CBSU sponsors bowling and brunch for dad’s weekend

Online Poster

Online Poster

By Tanika Ely

Students and their parents gathered for the last event of the Central Black Student Union (CBSU) Dad’s Weekend for the Annual Dad’s Day Brunch on Sunday morning. Fathers discussed religion and politics while listening to tunes from the Illini Jazz Combo.

Tracy Parsons, president of the Champaign County Urban League, spoke about the importance of fathers in their children’s lives.

He said the theme of this weekend’s celebrations, “Our Fathers: A Celebration of a friend, leader, role model and inspiration,” was especially important to him in describing his father, who is an inspiration in his life.

Parsons, who works toward racial inclusion and other diversity-related issues, said there were two points relevant to black students and their parents – giving back and preparation.

“As black students on this campus, what are you doing to make a difference?” he asked. “You have a tremendous responsibility to give back.”

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He said that although the University experienced one of its largest freshmen enrollments this year, 200 fewer African-Americans entered. He also said students should not be afraid to participate, especially as a minority voice. He explained that young African-American students should have active roles on campus and within the community. Parsons said the importance of celebrating fathers is their continued guidance.

“They’ve loved you, scolded you and disciplined you,” he said. “But they’ve also supported you.”

Parsons said he believes preparation, setting goals and having high expectations is fundamental to becoming a successful and responsible adult. He said many black students are the first in their families to attend college, and it is vital for parents to support the accomplishments of their children.

Victoria Ogunsanya, junior in business and vice president of CBSU, also said this past weekend’s dad’s events were important for University students.

“It gives African-American students time to spend with their parents,” she said.

The ceremonial weekend geared toward African-American families started Friday with a performance of oldies music that allowed families to socialize and dance.

Festivities continued on Saturday when students and their parents aimed for strikes and spares during the Dad’s Day Bowling Social. Lisa Brown, sophomore in LAS, said the CBSU-sponsored events give black parents a chance to participate in activities centered toward African-Americans.

Her father, Lloyd Brown, said this was the first event he has attended this weekend, but that there is a greater benefit in participating in Dad’s Weekend.

“As a parent, it provides me the opportunity to experience cultures and lifestyles of other students,” he said.

The Brown family was not the only group enjoying themselves in the Illini Union Recreation Room. Bowling lanes were packed, while students’ families and friends played pool.

Sondra Patterson, sophomore in LAS, brought her father for a game of bowling. She said she is grateful to have her father in her life, and his visit for dad’s weekend was important to her.

“Instead of him taking me shopping or out to eat, we get a chance to socialize and meet other families,” she said. “It’s a great experience.”

Ogunsanya, who took pictures for remembrance of the weekend, said students should recognize their fathers.

“I hope every one of these fathers leaves here knowing they are appreciated.”