MARSHALL - There was some extra bustle on campus at Southwest Minnesota State University this weekend - Mustang fans in the gymnasium bleachers, tour groups making the rounds past a group of kids lined up for some ice cream frozen with liquid nitrogen, courtesy of the university Chemistry Club. But there was a little more to it than that. Many of the visitors had come a long way to be with a child or other family member.
SMSU hosted a Family Day event on Saturday. The schedule included opportunities for both current and prospective students to share a meal with family members, catch a volleyball or football game or just spend time together.
"I think we came the farthest," said Dana Grimm. She and members of her family got up in the wee hours on Saturday to make the drive from Sigourney, Iowa to Marshall to visit student Alan Porter. "It takes seven hours and 45 minutes."
Photo by Deb Gau
Exploding balloons were part of the show put on by the SMSU Chemistry Club Saturday. Audience members Ryan Christian and Andrea Rothstein covered their ears before the bang.
The group arrived just in time for one of the day's events, a chemistry and physics show hosted by the Chemistry Club. Between the special visit and setting up some fiery displays for the show, Porter said, "Things really got busy around here."
The show was a hit with a lot of the younger audience members, including Clarissa and Michaelann Forder.
"I thought the Elephant Toothpaste trick was cool," Michaelann Forder said.
"I liked them all," Clarissa Forder said.
Members of the Forder family had traveled from Milbank, S.D., to Marshall to spend the day with graphic design student Rita Forder.
"It's nice. I'm glad they could come," Rita Forder said.
Besides having some quality time, some SMSU students and their families got together for practical purposes, too. Rita Forder said one stop on the campus tour for her family was the laundry room.
"We rearranged the dorm room, and later we're going shopping," said student Andrea Rothstein. But it was still good to get the family together, she said.
Andrea's mom, Lois Rothstein, said the visit would go beyond the university, too - she had family in the Milroy area.
"It was very good," the Rothsteins said of the program Saturday.