By: Christina Hofer
The visitors on campus this Friday will be a few years older than the typical prospective student. Goshen College’s first “Grandparent’s Day” will be held this Friday and Saturday and will offer activities such as a special chapel service, campus tours, presentations by GC faculty and multiple opportunities to experience a normal day at Goshen College.
Rose Shetler, Director of Giving and Operations Manager, is the primary catalyst that headed up this event. As part of her work, Shetler had attended several conferences and workshops in the area, including one in which a faculty member from Taylor University spoke on the success of Grandparent’s Day at that institution. Inspired by the overwhelmingly positive response from other schools, Shetler decided to push forward with the idea, organizing “brainstorming sessions” to develop it further. According to Shetler, the idea of a “Grandparent’s Day” had been talked about for many years at GC, but until this past year, no one had carried through with the idea.
“The purpose is [for grandparents] to recognize the impact that they have on the younger generation and honor their relationship with their grandchildren,” explained Shetler.
“Secondly,” Shetler continued, “it is to get them more engaged with what is happening on campus.”
To allow them to be more engaged, the college has planned optional activities that will give the visitors the opportunity to spend time with their grandchildren, but also to experience Goshen College.
Following a continental breakfast, the grandparents will be honored guests at Friday morning’s chapel service. A Parables number and a meditation by President James Brenneman will highlight the service. After chapel, a President’s Reception will give grandparents an opportunity to meet President Brenneman and take a picture with the president and their grandchild.
After lunch in the West Lawn cafeteria, the rest of the afternoon is open for the guests to tour campus, attend class or spend time with their grandchildren and attend special faculty presentations.
“Hopefully they’ll get a little bit of insight into some of the things their grandchildren do on campus,” said Michelle Horning, Professor of Accounting and manager of Java Junction.
Horning is one of five faculty members presenting this weekend. Her lecture entitled “Learning Business by Doing Business” will focus on the students’ involvement with and operation of Java Junction.
“We run that as a class in the business department,” said Horning, emphasizing that the concept is unique to Goshen College.
Horning will be talking about Java Junction as a learning experience for the students, taking the opportunity to answer questions for grandparents who may or may not have grandchildren involved with the business.
Glenn Gilbert, Utilities Manager and Sustainability Coordinator for GC, will address Goshen’s sustainability efforts in his presentation entitled “Reducing GC’s Carbon Footprint.”
“[The grandparents] come from such a different perspective than students today in terms of awareness,” said Gilbert, who is especially interested in connecting present concerns about sustainability to the past.
“I want to address the decisions made then [that] affect us today,” said Gilbert.
In addition to talking about sustainability relating to our past, Gilbert hopes to
talk about the president’s commitment to the environment and help people understand the definition and meaning behind our “carbon footprint.”
Although Goshen College’s first Grandparent’s Day is supported through the collaboration of many GC faculty members and additional help, the primary effort has been led by Shetler, and she couldn’t be more pleased with how the event is turning out.
“We thought we would call it successful if we would have 30 or 40 [grandparents], said Shetler, continuing on to say that around 100 visitors from a variety of locations would be on campus Friday — Michigan, Kansas, Arkansas, and Colorado, to name a few.
From classes to presentations, and orchestra concerts to basketball games, visiting grandparents will certainly not be bored during their visit. If all turns out as well as expected, Grandparent’s Day may become an annual event.