Torrent of parents sweep through campus for family fun

There was no doubt from last weekend what was going on at the University of Miami. From the Rat to the Rock and even in the Richter Library, it was clear that the university was under a parental invasion.

Family Weekend, the biggest university-wide event of the semester, began on Friday and continued through the weekend, with a full schedule of events planned for attendees.

The main event of Family Weekend was the President’s Barbecue. The sounds of Bruce Springsteen and Earth, Wind and Fire welcomed hundreds of students and parents to tents on the lawn outside of Richter Library as Blackstar, a 1970s cover band, played the event.

President Donna E. Shalala, accompanied by Sebastian the Ibis, walked around welcoming parents and thanking them for attending.

“It was really great to see President Shalala here,” Dan Robinson, a sophomore, said. “It really shows how much she cares about not only the students, but their families as well.”

After the barbeque, several families walked to the Rat to watch the Detroit Tigers take on the New York Yankees.

But the university had another event planned for them. More live music, this time geared toward the students, resonated from the Rat as indie-rock band Agent Sparks rocked the stage.

“It was fun to go to the Rat with my parents and listen to some live music,” Anthony Lombardi, a freshman, said. “It showed my parents that there is always something going on.”

Saturday morning only meant one thing for the visiting families-Hurricane football.

The 27-7 beating on North Carolina was not a surprise, but was very pleasing to the entire UM community, even those whose parents were unable to attend.

Peter Fogarty, a sophomore, and his brother John, a junior at Bryant University in Rhode Island, enjoyed this weekend without their parents, who were unable to attend.

“My brother and I had a blast at the game,” Fogarty said. “I think my brother really enjoyed the feel of a big-name football program.”

There are many other reasons the university takes such pride in showing families a good time this weekend.

Family Weekend is the first real chance for UM to show parents that their students are not only having a lot of fun, but also getting a quality education.

Events such as “Enhancing the Undergraduate Experience,” hosted by William Green, the new senior vice provost and dean of undergraduate education; “Inside the Classroom;” and meetings with all the different academic deans gave parents a look into their children’s’ academic experience.

“My parents went to a lot of the academic-based events,” Robinson said. “I guess they wanted to make sure they were getting their money’s worth, and they seemed pretty pleased.”

Though after this weekend, life will return to normal.

“It was great to have my parents here,” Robinson said. “I’m just going to miss all the good meals and free groceries.”

Matt Mullin may be contacted at