend ended on Sunday Oct. 7 in the afternoon, and will continue to be held next year to celebrate the Lawrence community.