Campus Activities Board, the Alumni Association and Campus Recreation worked together to bring back Tons of Fun, a family-friendly event for alumni, faculty, staff and students, after canceling last year due to COVID-19. The event included a bounce house, games and free food.

Lluvia Batres, a junior psychology major from Dodge City, Kansas, and head of the CAB’s family programming committee, said CAB generally hosts student-friendly events, but family programming focuses on events for student families.

“We do have families that live on campus, so we do events that reach out more towards them so they don’t feel left out while we do other activities,” Batres said. “[Tons of Fun] is open to students, families, the alumni families [and] staff families, and it’s just one night that they get a break, have fun and enjoy themselves.”

Batres said events such as Tons of Fun get student families more involved on campus.

“Instead of staying at their apartment all day, they get a break, go out, meet other families, have fun with other kids. It’s just a nice little break for everyone,” Batres said.

Nick Niemerg, assistant director of constituent relations for the Alumni Association, said the Alumni Association partnered with CAB and Campus Recreation a few years ago because they were looking for programming initiatives focused toward alumni with kids.

“We thought this was already a very well established event. We asked if we could chip in and help with it and it’s been great,” Niemerg said. “This is just a great opportunity to not only encourage a different type of alumni demographic you don’t normally see very often to come back to campus, but then to also interact with the students and the faculty and staff with their kids here too.”

Natalie Rosales-Hawkins, assistant director of recreational programs, said Campus Recreation helps with providing the facility for the event.

“We’ve had this event in here numerous years, and so we’ve helped with the marketing and pretty much the layout and the setup for the whole event, and it’s worked really well in this space. It’s just something that we continue to enjoy working with either CAB or Alumni Services,” Rosales-Hawkins said.

Rosales-Hawkins said campus is trying to get back to a sense of normalcy.

“We’re trying to continue to provide opportunities not only for students, but faculty and staff and our alumni to stay connected with SIUE,” Hawkins said. “So that’s why this is a great partnership between Campus Rec, Campus Activities Board and Alumni Services to come together to provide a family friendly event like this.”

Yan Qi, assistant professor of civil engineering, said her family attends Tons of Fun every year, and is excited to return after missing last year due to COVID-19.

“Because of COVID-19 we are missing some games,” Qi said. “I hope next year they all come back.”

Amanda McMurray, a graduate social work student from Wood River, Illinois, said her family is visiting from out of town and she wanted to have a good weekend with her little brother, who loves bounce houses. She said she thought Tons of Fun would be a safe place.

“I like that everyone has masks on. [It’s] a lot of fun. It’s like an open space so it can’t get any better for Friday night,” McMurray said.

Lora Johnson, who was previously an SIUE police officer and worked in human resources, said she attended Tons of Fun so her soon-to-be stepdaughter could have fun, and that she used to bring her kids when they were younger.

“It’s nice that we can have this kind of stuff again, even with COVID[-19] and what’s going on and everything that we can still have something like this to kind of have some sort of normalcy,” Johnson said.

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