Family Weekend offered a diverse set of experiences

Cradling a methane-fueled fireball

UNI students and families had plenty activities planned for Family Weekend, including a lunch break at one of the dining centers..
Above: UNI students and families had plenty activities planned for Family Weekend, including a lunch break at one of the dining centers.
Top: A UNI Chemistry student cradles a fireball in her hands after methane-filled bubbles were ignited during the Chemistry and Biochemistry magic show on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011, as part of the family weekend activities.

The 2011 fall semester at the University of Northern Iowa is a little more than a month underway.  Students are getting used to their class schedule, making new friends, pumping some iron at the Wellness & Recreation Center (WRC), cheering on the Panthers and missing their family. Well…most of the students are missing their family.

Instead of texting or calling Mom and Dad this past weekend, families got the chance to visit their student and enjoy the UNI campus during this year's Family Weekend. A slew of activities were planned, including the Panthers v. Western Illinois football game, to keep everyone busy.

"Family Weekend is designed to welcome parents and family members back to campus, and provide more opportunities for them to engage with the UNI community," said Kristin Woods, coordinator of New Student Programs at UNI. "It allows students to showcase their UNI experience, both academic and co-curricular."

Each college scheduled tours and events to show families where their child spends the majority of their time and what they might be working on. "Family Weekend is a collaborative process, with contributions from departments all over campus," said Woods.

For a taste of student life out of the classroom, family members used the WRC while others took a visit to the Botanical Center Greenhouse to look for Ernie the iguana.

Other activities included the Orchesis and International Dance Theatre performance, a viewing of the planets and stars, a magic show put on by UNI chemistry students, the Family Feast Tailgate and a free showing of the movie "Cars 2."

"Hundreds of families got to enjoy the social and academic events throughout the weekend," said Woods. "The students, faculty and staff got to connect with the parents and families who are so important in our shared goal of student success."