Families foster connections to LU during Fall Festival

From Friday, Oct. 4 to Sunday, Oct. 6, Lawrence held its annual Fall Festival, treating parents to a wide variety of events on campus. The Fall Festival is a weekend-long event that combines parents’ weekend with homecoming weekend. During this period, parents and alumni are given the opportunity to experience all parts of the Lawrence community from music to sports to academics.

Over the course of the festival, a large number of events happened on and around campus. Some of these events included the Blue and White dinner to celebrate the induction of five alumni into the Athletic Hall of Fame.

Another popular offering was the mini-courses taught by faculty to interested parents. Each year; one member of the administration, one member of the Conservatory and one member of the faculty in the college teach the mini-courses. This year’s mini-course teachers were Sara Gross Ceballos from the Conservatory and David Gerard from the college. The administrative mini course covered off-campus study.

“The Main purpose of Fall Festival is to be sure that family members feel connected to what’s going on on campus,” Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Nancy Truesdell said. “Every parent or sibling or grandparent has just the direct view of what the student tells them college is like or Lawrence is like, but this is meant to be a quick snapshot of one weekend of what the place is really like on a regular basis.”

The weekend also included numerous sporting events and musical performances. One of the headline events for this year’s Fall Festival was Kaleidoscope. Kaleidoscope was a 75-minute continuous musical performance that included representatives from nearly every facet of the Conservatory. Kaleidoscope is only held every other year and this year’s performance was the fourth ever held.

“Kaleidoscope was started as an attempt to showcase more of the Conservatory in one concert,” Truesdell said. “It’s meant to be a taste of what the Conservatory offers to get people interested in having the whole meal.”

This year’s concert was held at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center (PAC) and was sold out.

“One of the coolest parts of Kaleidoscope was to be at the PAC,” sophomore Mackenzie Rech said. “It felt more like a real show because there were a lot of people there who weren’t just Lawrence students.”

Rech, who is in the all-female choir Cantala, was one of over 300 students to participate in Kaleidoscope. Many students from Lawrence also came to watch the show. Freshman Neal Bauer attended the concert and said that it nice to see all the students and family coming together to celebrate everyone’s talent and hard work.

President Mark Burstein’s Question-and-Answer session was an important event for many parents and alumni as well. Burstein spoke on topics from financial aid to the faculty to why he chose to come to Lawrence. Burstein also outlined three areas that he will be focusing on improving within the coming year. These three areas are: widening the interdisciplinary studies, continuing to invest in athletics and to upgrade some of the student housing.

“For me it’s about improving the Lawrence experience, what we provide on campus, and if we can improve that, I think that will en0d up leading to a better higher education,” Burstein said.

There has been some version of Fall Festival since the mid term reading period was added to the calendar. While no new event was added this year, parents and alumni were still able to come and see the current student body and participate in weekend long events.