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Family Weekend To Take Bearkats 'Under The Bigtop'

Aug. 13, 2013
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

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From afar, college can seem like a three-ring circus, filled with class clowns, party animals, students who focus on their studies with the precision of a tightrope walker, and jugglers who are eager to have the best of all of their worlds—all under the guidance of their classroom ringmasters who tame the beasts and serve as a safety net for those who fall.

This September, Sam Houston State University will bring together the families of all of these styles of students to get a taste of life under the “big top” during “The Greatest Family Weekend On Earth,” Sept. 27-29.

family weekend flierAmong the “spectacle” to be unleashed will include traditional tours and receptions, as well as themed activities that will include a midway-style fair putting on display many of SHSU’s departments and student organizations and a “family circus lunch” filled with live magic, juggling and clown acts.

“Family Weekend is always a special time for students, families and our campus,” said Chelsea Smith, assistant dean of students for parent relations and special programs. “It is a time where we all come together to spend quality time with one another, meet new people, and have fun. It’s also a great way to showcase departments, organizations, and highlight all the great things that go on at Sam Houston State.”

Activities will begin on Friday with campus tours and an open house at the Recreational Sports Center from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

That evening, the spotlight will fall on the SHSU football team during the Bearkat Pep Rally beginning at 7 p.m. in Bearkat Plaza, in front of the Lowman Student Center.

Families can enjoy hotdogs, music, games and entertainment; cheer along with SHSU’s spirit programs and the pep band; and get fired up for Saturday’s sporting events by SHSU President Dana Gibson, head football coach Willie Fritz and Bearkat football players.

“Last year was our first time having a Friday pep rally. The parents really liked it so we decided to continue with this activity but wanted incorporate a lot of different entertainment for both families and students to enjoy,” Smith said. “We will have a top hat competition, music, food, entertainment and the works.”

Among the Saturday morning lineup are the official Family Weekend check-in in the Lowman Student Center Atrium, the opportunity to mingle and share a continental breakfast with SHSU’s administrators, tour campus and gear up with SHSU items at the campus bookstore, visit some of the many departmental open houses, and attend a Parents’ Association meeting.

From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., the SHSU Alumni Association and members of the Student Alumni Association will welcome families to campus with a brunch reception in the John R. Ragsdale Alumni Center.

At 11:30 a.m., parents can swing over to Intramural Field No. 3 and be “delighted” “Under the Big Top” by SHSU departments’ and organizations’ circus-style games and activities, while learning about some of the resources they offer. During the Family Circus Lunch, also offered at that time at Intramural Field No. 3, families can enjoy a catered meal while watching live circus acts featuring magicians, jugglers, clowns and more.

“Families will truly get the circus experience during ‘Under the Big Top,’” Smith said. “There will be magicians, people on stilts, face painting; pretty much any activity we can think of that is circus related.

“We will be serving chopped beef on Kaiser rolls, turkey burgers, grilled portabella mushrooms; something for everyone,” she said.

Following lunch, families can head over to parking lot P7, between the Newton Gresham Library and the Intramural Fields on Bobby K. Marks Drive, where they can see a parade of classic cars and vote for their favorite and participate in some of the pre-football game tailgating activities leading to the final act—seeing the national runner-up football team take on Eastern Washington, beginning at 2 p.m. at Bowers Stadium.

Bearkat Family Weekend will conclude on Sunday with an interdenominational Christian worship service from 9:30-10:30 a.m. at the Farrington Pit.

Registration for Bearkat Family Weekend is $10 per person, including SHSU students, which includes a T-Shirt, a welcome gift, continental breakfast, the coffee with the administrators, a catered lunch, the “Under The Big Top” circus, tailgating, and the classic car show. The registration deadline is Sept. 10.

Football tickets must be purchased separately or in advance through the Athletic Department at gobearkats.com. A special ticket discount also is available through the Bearkat Family Weekend website.

For more information on Bearkat Family Weekend, contact the Dean of Students’ Office at 936.294.1785, doso@shsu.edu, online at shsu.edu/~slo_www/weekend, or “like” “Bearkat Family Weekend” on Facebook.



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