Temperatures were chilly, but the Elmhurst College campus was a hotbed of activity as several hundred students, staff, faculty and alumni took part in the College’s first Winter Weekend.
Between Thursday, March 8, and Saturday, March 10, the College showcased its versatility and celebrated its students by hosting the EC On the Rise talent show, the Presidents’ Ball and the President’s Community Breakfast on campus; and then by sending a large and enthusiastic College contingent and a green and gold trolley to participate in the City of Elmhurst’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Back on campus, actors gave their final performances of Life is a Dream at the Mill Theatre, and the College hosted meetings of the Alumni Board and the Board of Trustees.
“There was so much going on, day and night, and it was exciting to see so many students at all of the events,” said President Troy D. VanAken. “Whatever activity you attended, you had a great time—I know I did.”
Winter Weekend kicked off with the EC on the Rise talent show, where a dozen acts competed for cash prizes on a state-of-the-art performance stage, in the Faganel Hall gym. The performers included musicians, dancers and a standup comedian, and the winner turned out to be the first act of the evening—singer Matthew Cloud and a brassy big band performing the Sinatra classic World on a String.
On Friday evening, decked out in black and white dresses, suits and tuxedos, student organization presidents joined President VanAken in hosting the Presidents’ Black & White Ball. The cafeteria was transformed into a darkened ballroom with twinkling lights and a large dance floor that soon was jammed with students.
The next morning, the cafeteria was dressed for St. Patrick’s Day, with tables set for 200 local civic, business, community and campus leaders attending the 48th Annual President’s Community Breakfast. While updating attendees on the state of the College, President VanAken thanked the city, the park district, the school district, the business community and others for helping to create the kind of environment and opportunities that make the Elmhurst College experience exceptional for students.
From the breakfast, President VanAken and Dr. Annette VanAken joined 200 Elmhurst College students at the 22nd Annual Elmhurst St. Patrick’s Day Parade, one of the largest in the state. As the VanAkens rode by in a yellow Mustang convertible, a College trolley and 100 students, including dancers and cheerleaders, traveled the parade route while another 100 students helped out behind the scenes.
Emily Marquez ’20 attended EC on the Rise, the Presidents’ Ball and the parade. As vice president of Union Board and a leader of other student organizations, she goes to a lot of campus events and is used to seeing many of the same people. What surprised her about Winter Weekend was not only the size of the turnout at each event, but also all of the new faces.
“I never saw that many students come out to weekend events, including a lot of people I don’t normally see, so it was a great way to reach other student populations,” she said. “I think Winter Weekend went really well. It was super fun, and I liked how the larger scale of the events appealed to the entire campus body.”