Weekend brings fathers to campus

By Sky Opila

The University is preparing for its annual Dad’s Weekend, a popular event that brings droves of families to the area.

Sponsored by the Dads Association, a University group formed in 1922, the weekend events showcase the importance of fathers in their children’s lives.

Many families make it a tradition to come together and spend quality time with each other on campus.

“My family takes advantage of the weekend,” said Keith Kittell, Dads Association president. “We have me, my wife and my daughter come down to visit my son and make it one family gathering.”

Kittell said he feels Dad’s Weekend is a perfect time for parents to visit their students.

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    “The event is generally set in October,” Kittell said. “So it’s a perfect time where students have been gone long enough that the parents are really starting to miss them.”

    The planning for the weekend happens almost years in advance, he said. Once it gets closer, the individual events come together, he added.

    “The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics pretty much assigns us a weekend,” Kittell said. “Sometimes, a couple years in advance, we get a little say about when it should happen.”

    The weekend kicks off by recognizing highly accomplished students, a tradition of the weekend since 1972. Parents are given the chance to attend a banquet on Friday evening that acknowledges students with high GPAs.

    “The banquet on Friday recognizes a lot of people,” Kittell said. “We recognize students and organizations who are working hard throughout the year.”

    In addition to the Dads Association’s weekend plans, several other groups have planned events to promote family bonding. Many campus fraternities and sororities participate in their own type of weekend, bringing each member’s family to the campus.

    Rahul Malik, sophomore in Engineering and recruitment director for Delta Sigma Phi, helped his fraternity gather ideas for Dad’s Weekend. They plan to watch the football game, barbecue and visit with parents.

    “We had been gathering ideas of what we wanted to do for Dad’s Weekend,” Malik said. “About three weeks before the weekend, we started nailing down exact schedules.”

    Students, such as Malik, who have enjoyed the tradition of Dad’s Weekend, have gotten themselves into positions to plan events for their organizations.

    “I feel that Dad’s Weekend is a positive thing because it gives parents the opportunity to see what their kids are doing now,” he said. “Many of the freshmen in our chapter have not had the opportunity to have their parents come down and see our fraternity and house; this is a great opportunity for that.”

    Nevertheless, students not involved in planning the weekend, such as Brandon Maslov, senior in Business, enjoy the chance to gather with family.

    “The weekend allows me some time to get together with my dad and get some quality father-son time,” Maslov said.

    Dad’s Weekend is becoming one of the University’s proudest traditions among students.

    “I think its right up there with Homecoming and Illini basketball,” Maslov said. “It’s a time for children to share a large part of their lives with their families.”