Look at Oz: Family, friends weekend preview

Family and Friends Weekend is a weekend from Friday to Sunday, that has been a tradition at Oswego State for over two decades.

This is a weekend packed with events and activities that allow students to spend time with their family and friends that might live hours away. For many students, this is the first opportunity they have to spend time with family members and friends since the beginning of the semester. The event is most popular with first year students, but is open to all students and staff on campus.

Sophomore John Thompson’s parents will be making a four-hour journey from Beacon, New York to participate in the weekend events.

“We didn’t get to do much last year, because we didn’t plan well enough,” Thompson said. “It’s hard because some things you have to pay for.”

This year, Thompson plans to spend more time showing his family around campus and the city itself. The Thompsons are planning to attend one of the planetarium shows in the Shineman Center, one of the “Wizard of Oz” performances in Tyler Hall and the hockey game in the Ice Arena Saturday.

A variety of different events and activities are planned for the weekend, many are free and most of take place several times over the weekend. A lot of the events are the same as it usually is, such as the highly-popular and free planetarium shows in Shineman, all five of which are sold out for the weekend. Also returning this year are the open skate sessions in the Marano Campus Center Ice Arena.

Unfortunately, due to staffing issues, the Lifestyles Center will not be able to hold Open Mic Night on Saturday like in 2015, but they hope to return in 2017.

Some of the events that will take place at different times throughout the weekend are the open skate sessions, unguided tours of Rich Hall, Wilbur Hall, Park Hall and Shineman Center and open recreation periods in Swetman Gym and Lee Hall.

There will also be several day-specific events, which are the main difference between this year and previous years. On Friday, there will be a splash-in movie showing of “Zootopia” in the Lee Hall pool from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday will be two feature shows, one starring magician and comedian Michael Kent, who has appeared on the CW show “Penn & Teller: Fool Us”, in the auditorium at 1:30 and 3 p.m. and another starring comedian Ryan Conner in the Hewitt Ballroom. All of these are sponsored by Student Association.

Several different groups on campus had a hand in the planning and hosting of these events, such as Student Association, Campus Recreation, Campus Life and the music and theater departments. Kelly Perkins, the head coordinator for Family & Friends Weekend, is grateful for the help.

For Perkins, the hardest part of organizing the weekend is dealing with the budget. In order get entertainment in time, planning has to start as early as April or May, when the budget for the following semester is still unknown. Student Association and Auxiliary Services provide the funding for entertainment and food. Thankfully, she received more funds this past month, which will go toward getting more food to provide at the various events over the weekend. She anticipates at least of 3,000 people from registrations alone.

Perkins wishes to encourage everyone on campus to participate, not just first-year students.

“I don’t want the stigma that this is only for families,” she said. “This is made for the entire campus. … right down to upperclassmen, faculty and staff.”

Check-in starts on Friday and runs from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Marano Campus Center. Before that, there will be a lot to do. On Friday, tours of Rice Creek Field Station and open recreation in Lee Hall start as early as 9 a.m. The Tyler Art Gallery on campus in Tyler Hall and downtown on West First Street start at 10 a.m. Open Recreation in the Swetman Gym starts at noon.

For those who cannot make it on Friday, check-in runs from 9 a.m to 3 p.m. on Saturday too.