University continues Mom’s Day tradition

By Christine Leonards

Mom’s Weekend is held each spring and is a campus-wide event that hosts a wide range of events and activities for students and their families.

A tradition at the University since 1923, Mom’s Weekend gives students the opportunity to share their college experience and spend time with their mothers.

“My mom is coming from Springfield for the day on Saturday,” said Meredith Harvey, freshman in LAS. “She’s really excited and looking forward to it.”

Edward Slazinik, director of the Illini Union, said the continuing success of the event is due to “the quality of students, the quality of the volunteers and the support of the University in fostering a positive relationship with parents and the University.”

Mom’s Weekend was founded by the Mothers Association, a non-profit associated agency with the University. According to their website, the association’s mission was concerned with the University, its students and their families.

The Mothers Association Web site said, “The purpose of promoting the welfare and interest of the University and its students through services and open communications on campus and throughout the state.”

The Mothers Association is currently administered by the Illini Union. Prior to this, it was housed in the Dean of Students Office.

The Mom’s Weekend program will run from April 15-17 and will feature a variety of concerts, exhibits, fairs and shows.

“We try to offer a good mix of things during the day and in the evening,” said Katie Hanlon, program advisor of the Illini Union Board and co-coordinator of the craft fair.

“Historically, the Illini Union Board has traditional events that they have always done on Mom’s Weekend,” said Hanlon. “There is a mix of traditional events as well as ones we know are popular.”

The principal event of Mom’s Weekend is the annual Mothers Association Banquet held Friday evening. The banquet will honor the Queen Mom and the Mom’s Weekend Court, the 2005 Book Award recipients that recognize the academic achievements of freshmen, and the Medallion of Honor recipient.

The bronze Medallion of Honor award has been given to one woman affiliated with the University through service, teaching, research or graduation and has been involved in service to others since 1977. According to their Web site, the Mothers Association has been able to recognize the advances and accomplishments of women in this way.

Other popular yearly events include the spring musical, the flower and garden show and the fashion show.

All Mom’s Weekend events are open to the public.

“Anyone can come along,” said Natalie Davis, the fashion show co-coordinator and a program advisor for the Illini Union Board.

“In a lot of ways the Fashion Show is about fashion, but then, also, we put together skits,” Davis said. “It’s about fun for everyone.”

According to Slazinik, it is difficult to predict the expected attendance of the event, as it is such a campus-wide event, but he says that events such as the musical and craft fair will literally have thousands attend.

“Since it’s a whole weekend of events, I think it definitely draws parents from further away,” said Hanlon. “It’s worthwhile.”