GVSU to host annual Family 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.

Drew Schertzer

Every year, Grand Valley State University celebrates Family Weekend, a three-day-long celebration where families of GVSU students can come visit the university for a series of events and activities. 

This year’s weekend festivities will begin Friday, Sept. 22, at 6 p.m. and run through Sunday, Sept. 24, at 8 p.m. The theme is “Valley of Colors,” since it will take place during the same time as Grand Rapid’s ArtPrize.

“It’s a great experience to explore different areas for people that aren’t from here,” said Madalyn Slubowski, Laker Traditions event coordinator. “This makes the campus feel more like home for students as well.”

Slubowski believes Family Weekend is a time for families to connect. She said it’s a good opportunity for students to show their families what they’ve been doing and go to different events. 

The activities will begin Friday with a multitude of sporting events. GVSU’s men’s lacrosse will go up against Oakland University at 6 p.m. in the Kelly Family Sports Center, and GVSU’s men’s DIII ice hockey will play University of Michigan Flint at 7 p.m. in the Georgetown Ice Center. There are numerous other sporting events taking place that Friday, but the main event of the evening will be the dueling pianos.

The dueling pianos will be a time for families to enjoy refreshments while seeing if they can sing along with the piano players. This will be held from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. in the Grand River Room of the Kirkhof Center. Melaura Rice, another Laker Traditions event coordinator, thinks this event will be an opportunity for families to really enjoy themselves.

“We’re getting to the point of the year where freshmen are getting homesick,” Rice said. “It’s nice to have your family come see you, and your parents like to know what you’re doing.” 

Rice said spending time with family and going to events like the dueling pianos with them is a good way for students to relieve homesickness. More events will begin Saturday, with a Family Weekend 5K Walk/Run. This will begin at 9 a.m. on GVSU’s Allendale Campus. 

Later that day, the Family Weekend Tailgate will kick off at 5 p.m. at the Fieldhouse Arena. Rice and Slubowski expect about 500 or more people to show up. Here, families can help themselves to burgers and other grilled foods, though a ticket is required for entry.

Sunday will be the last day of Family Weekend. On this day, families can visit the Laker Store, drop by the Grand Rapids Art Museum or visit The Well. 

This year, there will be a strong emphasis on creative activities, Rice said. There will be interactive art pieces, inflatables and other creative pieces. ArtPrize tours will be given throughout the weekend, and Rice thinks families should certainly check out the exhibits.

Further, Slubowski said Shakespeare plays will be performed throughout the weekend at the Thomas J. and Marcia J. Haas Center for Performing Arts. She hopes the plays, as well as numerous other crafts and activities, will contribute a lot to Family Weekend.

Hotel rooms have been reserved for GVSU families visiting for the weekend, and they will be able to receive a discount during their stay. For more information on activities, hotels or sporting events, visit www.gvsu.edu/familyweekend/.