Smile! It’ll be GCU’s biggest Family Weekend ever

October 09, 2019 / by / 1 Comment
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Family members will want a selfie with loved ones at GCU on a Family Weekend full of activities to document.

By Mike Kilen
GCU News Bureau

It’s not a shock to Robyn Hord that 7,000 have signed up for Family Weekend. It has grown each year since its 2013 inception.

“People just love GCU and they love to come to Phoenix, which is a great place to visit in October, let’s be honest, especially if you are from the northern states,” said Hord, GCU’s Parent and Family Programs Coordinator in the Office of Welcome Programs.

The Friday-Sunday weekend of festivities range from hiking and golf to guided campus tours, from a men’s soccer game to family bowling and karaoke, from Chapel to family contests for prizes.

It’s all about reconnecting with family.

“We place it six weeks out from the start of school because it’s typically when students and parents want to see each other again,” Hord said.

“We want parents to come and experience the community at GCU and what we really do here. We put out the welcome mat for them, per say, to just have a great time.”

Family Weekend is six weeks from the start of the academic year because “typically when students and parents want to see each other again,” said Robyn Hord, Parent and Family Programs Coordinator.

Popular events are the opening night GCU sports event – this year it’s a men’s soccer tailgate at 5:30 p.m., game at 7 p.m. – Saturday’s 10:15 a.m. Chapel Worship and Presidential Address, and the 8 p.m. Saturday Movie on the Lawn (this year, “Toy Story 4”).

There will be new events, too, or new twists on popular ones.

The zany Thunder Bolt, a 60-second shopping spree at Lope Shop, has been a fun contest, but this year it gets real competitive in earning a place in the 3:30 p.m. Saturday drawing on the Student Union Promenade.

Competitors who snag 3,000 points on the Tour de Thunder Bolt will be in the drawing. Using an app set up upon Family Weekend check-in, competitors take photos and submit hashtags while fulfilling the “missions” in the competition around campus.

“It’s an opportunity for parents to see things on campus they haven’t seen before,” Hord said. “It mixes a lot of academic things as well as the Canyon Activities Center and its climbing wall, where parents can purchase passes for their children.”

Another new event is Guided Prayer Tours on both Friday and Saturday at 2 p.m.

Student leaders put together a tour of campus, stopping at different venues to pray for the student body.

The idea for it was borne of a new program emerging across the country. The Lopes Family Prayer Groups are monthly meetings of family members of GCU students, bringing together parents in similar geographic areas. The guided tour will support that emerging effort.

Family Weekend activities can get a little zany.

“It’s important for parents to see places vital to student life and understand and know how to pray for the student body on an ongoing basis,” Hord said.

On a different note entirely, look for a surprise outside the Student Union about 5 p.m. Friday, before the soccer tailgate.

Grand Canyon University senior writer Mike Kilen can be reached at mike.kilen@gcu.edu or at 602-639-6764.

FAMILY WEEKEND EVENTS

Friday, Oct. 11

7 a.m., Family Golf Tournament, GCU Golf Course

10 a.m.-8 p.m., Family Weekend Check-in, Student Union Promenade

10 a.m.-4 p.m., Family Lounge, Thunder Alley

Noon-4 p.m., Family Bowling and Karaoke, Thunderground

2-3 p.m., Guided Prayer Tours, Prayer Chapel

4 p.m., Cocktail Demo, Canyon 49

5:30 p.m., Men’s Soccer Game Tailgate, outside GCU Stadium

7 p.m., Men’s Soccer Game, GCU Stadium

7:30 p.m., College of Fine Arts and Production presents “Arms and the Man,” Ethington Theatre

Other facilities: Fitness Centers at Juniper (building 84) and Papago (building 48) are open from 6 a.m.-noon; campus eateries open from 7 a.m.-11 p.m. and Lope Shop, 8 a.m.-7 p.m.; family golf tee times are available at GCU Golf Course by calling 623-846-4022.

Saturday, Oct. 12

6 a.m.-5 p.m., Family Weekend Check-in, Student Union Promenade

6-8 a.m., Family Hike, Camelback Mountain

10:15 a.m., Chapel Worship and Presidential Address. (Doors and refreshments, 9:30 a.m.)

11 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Family Weekend Market (student vendors and performances), Student Union Promenade

11 a.m.-4 p.m., Family Lounge, Thunder Alley

2-3 p.m., Guided Prayer Tours, Prayer Chapel

Noon-4 p.m., Family Bowling and Karaoke, Thunderground

Noon-3 p.m., Lil’ Lopes Cheer and Dance Clinic, Lopes Performance Center

3 p.m., Lil’ Lopes Cheer and Dance Performance, Student Union Promenade

3:30 p.m., Thunder Bolt Drawing, Student Union Promenade

4 p.m. Cooking Class, Canyon 49

4 p.m. The Family Feud Event (hosted by Multicultural Office), Thunderground

7 p.m., Family Meet and Greet, Grove Lawn

8 p.m., Movie on the Lawn, Grove Lawn

7:30 p.m., College of Fine Arts and Production’ presents “Arms and the Man,” Ethington Theatre

Other facilities hours: Fitness Centers at Juniper (building 84) and Papago (building 48) are open from 8 a.m.-noon; campus eateries open from 7 a.m.-11 p.m. and Lope Shop, 8 a.m.-7 p.m.; family golf tee times are available at GCU Golf Course by calling 623-846-4022.

Sunday, Oct. 13

Morning, Church with your student, various locations/times.

2 p.m., College of Fine Arts and Production presents “Arms and the Man,” Ethington Theatre

Other facilities hours: Fitness Centers at Juniper (building 84) and Papago (building 48) are open from 8 a.m.-noon; campus eateries open from 7 a.m.-11 p.m. and Lope Shop, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; family golf tee times are available at GCU Golf Course by calling 623-846-4022.


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  1. Michelle White

    Super excited to be at Family Weekend our 2nd year in a row!! This year we are bringing the grandparents…yay!!
    Wondering how we can participate in family fued on Saturday?

    Oct.10.2019 at 5:47 am
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