Student-parents feeling left out from Family Weekend festivities

By Danielle Rideau
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, October 14, 2005

Child-friendly activities in short supply, some say

Family Weekend is advertised as an event the entire family can enjoy, but many student-parents don't feel there are enough child-friendly events during the weekend for their young children to attend.

Dorana Lopez, the president of BabyCats, a support group for student-parents, said if Family Weekend were oriented for families with young children, she would take her 4-year-old son to some of the events.

The BabyCats program will not be hosting events for student-parents during Family Weekend, but they are planning to have a booth on the UA Mall with child-oriented activities during Homecoming Weekend, said Lopez, an economics senior.

Chrissie Lieberman, the senior coordinator for campus activities, said while there are activities that are child friendly during Family Weekend, student-parents might not know about them because of the program's lack of advertising.

Traditionally Family Weekend has been marketed for parents of freshmen to visit their children who are away from home for the first time, Lieberman said.

Over the past years, however, Family Weekend has evolved and is organized for a broader range of visitors, from families of graduate students to commuter students.

The University Activities Board advertises Family Weekend by mailing a Family Weekend schedule and registration form to students and families, Lieberman said.

Some events student-parents may bring their children to include the Sabino Canyon tram tours and Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum tours, which all have discounted prices for children under 13 years old, Lieberman said.

Another Family Weekend tradition is the UA football game, although some student-parents, like Heather Gasser, senior coordinator of Commuter Student Affairs, don't think their young children would understand or enjoy the game.