Students, dads connect over Dads Weekend

By John Chambers, Staff Writer

Parents often recall their college experience as their “glory days.” Before starting careers and families, they remember when life wasn’t so serious.

Friday, Nov. 4, marked the beginning of Dads Weekend, when students’ fathers are encouraged to visit campus and reminisce on their college days.

This year’s Dads Weekend is special, as the University’s Dads Association recently celebrated its 100-year anniversary of philanthropy and student support.

There was no shortage of events or appreciation for the visiting fathers.

“I loved seeing all the dads there,” Abby Cox, freshman in Business, said. “It was really (a) great experience. We went to a brunch that my sorority held, a tailgate, the football game and then we went out after.”

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Being back on a college campus brought back many dads’ memories, regardless of where they went to college. Jay Butler, freshman in Social Work, said that although her father attended St. Cloud State in Minnesota, he still felt as if he were at his alma mater when visiting the University.

“We saw some people skateboarding and stuff along with other people down by Cocomero,” Butler said. “My dad was talking about how he used to do that when he was a kid, and I didn’t know that.”

Nicole Gieres, freshman in Business, is a first-generation student and said she didn’t know what to expect for Dads Weekend since her father never went to college.

“My Dads Weekend experience was unique,” Gieres said. “It was scary at first, but was actually a great experience.”

Gieres said she sees her father as her role model. She said she knows her father would do anything to get her the best education he never had.

As many students live far away from their hometowns, Dads Weekend provided an opportunity to get a taste of home before fall break. Gieres said she took this chance to realize how important her father is to her.

“Him coming here showed me he really cares, and he really wants to be a part of my life,” Gieres said. “I’m very fortunate to have a dad like him, and I hope to be like that one day for my kids.”

Many students have looked up to their fathers  from a young age. But as they’ve grown, some found their fathers have begun to look at them the same way, including Matthew Rios, senior in FAA, who shares his passion with his father.

Rios said Dads Weekend was the first time his father saw him DJing during primetime at KAMS.

“I’ve always wanted to have my dad there and to DJ on Dads Weekend with my dad,” Rios said. “It was kind of a dream come true for me. It’s something we always dreamed about.”

Rios and his father spent the night in the DJ booth. Rios said his father became the catalyst for his DJ passion by buying him the first board and teaching him the basics.

“I think he lives through me now because I’ve gotten a lot farther with DJing than him,” Rios said. “I think he enjoys it more than I even do.”

Rios recalled that his father took advantage of free song requests at the DJ booth.

“He wanted me to play this one song. I think it was ‘Can’t Dance’ by Cooper Alan,” Rios said. “He begged me to play that song. But I told him I’ll get fired if I play this. Everyone will leave.”

As the weekend ended and students said goodbye to their dads, Rios said he was optimistic about Moms Weekend in the spring.

“It’s crazier than Dads Weekend, and they like to tip,” Rios said. “So hey, I’ll take it.”


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