By Alba Van Vliet
The weekend of Oct. 16-18 was Fall Festival and Parents Weekend at Lawrence University. This meant a sudden abundance of parents walking around campus. They were eager to see what the lives of their children are like at Lawrence and participated in the activities on and around campus.
We interviewed parents of some of the new freshmen to discover what they thought of Lawrence, how they are dealing with the departure of their children and how far they traveled to get to campus.
Most of the parents we talked to told us they do miss their children, but are happy to see them taking these next steps in life. “The reality is: it’s time for her to go away,” said Calvita Frederick-Sowell, mother of freshman Samantha Sowell. “I went to college away and to law school far away. Those are just some of my fondest memories and I want to have that for her. I want her to have a good college experience and this seems to be a good place for her to get that done.”
One of the events this weekend involved parents visiting their child’s classes. Freshman Rebecca Bernheimer’s mother Anne Bernheimer visited multiple classes with her daughter. “I got to go to two of her classes and that was really fun. The professors were really accommodating. One class was a Spanish class and then the Freshman Studies lecture [about Life of Galileo], which was fantastic. It’s nice to go to school when you don’t have to.”
She also went to multiple soccer games during the Fall Festival to cheer on her daughter. This came with a slight conflict of interest. “One of the games [Rebecca] played was Lawrence against Cornell College, and I went to Cornell. It was very difficult for me, but I cheered Lawrence on! They won both their games.”
Even though the parents liked all the activities on the Fall Festival schedule, they mostly liked to walk around the campus and spend time with their children. Anne Bernheimer was happy that there was room for this in the schedule. “Looking at the schedule overall, I think it’s a great balance of structure and free time for the Fall Festival.”
All the parents we talked to are happy about their child’s choice for Lawrence. They told us that Lawrence has made them feel welcome so far and made it easier for them to leave their student here than they thought it would be. “I loved the way they welcomed us and made her checking in easy and comfortable, and all of the time they spend preparing the parents for what would be going on with the students,” said Calvita Frederick-Sowell. “[They gave] us so much information [and answered] questions before we asked them.”
Patty Anderson, mother of freshman Emmi Zheng, expressed the same feelings. “I am thrilled that our daughter has chosen Lawrence. Everyone has been so welcoming at each visit. I’m already looking forward to our next visit.”