Families reunite, celebrate Eastern’s Family Weekend


Kyara Morales-Rodriguez

At the Family Fun Fest, families are able to do many different activities such as making sand bottles, coloring, riding the mini train, eating snow cones, and more outside in the Library Quad Saturday afternoon.

Kyara Morales-Rodriguez, Campus Reporter

Library Quad became a space for Eastern students and their families to get together and enjoy fun activities during Family Fun Fest on Saturday afternoon.

The event was hosted as part of Eastern’s annual Family Weekend to give families the opportunity to visit campus, spend time together and make memories.

Kristal Munoz, a junior criminology student, is the University Board homecoming co-coordinator.

Munoz said that Family Weekend usually happens before Homecoming, but this year they decided to do it after. She said that she is happy with the turnout and that the cooler weather probably “let more families come out.”

“I got to speak with a few [families], and they said they’ve been looking forward to this event for a really, really long time,” she said. “Given that it’s Halloween, that also brought some spirit into this.”

For Family Fun Fest, Booth library hosts Family Reading Time outside in the Library Quad where kids can play with legos and read books on Saturday afternoon. (Ashanti Thomas)

Dozens of families attended Family Fun Fest, bringing students’ siblings, parents, grandparents and all their loved ones to Eastern.

With trackless train rides, a shaved ice truck, caricatures, pumpkin painting and more, the event featured activities for the whole family to enjoy.

“This is really a family-centered activity to bring the college kids’ families out here and let them celebrate that same EIU pride that our students share,” Munoz said.

Rakai Garth, left, and Terrell Garth, right, let a caricature artist draw portraits of them at the Family Fun Fest outside in the Library Quad Saturday afternoon. (Kyara Morales-Rodriguez)

Rakai Garth, a Danville, Ill. resident, came with her family to spend the weekend with her daughter, DeAsia Gamble, a freshman early childhood education student. She said that this was her first time attending Family Weekend.

Garth said that Family Weekend has been peaceful and welcoming, and that “everybody’s been nice so far.”

“I like the fact that we can come down and spend time with [DeAsia],” Garth said. “It’s a great day. The weather’s perfect. It’s not too hot, too cold, it’s not raining, and so all these activities are really fun for all of us to really bond as a family.”

She said that her favorite activities were getting a caricature drawn of her with her husband and making bottles of colorful sand art.

At the Family Fun Fest, Mindi Jenkins helps Zackary Riggs color a puzzle piece page outside in the Library Quad Saturday afternoon. (Kyara Morales-Rodriguez)

Mindi Jenkins, a Palestine, Ill. resident, attended the Family Weekend alongside her family, spending time with her stepdaughter who is an Eastern student.

Jenkins said she had attended Family Weekends at other universities, but this was her first time at Eastern’s. She said she enjoyed many of the afternoon’s activities and looked forward to going to the L&A Family Farms Haunted Corn Maze after the event.

“I think [Family Weekend is] a great idea,” Jenkins said. “It’s just a good time to spend time together and be on the campus with them and have a good day together.”

This event was not only fun for parents that traveled from all over the United States to spend time with their children attending Eastern, it was also fun for Eastern students themselves.

Martin Solis, a senior exercise science student, attended Family Fun Fest with his friend. He said they decided to stop by after spending some time at Eastern’s tailgate for the football game between Eastern and Tennessee Tech.

Solis said he enjoyed getting some “refreshing snow cones” and painting pumpkins with his friend. He said he thinks Family Weekend is a good opportunity for the families of students.

“They get to know the environment that their kids are in and the people that they’ve met and stuff that they do on the weekends,” Solis said.


Kyara Morales-Rodriguez can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].