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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Campus ‘falls’ for festivities

Published: October 23, 2009
Section: Front Page

Chocolate fall fest: Students an parents line up to taste the chocolate fountain at the “Student Events and the Chocolate Factory” Fall Fest kickoff last night in Sherman Function Hall.<br /><i>PHOTO BY Lien Phung/The Hoot</i>

Chocolate fall fest: Students an parents line up to taste the chocolate fountain at the “Student Events and the Chocolate Factory” Fall Fest kickoff last night in Sherman Function Hall.
PHOTO BY Lien Phung/The Hoot

Parents and relatives from around the globe arrived at the Shapiro Campus Center (SCC) atrium to pick up information guides last night to kick off the university’s Fall Fest family celebration, which will continue through Sunday.

One of the first activities of the weekend was a chocolate-tasting and student competition, held last night in the Sherman Function Hall. Guests and students cast votes for a “Best of Brandeis” chocolate recipe, created their own campfire-style s’mores, and qualify to win a raffle using pre-mailed Willy Wonka-esque golden tickets.

Today’s activities include a Faculty Spotlight with Professor Jim Haber (BIOL) who will be giving a presentation on his work with chromosomes at 2 p.m. Students and guests can also have their picture taken until 3 p.m. along with the school’s mascot, Ollie the Owl.

Today will also include a type of parental culture shock as families can sit in on all classes.

Fall Fest family weekend is historically a university-wide event for which Student Events begins planning in the January of the previous year.

For Fall Fest, “the institution invites undergraduate families to see what Brandeis is about,” Director of Student Events Stephanie Grimes said.

Formerly called simply Family Weekend, the event seeks to include “not just families but all students” in the celebration of the university, she said.

The Fall Fest Core Committee, a group of students selected by Student Activities to coordinate the festival, advised that the term was more inclusive for all prospective participants.

The theme of Fall Fest 2009 is “The Way We Became the Brandeis Bunch.”

The Core Committee “really focused on a family-oriented theme…all of the activities are centered around this theme of bringing families together,” Yuliya Mints ’11, the Core Committee’s off-campus programs coordinator, wrote in an e-mail to The Hoot.

“It’s more than just bringing a specific family together, but bringing together families of different students who met here at Brandeis,” Mints said.

One of the most anticipated events of the weekend is tonight in the Sherman function hall of the Hassenfeld Conference Center—Friday Night Fever. The 70s music-themed party will offer the performance of renowned magician Peter Boie and a myriad of student performance groups. All attendees can tie-dye a t-shirt, eat at the buffet, and show off optional (but encouraged) bellbottoms and platforms.

“The Friday Night Fever is the most creative program and probably brought the Core Committee together,” Grimes said.

“Friday Night Fever will be a great place to create and collect your Fall Fest memories,” Gershon’s email said. “Fun is what Fall Fest is all about.”

Tomorrow will feature the “Boston Adventures,” according to the Student Activites Web site. From the New England Aquarium to the Boston Museums of Fine Arts and Science, parents and students will be spread around the city enjoying the university’s proximity to some of the most celebrated institutions in the country.

“One of the things I look forward to during Fall Fest…is showing families from different parts of the country, and even the world, how beautiful and rich Boston is,” Mints, a lifetime Bostonian, wrote.

Saturday night, Brandeis guests will return for the variety show at 8 p.m. in the Levin Ballroom.

“Saturday our main focus is on networking. We start our conversations and introduce people who families will want to know,” Grimes said, referring to the “Croissants and Conversation” event on the Web site, which will start on Saturday morning. “Faculty presentations also [are networking events], and we’re really looking forward to them-there are a lot of new ones [presentations].”

Sunday will follow with “Coffee with the President,” during which families will hear from President Jehuda Reinharz on topics such as “where Brandeis is and it is headed—this is a pivotal year,” Grimes said.