Family Fest and Diversity Weekend to coincide

By Tressa Versteeg

Friends and families of students will flood campus this weekend visiting campus for the annual Family Fest. And for the first time, Family Fest will coincide with Diversity Weekend events.The planning groups purposefully scheduled the events for the same weekend, according to Assistant Dean of Students Irene Kao. That way, family members and friends who travel across the country will be able to experience Macalester in a truer form, as opposed to only Family Fest events, Kao said.

Kao and a committee of Macalester staff and students began to plan Family Fest last spring. A student group led by Tinbete Ermyas ’08 started planning Diversity Weekend in the spring as well.

“[The weekend] is targeted to family and also for family to truly experience Macalester. It would be great for them to get a taste [of campus life],” Kao said.

For the families unable to attend, there have been two opportunities to get involved with Family Fest. Families had the chance to submit photographs to Kao, which will be displayed around campus.

Kao has also compiled a recipe book filled with collective family recipes.

Kao encouraged students whose families could not attend to participate in the weekend’s events with friends or roommates, to broaden the idea of family outside biological ties.

A simultaneous Diversity Weekend and Family Fest, as well as feedback from past years’ family weekend events, has led to a new face for the weekend. This year’s new events include an opportunity to visit the “Right on Lake Street” exhibit at the Minnesota History Center, which features class projects from Macalester students, as well as a tour of Lake Street and a visit to the Midtown Global Market.

An old event with a new goal is Global Tea. Global Tea gives students and parents the chance to try a variety of teas from around the world. This year, due to participant input, there is an emphasis on fellowship among attendees.

“The Global Tea was rebuilt to have more families be able to interact with each other,” Kao said.

Other staples include the Musical Extravaganza on Friday and Saturday evenings, the 5k run, President Brian Rosenberg’s “State of the MACunion” address and a theater production “Angels In America” this year. The International Roundtable will, for the first time in several years, not take place during the Family Fest weekend. The roundtable will return to Family Fest weekend next fall.

The events specific to Diversity Weekend include an Artist’s Artcrawl and an Immigrant Rights and Activism panel. Diversity Weekend aims to both challenge and celebrate the various cultures and backgrounds on campus, planners say.

“I’m interested to see my family come this weekend,” Rachel Boarden ’11 said. “I want to see if my little brother is taller than me. My dad used to go here and he’ll probably be asking me a bunch of questions. My family is really excited about coming and going to all the events.