Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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Students share college life with families

Kalika Valentine-Erickson/ Winonan

The 2014 fall semester is already in its sixth week and students are settling into their own routines. For many returning college students, this is familiar and habitual, but for freshman and new transfer students, something other than a routine may be settling in: homesickness.

Winona State University offers a possible solution. Family Weekend, which was held from Sept. 26-28, is a weekend when students can invite their loved ones to Winona so they can not only visit, but also see for themselves what college life is like for the student.

Candice Guenther, associate director and residence housing association advisor of housing and residence life, said, “I just think it’s a good time of the year. I think a lot of students are missing what is familiar to them. I think it’s a good point in the semester to have that connection and have each other know that things are going okay.”

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Rene Stiller, a Sheehan Hall resident assistant, saw the benefits of Family Weekend first hand, as many of the residents on her floor participated in the events.

“Family Weekend gives the students a chance to show their parents their world here,” Stiller said. “The parents can become more familiar with their child’s friends and environment [which will] hopefully result in the parents worrying less.”

Winona State mailed invitations to families of freshmen and transfer students at the end of summer, so families had time to plan their visit. Various lodging options were posted on the school website, and the alumni house even offered up rooms, giving families the opportunity to stay the entire weekend if they chose to.

A variety of events took place throughout the weekend, but Tracy Rahim, associate director of student activities and leadership, said some of the most commonly participated in activities from previous years include trolley tours of Winona, athletic events, river cruises on the Cal Fremling boat, visiting the Winona State bookstore and apple picking in the area.

According to the reminder e-mail, the trolley rides and river cruises were so popular they filled up with previous reservations before the weekend even began.

Other activities included shows like Midwest Dueling Pianos and Spidey, a comedy hypnotist, an art show and the opportunity for loved ones to see how college students eat with cafeteria meals available throughout the weekend.

Each residential hall also had activities such as a bluff hike, and a dive-in movie, a play on an old drive-in movie, where students could watch a movie while relaxing in the Lourdes Hall pool.

These events were available so students who did not have visiting family members could still participate in the weekend, Guenther said.

“Students that don’t have family here have events to go to as well, so they don’t feel excluded from the weekend,” Guenther said.

Family Weekend offered a wide variety of events and, at an unseasonable eighty degrees, giving students a chance to have fun with their families or with their friends.


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