Laker Traditions to host Sibs and Kids Weekend

GVL/Luke Holmes
Kids play a giant version of twister in the Kirkhof Center for Sibs and Kids Weekend Friday, Jan. 29, 2016.

GVL/Luke Holmes Kids play a giant version of twister in the Kirkhof Center for Sibs and Kids Weekend Friday, Jan. 29, 2016.

Arpan Lobo

Sibs and Kids Weekend has been a longstanding tradition at Grand Valley State University. This year’s event, “A Valley Far, Far Way,” will take place from Friday, Jan. 26, to Saturday, Jan. 27.

GVSU’s campus will mimic the settings from George Lucas’ famous “Star Wars” films. More than two dozen activities and events have been planned for the two-day event.

Andrew Travis, a graduate assistant in the Office of Student Life, anticipates that the weekend will be an enjoyable experience for all who participate.

“We’re really looking forward to it,” Travis said. “It’s going to be a busy weekend in Kirkhof and the Fieldhouse.”

Several activities on the schedule are taking place at the Fieldhouse Arena. In addition to dodgeball, inflatables and rock climbing, the GVSU men’s and women’s basketball games against Purdue University Northwest on Saturday are also on the docket, meaning all children under the age of 12 get into the game free.  

The weekend’s theme, “A Valley Far, Far Away,” arrives not long after the release of another “Star Wars” film. In order to transform GVSU’s Allendale Campus into the universe of the famous films, the Laker Traditions team focused on making the venues appear extraordinary.

“(Our team) wanted to create this place in Kirkhof and on campus that was a way for students to bring their siblings, family and friends to this galaxy, and this place that was out of this world,” Travis said. “So, that’s kind of where (the theme) came from.”

The weekend has been an annual tradition at GVSU for several years. This year’s iteration has been in planning throughout the academic year.

“In our planning processes, a lot of the events are tailored to ‘Star Wars,’ either by the name or what’s happening,” Travis said. 

In the Big Screen Theater in the Kirkhof Center, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has been playing throughout the week. Food items like “Chewbacc-o Tacos” will also be served to participants. Travis also added that events like photo booths will be “Star Wars”centric. 

Sibs and Kids weekend is also meant to be inclusive for more than just siblings, as younger family members of students are encouraged to visit GVSU to become aligned with the campus.

“It can be your neighbor, it can be your friend, it can be your niece, it doesn’t have to be your direct sibling,” Travis said. “It’s a very family/friend-oriented event.” 

GVSU’s website states that “Sibs and Kids Weekend is designed to further foster the relationships between siblings and those left behind when the GVSU student went off to school. We all know that living away from home can put a damper on the development (of) the close sibling bond, so we thought to provide a weekend where the student can host their siblings/guests and participate in many fun opportunities.”

“I think one, it helps families and younger kids, even high schoolers, to see what college is,” Travis added. “It’s a way for them to experience fun activities on a college campus. A lot of siblings, their brother or sister might go to Grand Valley, but they actually don’t know what a resident hall looks like.

“I think it’s a great way for families, friends, siblings to just see a college campus. It just creates that inclusive environment of bringing everyone back to campus. We even have a lot of alumni come. We have faculty and staff come just to kind of come back and enjoy each other’s company.”

Registration for the weekend closed on Wednesday, Jan. 24, but on-site registration is available. Travis expects well over 450 participants during the event.