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Second annual Lil Sibs weekend a success

April 14, 2011

Lil Sibs weekend took place the weekend of April 8-10 at UW-River Falls, giving siblings and cousins of current students a sneak peek into college life.

The eventful weekend was hosted by the River Falls Residence Hall Association which encouraged students of all ages to sign up and experience the weekend activities with their younger siblings. Each UWRF on-campus student can host younger brothers, sisters, cousins or friends (ages 8-18) to show them a little bit of college life, the great things happening on campus and why they chose UWRF, according to the event’s website. 

Around 80 students signed up to participate in the event but the programming coordinator, Kimberly Dupuis, said she had a steady stream of e-mails in the last few days before the event inquiring late signups for the weekend. That number has grown from last year’s 75 registered siblings who attended the event’s opening weekend.

From the moment the siblings arrive, their weekend was planned for them by the Residence Hall Association. Activities included Nerf Gun tournament, bonfires, night games at the University Mall and a DJ hosted dance on Saturday night. The cost for the weekend was $20 per student and $20 per sibling which covers the cost of all the meals as well as part of the Saturday afternoon carnival.

This was the second year for both the Lil Sibs weekend as well as the recently established Residence Hall Association. Because both the event and the organization are working together, Dupuis feels that it helps more people on campus to be informed of the new additions that Residence Life is making.

“Not many people know about RHA, so this is one big way for people to hear about RHA,” said Dupuis.

Because Residence Life is such a large part of the UWRF campus community Dupuis feels that the organization is important to help campus with events.

RHA is an organization on campus made up of members living in the residence halls, said Dupuis. “We serve as representatives for the students living on campus.”

The weekend was also used by the university as a recruiting tool for future Falcons.

This weekend gives siblings and cousins the opportunity to explore college life and was used as a recruiting tool for the university with the hopes that a sibling might one day attend UWRF, according to Tracy Gerth, West Area Coordinator for Residence Life.

Students also enjoyed the opportunity to show their siblings the everyday experiences of being on the UWRF campus.

“It’s fun to see him excited about the weekend,” said freshman Jenny Giddings about 10-year-old brother Andrew. “It nice to be able to show him what we do every day at school and for him to have that experience.”

Because this was the first year planning the event for Dupuis, she had a weight put on her shoulders after the inaugural event last year, planned by UWRF student Justina Deering.

“Justina Deering did such an amazing job last year with the Lil Sibs weekend, we just had to do it again this year,” said Dupuis.

Students and their siblings attending the event felt that it was a fun weekend together that allowed them to spend time together that they do not otherwise get to experience.

“I like being able to spend time with her because when I’m at school I don’t get to see her a lot,” said sophomore Alex Lawlor about 10-year-old sister Emily. 

Due to the recent death of a student on campus, event staff notified the parents of those attending the event before the weekend began. Staff sent an e-mail out to those parents informing them, but assured that the River Falls Police Department indicated that there was no concern of
threat to the general public, according to the e-mail.

Refunds were offered to those attending the event but there were no cancelations for the weekend.

“We felt it was very important to notify parents and participants. This tragedy is having an effect on our campus community and it was critical for the visiting families to be as informed as possible about the campus climate that they were visiting,” said Gerth.