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Senate Beat: Siblings Weekend preview

The ONU Student Senate will be hosting the first-ever Family and Siblings Weekend on Sept. 15-17. (Northern Review illustration/ Grant Pepper)

This weekend, approximately one thousand family members of Ohio Northern students will come to campus to enjoy a weekend of festivities.

There will be movies on the tundra, food trucks, live bands, magicians and more. In addition, attending the festivities will be free of charge.

The first ever Family and Siblings Weekend, hosted by the Student Senate and co-sponsored by the Student Planning Committee, Greek Life and Northern Christian Fellowship, however, could not be executed without the blood, sweat and tears of Senate forums secretary Derek Price.

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The project has been six months in the making, as Price presented the idea to Senate president Drew Goehmann and vice president Mary Komandt just one night after he was elected to his position last year. By the next day, Price had all the vendors for the weekend selected.

Price wanted Siblings Weekend to take the place of the previously Senate-sponsored annual concert, ‘Tunes on the Tundra,’ which brought Asher Roth to campus last fall. Price said that while there were many reasons for his desire to scrap the yearly concert, chief among them was financial.

Most concerts cost the Senate between $32,000 and $36,000 to put on, and Price said that “if we have 100 people show up it’s a good day.” In surveys to students, most requested that the Senate try to bring artists like Drake, Imagine Dragons, or Lil Dicky to ONU -- “which, yes, I would love to bring them to campus,” Price said, “But I also don’t have $3 million to book them.”

From 2016: 'Tunes on the Tundra' turns up despite change in plans

Siblings Weekend, however, fell well short of the concert’s typical $30,000 budget. While the Senate gave an initial $16,000 budget for the weekend, they recently raised it to $20,000 to accommodate the surplus of attendees.

“As this event has gotten bigger, we’ve decided that we really wanted to go all out,” Price said.

But the weekend’s updated $20,000 budget still pales in comparison to the annual concert’s, and this multi-day festival will attract more people to campus than ever before on one weekend.

“I think we got a lot more for our money,” Price said. “This is really just about bringing everybody out in the community together, and that’s where I think the concert failed.”

Future campus concert plans are not out of the question, however, as Price said that the Senate might use each year’s budget leftovers from Siblings Weekend to fund a concert with a more renowned artist. If they saved around $10,000 each year from Siblings Weekend, Senate could afford a $60,000 concert in approximately four years, Price said.

But Price, who admits that he enjoyed the recent concerts but says that they left much to be desired, would rather that not happen.

“I hope that Siblings Weekend does so well that they don’t ever want to have a concert again,” Price said. “But we’ll see.”

So far, the event is already surpassing expectations for the Senate. They estimated that ‘600 or 700’ family members would attend this weekend’s festival, but that registration number has surged to near 1,000 in the past week.

Those who visit campus this weekend will be allowed to park in any lot they choose, with no regulations, as if it were a move-in day. But between Ada’s Harvest & Herb Festival on Main Street (the parade begins at 10 a.m.), a home football game, Polar Preview Days and more all taking place on Saturday, parking for Siblings Weekend might be at a premium.

That is an issue, however, that Price said is out of his control.

“It’s going to be a little packed. But I can’t do anything about parking because it’s an issue to begin with, just with students on campus,” Price said. “It’ll be harder than usual but it’ll be OK.”

Price recommends that visiting families try to access campus without driving on Main Street, as it will be closed most of the day for the Harvest & Herb Festival.

The weekend’s festivities kick off at 8 p.m. on Friday with a movie on the tundra, which is sponsored by SPC. Here is the schedule for the weekend:

Price noted that one food truck will be barbecue and one will be desserts, and that they will serve snacking purposes and shouldn’t be relied on for full meals.

During the Student Senate Festival, from 4-9 p.m. on Saturday, there will be bouncy castles, opportunities to pie your siblings and more. The Hardin County ASPCA will be bringing dogs to the tundra for adoption as well.

While the weekend’s events -- which will almost entirely take place on the tundra -- will be dictated by the weather, both Saturday and Sunday are expected to be sunny with highs in the low-80s.

“I’m happy with it, it’ll just be interested to see how it all comes together,” Price said giddily on Thursday afternoon, just one day before his six months of planning will be put into action. “But I think we’ll be fine.”

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