Family Weekend is back after 2-year hiatus

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Corryn Brock

Lashonda Banks celebrates her win at balloon darts at the RHA Family Carnival. Banks was visiting her son Jeremy Banks for Family Weekend. “Family Weekend is very important to us because we still get to be together with (Jeremy) who is now apart from us,” Banks said.

Elizabeth Wood, Online Editor

This Friday, Eastern will kick off family weekend with long-awaited in-person events including bingo, bowling, and games.

Assistant director of new student and family programs Tanya Willard said family weekend will be keeping both Adventure EIU and the family dessert recipe contest due to their popularity.

Families will be able to submit a recipe for the dessert contest, and the winning recipe will be served on the dining hall’s lunch menu Saturday.

Adventure EIU is a scavenger hunt across campus, where students and families can solve puzzles, collect items, solve trivia, take selfies, or complete service projects to learn more about campus.

Director of new student and family programs Beth Dunahee said Adventure EIU was held last fall to help students connect across campus.

“The Civic Engagement and Volunteerism Office hosted the event last fall as a way to help students get connected to campus while still being safe and following all of the COVID guidelines,” Dunahee said.

Dunahee added they kept Adventure EIU for family weekend because of the high turnout they had last fall, so far, they’ve had around 40 teams sign up.

Besides Adventure EIU, students have been looking forward to the football game Saturday, participating in bingo, and spending time with their family and friends.

Madeline Steiner, a junior majoring in English, said her family and a few friends will be coming to tailgate before the football game Saturday. She added that she thinks family weekend is important because it allows students to show their families what their daily schedules look like.

“I think it’s important for families to come and visit their child, or whoever is going here, particularly to see what they do here on campus and students can always give their families tours and show them what’s been going on around campus,” Steiner said.

Dunahee said that family weekend is a great way for students to connect with their families and friends on campus.

“Family weekend is great because sometimes students are feeling homesick around this time and getting to see their families, which is very beneficial,” Dunahee said. “It is also when students who don’t have family coming to campus connect with each other and their EIU families or communities and participate in the events.”

This weekend, Willard is looking forward to seeing new students show their families around campus.

“I love getting to see families that I met during orientation over the summer, and I love seeing students show their families around campus,” Willard said. “When students come to orientation, and even when they move in during August, they’re still nervous about finding their place and navigating campus. By the time Family Weekend comes around, they’re EIU pros and I love seeing the confidence that students have developed in a pretty short period of time.”

Willard added that while many families do come to campus, she encourages students who don’t have family coming to attend events with their friends or clubs.

While Tiana Luna’s, a junior majoring in early childhood education, family isn’t able to come, she said she plans to attend bingo with her friends and their families.

“Even though I don’t have family coming, I can still enjoy the events,” Luna said. “And I have friends who are cool enough to let me hop in their plans.”

Elizabeth Wood can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]