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Juniors' Parents Storm Campus


By Barbara E. Martinez

Hundreds of Baby Boomers descended on their progeny yesterday for the start of Junior Parents Weekend.

The folks enjoyed events like lectures, panels and open houses, all sponsored by the Junior Parents Weekend committee, and Harvard institutions opened their doors to parents.

"We've been to the labs, the natural history museum, places people don't usually go," said New Hampshirite Mary Swanson, mother of Lisa G. Swanson '98. "We ate at Loker--it was great! The coffee shop was wonderful. Afterwards we went to B.S. 11. I really liked the professor."

The library offered a special reception and tour for parents. "I enjoyed learning more about the University and its history," said parent Barbara Adams. "I wanted to stow away in the library!"

Yesterday afternoon the Office of Career Services (OCS) sponsored a panel for parents which discussed how students can plan for life after Harvard.

"The OCS lecture gave us a taste of what resources the College has to help students after graduation," said Richard Wells of Lexington, MA.

But many parents said their favorite activities were those that gave them a taste of their children's life at Harvard.

"We came to see our daughter and her environment," said Dickie Cupp, another California parent.

Tom Barrett, a parent from Brigantine, N.J., said he was impressed with his son's full schedule.

"We got to see how busy the students really are," he said while sipping tea at an Adams House reception. "It shows how many opportunities the University provides for them."

Parents from close by Harvard enjoyed the opportunity to see how students live at the College that is also a part of their community.

"Living so close gives us an advantage," said Bostonian Robert P. Dunford. "Having a student here has opened up a lot of doors. Meeting her roommates and hearing about her activities has helped us get a lot more out of the University than we did before."

Sadie H. Sanchez '98, a Crimson reporter, headed the Junior Parents' Weekend student committee.

"The weekend is designed to give parents a taste of what we're doing and where we're going," she said. "We will show them what a Harvard student is doing now versus 50 years ago."

Sanchez said finding Faculty members to speak was one of the committee's greatest challenges.

"They are very busy. It is hard to get a hold of a Faculty member who has the time to prepare an interesting speech," she said. "We have aimed at a diverse group of parents. Things which interest my parents may not interest other parents. We had to focus on the professors that would give a speech aimed at a wide audience."

And are Sanchez's parents enjoying the weekend? "My parents are being dragged all around because I have so many people to talk to," Sanchez said. "But the Winthrop House dinner last night was nice and intimate. My mom got to see how I live."

For students--even those outside the Junior class--the weekend is an opportunity to enjoy the wisdom of an older generation. "It's enormously entertaining to watch multitudes of wide-eyed parents make a general inspection of their grand investment," said C. Thomas Brown '99.

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