The planning for Celebration Weekend has been going on all year, and is the culmination of meticulous preparation by students, faculty, administrators and campus staff. "This is a very collaborative weekend," Associate Director of Alumni and Parent Relations Nathan Soland said.
Throughout this process, Soland has worked with several campus outlets to plan out the logistical operations for the weekend; media services, the facilities office, campus departments and the Office of Residential Life have all been contacted to help out with Celebration Weekend. Soland also commented that constant communication among campus networks has been essential for assuring the weekend's success.
Celebration Weekend is also dependent upon the efforts of student workers and assistants. Preparation has been underway throughout the semester, with students holding several meetings to further solidify event details. When the weekend commences, student workers and assistants will help the campus staff execute events as planned. "We are the support and hands of the staff and are here to provide service with a smile," Rebecca Dyer '09 said.
During the weekend, student workers will help staff with performing various tasks which could include preparing the residence halls for alumni guests or taking photographs of banquet functions or award ceremonies. Student Assistants work more closely with the Alumni and Parent Relations Office and provide assistance by coordinating student workers, setting up events, and ensuring that each guest has a good experience on campus.
The level of commitment expected by students throughout the weekend is considerable. "A given day is crazy. Sometimes our day starts at 4:30 a.m. and doesn't end until 11:00 p.m.," Ishanaa Rambachan '08 said.
Students, however, have said that the extended effort is worth it. "It is gratifying to know that you're helping to make their day special," Rambachan said. Maggie Matson '08, another Student Assistant, described her role in Celebration Weekend as being tremendously fulfilling. "Celebration Weekend reinforces why I'm here. It shows that the community lives on," Matson said.
For Dyer, the fulfillment of Celebration Weekend comes when she is able to meet with previous Oles. "It is so much fun to meet with the alumni, to see how excited they are to be reunited with one another, and to hear stories exchanged of where life has taken them since their college years," Dyer said.
The importance of Celebration Weekend extends beyond the number of events planned. Soland noted the importance of reinforcing the spirit of St. Olaf throughout Celebration Weekend. "It is important that students see that St. Olaf is always a part of them, no matter if they're graduating or if they're coming back for their 70th class reunion." Soland also stated that Celebration Weekend is about the time you spend with your family and friends. "In the end," he said, "that's what needs to be most celebrated."
More information about Celebration Weekend can be obtained from the St. Olaf website.