Campus prepares for Family Weekend

This weekend, Eastern students and faculty will be hosts to their families. The Board of Directors and the EIU Parents Club host this Eastern tradition.

However, it is the work that goes on behind the scenes, often months in advance that makes the weekend such a special and successful time for campus.

The activities that are held on campus, from bowling and bingo to tailgating before the football game, are only accomplished with a huge effort from campus faculty.

Panther Catering, in addition to their normal events, is responsible for the meals being served on campus during the course of the weekend.

“We do all the meals that are served in the union,” said Kristin Cann, assistant director of Panther Catering.

These meals include a pasta buffet, Get Your Grill On dinner on Saturday, the Pick Up and Go lunch in the tailgate area before the game, and the Wrap Up the Weekend Breakfast on Sunday.

“There will be 50 student workers, and five full time staff,” Cann said. Starting tomorrow, between the five workers they will average about 12 hour days, for the full time staff.

Cann said the preparation for this weekend has been many months in the making. The weekend menu was decided upon in April and staff began preparing in mid August.

Panther Catering is not the only office working hard in preparation for the upcoming weekend.

The Athletic Department will be putting together activities surrounding the weekend’s anticipated game of Eastern versus Southeast Missouri.

“This weekend we’ll have a live band, food provided by What’s Cooking, and other games,” said Ryan Gilmore, director of marketing and promotions for the athletic department. “There’s going to be a little bit of everything going on, something to appeal to everyone.”

This weekend is undoubtedly most important to Eastern’s students.

The residence halls on campus try to make the weekend as fun and as accessible for the students and families as possible.

“We try not to over program on top of other programs that already happen,” said Josh Lawrie, the area director of the Housing and Dining Services. “We see our role as promoting those programs and letting the families know what’s going on so they can get out to them.”

While quality time with family is most important for both students and visiting family members, the programs will provide a planned outlet for this, without over-planning the weekend.

Taylor Hall Resident Advisor Jason Sandidge said, “Floor by floor, it’s really up to the RA’s what they want to do with their resident’s families. A lot of the time they’ll try to get as many residents that want to go to the football game together or the mini-programs that they put on, for example the Toy Story movie that will be put on.”

The activities and events supported by Eastern and carried out by staff and faculty help make Family Weekend successful.

“Behind every event, there’s hours and hours and hours of preparation – there are people that are working very hard so that things can run smoothly,” President Bill Perry said. “When we get there, everything we see is just the tip of the iceberg. A lot of people who make those arrangements sometimes go unnoticed, but I am deeply appreciative to every person who contributes to this great experience for our guests.”

Family Weekend begins this Friday, Oct. 1.

Mel Boydston can be reached at 581-7942 or

[email protected]