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Parents on campus for JPW

Madeline Buckley | Monday, February 23, 2009

For junior Mary Beth Lee, Junior Parents Weekend (JPW) allowed her to introduce her parents to life at Notre Dame and reflect on the past two and a half years on campus.

“In college, you have two different homes and two different families,” Lee said. “You finally get to have your ND family meet your biological family.”

Lee said her favorite event was the President’s Dinner, which took place on Saturday, mostly because of University President Fr. Jenkins’ funny and insightful address.

In the speech, Jenkins drew comparisons between the biblical story, “The Boy Jesus in the Temple” – where Jesus’ parents lose him only to find him later preaching in the temple – and the evolution from child to adult that happens in college, she said.

“His point was that we are evolving and changing at school, and our parents come to JPW to find us all grown up,” Lee said.

Along with attending the President’s Dinner, Lee said she was able to give her parents a tour of campus, and they went out to dinner at Polito’s Restaurant.

The speakers at the dinner and the homily by Fr. Mark Poorman, vice president for student affairs, at the JPW mass offered perspective on the past years at Notre Dame and the years to come, she said.

“We talked about how there are only two and a half semesters left, and carpe diem,” she said. “We need to make the most of our last semesters.”

Junior Greg Wallingford said he enjoyed having a beer with his dad at Fiddler’s Hearth.

“It was hilarious,” Wallingford said. “It was almost all kids and parents at Fiddler’s Hearth.”

Wallingford also said he welcomed the chance to give his parents a glimpse of his everyday life at Notre Dame.

“It was great showing them what you actually do here,” he said. “You get used to things, but showing them to your parents, they seem newer.”

Junior Rosemary Peterson said she most enjoyed Lou Holtz’s speech at the closing brunch.

“He’s a really amazing speaker,” Peterson said. “His advice was to go through life excited and find something to be passionate about.”

JPW is generally thought of as an important weekend for juniors, but since the event is during the spring semester, many juniors studying abroad miss out, especially the entire junior class in the Architecture School.

Senior architecture major Tereza Schaible said the school offers a program akin to JPW called Expo Roma for the seniors because they missed JPW, as every junior in the school studies abroad in Rome for the year. Expo Roma takes place on the same weekend as JPW every year, she said.

“Any senior who was abroad last spring was invited to JPW, including the archies, but we put on something called Expo Roma, which is like our own JPW since everyone was abroad in Rome,” she said. “So we have our own thing just for archies.”

The weekend included a reception with Michael Lykoudis, the dean of the Architecture school, a lecture from a professor the students had in Rome, a dinner at Tippecanoe Restaurant in South Bend and a Mass to close the weekend.

Schaible said the main objective of the weekend is to tell the parents about the students’ experience in Rome the previous year.

“We decorated the whole first floor of Bond Hall with our paintings and drawings from Rome and the pictures we took there,” she said. “There’s also a lunch with our parents with a video yearbook along with a slide show with music, pictures and videos that covered our whole year in Rome.”

Although Expo Roma occurs every year on JPW, Schaible said their event is unique from JPW because the weekend was focused about remembering the year in Rome.

“It was a great opportunity to show our parents how much we did last year and what our experience in Rome was. It really brought back so many memories for all of us,” she said. “It was a really nostalgic weekend.”