Parents arrive to enjoy Fall Festival

Jamie Cartwright

I was walking toward Steitz Hall last Saturday, and as I neared the lawn surrounding Main Hall I began to see small groups of people strolling in the bright sun. It seemed odd at first, but as I got closer I saw that they were families enjoying time together on a Saturday afternoon. Parents had arrived on the Lawrence campus and Fall Festival had begun.
For many students, Fall Festival was a long-awaited opportunity to see their parents, to go off-campus for food and to show off their new home, Lawrence. Other students, who did not have visitors come to campus, went on with life as usual, and Fall Festival was simply another weekend of studying and amusement. Indeed, the most obvious sign that Fall Festival had arrived was the banner hanging above the information desk in the Warch Campus Center.
However, Lawrence provided a plethora of opportunities for parents last weekend to supplement the opportunity to see their children. The Wriston art galleries were open for viewing, attendees enjoyed sporting events like Lawrence’s tough football game against Carroll University and music events like the bands’ concert and Ryan Horne’s performance in the coffee shop offered a peek into the musical culture of Lawrence.
The real highlight of the weekend, of course, was the Kaleidoscope Concert at the Performing Arts Center, which coincided with Fall Festival for obvious reasons. I talked to one parent who said that it changed his image of Lawrence’s Conservatory of Music completely. He no longer considered Lawrence second best to the schools his son did not get into, like Oberlin and Berklee.
At one point during the weekend, President Jill Beck spoke to parents concerning their students at Lawrence and the educational opportunities that are provided here. These remarks then opened up into a discussion for parents to express their views and concerns to President Beck directly.
Although many parents simply visited with their children all weekend, events like Professor of Psychology and Director of Freshman Studies Terry Gottfried’s “mini-course” about freshman studies did draw some parents into a temporary but educational experience while on campus.
The attendance of this mini-course indicated just how many parents that visited campus have current Lawrence freshmen as children. The overwhelming majority of parents were here because their son or daughter arrived here just over one month ago.
After his parents left, one freshman said, “It was good having them here. Got to go out to eat twice, buy a few things and they brought me a delicious apple pie. It was fun to see them, but by the end I was ready to be on my own again. But it was a good break from the classes.”
For entertainment, comedian Bobby Banuelos performed a raunchy but well attended and hilarious show in the Warch Campus Center on Friday. Freshman Dana Schot said, “It was funny at parts, but I would have felt really awkward seeing that [show] with my parents! He totally crossed the line as far as dirty jokes. I’m cool with some stuff like that, but not when the show was full of just badly executed sex jokes.”
Although the comedian may not have been a show worth watching, Fall Festival as a whole was remarkably enjoyable. The event ended on Sunday with a 5K run/walk that started at the front of Warch Campus Center. The healthy end to the weekend captured yet another element of Lawrence’s varied campus culture by showing the high value the campus places on a healthy lifestyle.