Events go ‘abraod’ for annual JPW
Jen Rowling | Friday, February 18, 2005
Parents hailing from all over the country will arrive on campus today to take part in the 53rd annual Junior Parents Weekend.
The JPW committee has been working since last April to plan the traditionally extravagant themed event, with “Passport Abroad” as this year’s title.
“We’re giving the juniors a chance to get away from South Bend, and somewhat honoring the students who are studying abroad and can’t make it to the event,” committee secretary Lauren Messina said.
This evening students and parents will attend “The Grand Tour,” an event featuring booths representative of a variety of European countries. Each booth will offer a selection of hors d’oeuvres from its respective country. In addition, the event will have a night of dancing and a cash bar.
Saturday, each individual academic school will provide workshops allowing parents to experience the academic aspects of their child’s life at Notre Dame.
Following the Saturday evening JPW Mass, University President Father Edward Malloy, accompanied by University President-elect Father John Jenkins, will attend the “Arctic Excursion”-themed President’s Dinner.
The weekend will conclude with a Sunday morning “Escape to Paradise” brunch.
In addition to the weekend’s official events, many juniors have planned special gatherings for parents and friends. At the conclusion of the President’s Dinner, individual students have rented local facilities including the College Football Hall of Fame and Bookmakers to allow their parents and friends to bond in smaller groups.
University President Emeritus Father Theodore Hesburgh began the Junior Parents Weekend tradition to allow parents the opportunity to share a weekend at Notre Dame with their children prior to graduation. Hesburgh wanted parents and students to spend time together without having to attend the different events scheduled during graduation weekend, Messina said.
“I can’t wait to meet the parents of all of my friends,” Messina said. “In high school it was so different because you knew everyone’s parents, sometimes becoming as close with them as you were to your own parents. It will be great to have long conversations with them and finally realize why our friends here are such amazing people.”
JPW committee chair Kathryn Reynolds emphasized the importance of the weekend to juniors and their parents and said some rules on campus will be altered to facilitate the event.
“It is because of [the event’s significance] that the rest of Notre Dame’s campus tries to make this weekend be about the junior class and their parents by not allowing on-campus social gatherings, and parietals are at 12 o’clock,” she said.
With these rules in place, many non-junior students plan to leave campus for the weekend. Sophomore Alison McKillen and her friends plan to take a road trip to University of Dayton. Similarly, freshman Kristin Drach said her friends are off to visit Ohio State.
“I [don’t like] midnight parietals. The dining hall also gets too busy with parents,” Drach said. “It is a perfect weekend to get away.”
Reynolds said the University provides a unique atmosphere for juniors and their parents.
“I hope students are able to show their parents the home they have here at Notre Dame,” she said. “As a class, I hope we take advantage of this opportunity to share this experience with each other.”