Family weekend returns to Washburn after a year of COVID-19

Groovy: Washburn University Dancing Blues practice their dance moves before the Family Day Football Game. Their enthusiasm brought joy to their families and the crowd.

The days of online learning and limited interactions seem far away as Washburn student organizations took over the campus lawn for Family Day on Saturday, Sept. 25. The student organizations went all out with their tailgates. The hard work and dedication put into the event was a reflection of the Ichabod spirit.

Eager to reconnect with the Washburn community, guests began to arrive and mingle as the event began at 10 a.m. The excited energy among students, staff, friends and family was a reminder of what we had missed during quarantine and why Washburn held the event each year.

My family and I love to come out to Family Day,” said Kathrine Cook, a member of the Alpha Phi Sorority. “Not only do you get to see where people come from, but you get to show them how involved you can be at Washburn and how much fun it is.”

One area that was continuously surrounded by people was the Student Involvement & Development giveaway table. The organization handed out Washburn merch, such as hats, frisbees, bags and mugs you could purchase for five dollars. OSID was also responsible for bringing in a company called, Clearly You Laser Crystal Imaging, which used 3D imaging to burn a photo of each guest into a clear optical crystal. The line for this activity grew quickly as people began spreading the word about the unique souvenir.

For those that wanted to take part in a creative project, the Mulvane Art Museum printing station was their first stop. Jane Hanni and Kandis Barker, educators at the Mulvane Art Museum, guided kids and their parents through Gyotaku printing, a traditional method of printing fish. The fish used were made of rubber, which were then painted and then printed on paper.

Another highlight of the event was the Arrive Alive Tour sponsored by the Union. The Arrive Alive Tour provides the participant with a virtual reality headset that puts them behind the wheel as they sit in an unmoving vehicle. They are then given different scenarios and distractions that test their driving abilities. Some of these scenarios are driving while drunk, texting while driving, and becoming distracted by other drivers.

For many organizations like the Washburn Sororities and fraternities, Mass Media or Student Life, tailgating is an old tradition. But for the Hispanic-American Leadership Organization, this was their tailgate debut. HALO set up a tailgate complete with the music and foods of their culture.

“We wanted to get out here and do things differently than the typical burgers and hot dogs,” said Analisa Charez-Munoz, president of HALO. “Family is everything to us in our culture. We want the Washburn community to know we are here and we take up space.”

A group of people who were not new to the event was the Price/Allendorf family. Washburn selected the Price/Allendorf family to be the 2021 “Family of the Year” based on their dedication to the Washburn community and graduation rate. Four generations of graduates were in attendance, including Thelma Allendorf, Kelly Allendorf-White, Angie Allendorf-Price, Michael Scott Price, Abby Price-Offermann and Josie Dease. “The Washburn community has always been a huge part of our lives,” said Abby Price-Offermann.

Throughout the day, the number of attendees grew to show their support and let loose. With races down an inflatable slide, competitions with siblings at the carnival games and parents taking time to get to know their child’s friends, the day proved to be a success.

The Family Day concluded at 12:30 p.m. with the resounding song of the Marching Blues, who were accompanied by the Dancing Blues and Washburn color guard as they made their way to Yager stadium through the crowd of onlookers.

Edited by Kyle Manthe and Alyssa Storm