Family Fun and a Wet Weekend
When I talk to prospective students on overnights or curious friends or family, I sometimes get good-natured questions about Case Western that I can't help but find funny.
Questions like "You're Greek? Doesn't all that partying hurt your GPA?" or "Don't you feel nervous walking around campus at night?" or even "Case has a theater program?!" all make me smile and shake my head a little. They do serve as teachable moments; I can always reply by saying "Actually, Greeks at Case have a GPA above the all-campus average" or "I usually feel pretty safe, because campus police is just a phone call away, and Safe Ride is always there if I need it" or "Yep, they just put on The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told". But the best way to show parents or prospective students what CWRU is like is to bring them here and show them...and that's why I love Family Weekend.
This past weekend was Family Weekend at CWRU. Students were encouraged to bring their parents, siblings, and other family members to a number of events sponsored by Greek Life, RHA, and other campus organizations. There was a carnival on Saturday where I volunteered (we handed out pumpkin seeds and punch, and played games at some of the other booths) as well as a football game in the wet, sleety weather that early November has brought to Cleveland. My favorite part of family weekend, though, is when students bring their parents to events that they normally attend on a Saturday night. Enter 30 in 60 and IMPROVment's Alumni show.
For those who are curious, Case does have a theater program. And it's awesome. Every time I see a production at Case, I'm reminded that we're not just an engineering school; we really do have incredible programs in the humanities, too.
The Players Theater Group at CWRU performed 30 in 60 this weekend, a project in which students wrote 30 short plays and bet the audience that they could finish them all in 30 minutes. If the timer runs down and they're not done, the audience would receive their admittance fee back. They finished ours with time to spare - 4 minutes left on the clock. The plays ranged from strikingly funny, to thoughtful, to sweet, and each one of them was vastly entertaining. The audience driven show (the order of the plays was determined by who could shout the number they wanted to see the loudest) kept both the audience and the actors on their toes, and made for a really special performance.
Directly following that was the IMPROVment Alumni show, probably my favorite event during family weekend. For those who don't know or need a refresher, IMPROVment is Case's student improv comedy group; everything they perform each week is totally off the top of their heads and driven by suggestions from the audience. For this show, a number of alumni returned to perform in the Black Box Theater one more time, and they didn't disappoint. The alums returned with some fresh sketch comedy that was hilarious (and, I admit, probably made some of the parents in the audience blush) as well as their own improv talents. The show was a miraculously long two hours, and kneeling on the floor in the packed Black Box was worth every second of it, especially when someone's aunt was serenaded during one of the games.
Family Weekend is only one of the ways that people can get to know Case, but it's certainly a fun one. I think it emphasizes my biggest piece of advice in finding a school that's right for you, though; as much as websites, pamphlets, tours and photos are great, you can't really know how well you'd fit at a school until you've really spent time there. So come to an overnight, stay in Cleveland a while, and have some fun at CWRU while you're at it. Who knows? Maybe you'll feel right at home.