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Grandparents University provides bonding experience for both old and new generations


While many students graduate and leave Central Michigan University for good, some return later in life to encourage relatives to consider enrolling in classes.

The CMU Alumni Association is hosting its 7th annual Grandparents University this summer. The event, scheduled for June 18-20, is an opportunity for CMU alumni and their grandchildren to experience all campus has to offer.

Associate Director of Alumni Relations Anne Sanders said the event was created to bring alumni back to campus.

"It began in 2007 when we started researching the idea followed by our first actual event in 2008," she said. "We visited Michigan State University who was conducting a Grandparents University event prior to us and talked to them and got ideas on how we could make something similar successful here at CMU."

The three-day event is a time for grandparents and their grandchildren to have hands on educational sessions conducted by faculty members along with other activities, according to the Alumni Association website.

Participants live like college students, dining and sleeping in the residence hall and attending classes. The fun doesn't end after class either.

"In the evening the participants utilize the student activity center for bowling. swimming, watching movies and playing games," Sanders said. "We try to make this a full college experience and showcase all that CMU has to offer."

Classes are chosen based on order of preferences provided by the participants. All classes are taught by CMU faculty and professionals.

According to the Alumni Association website, classes offered include: "Paws in Action," "Bug Eyed: Things in the Scanning Electron Microscope," "Backstage at Bush Theater" and more to be announced as the event gets closer.

Executive Director of Alumni Relations Marcie Otteman said the event is a wonderful bonding experience for the different generations.

"We hope the grandparents enjoy the experience of being back at their alma mater and sharing that with their grandchildren," she said. "I’m not sure who has more fun, the kids or the grandparents."

Participants interested in attending can register online at CMU's Alumni Association website and clicking on the Engage tab. Registration costs $175 for adults and $150 for children ages 8 to 12, and is open until April 30.

"It is wonderful to see the joy both in the grandparents and grandchildren as they leave the event," Otteman said. "You can tell they have created memories that will last a lifetime. We’re just very lucky to be a part of that experience and to offer the avenue for such a lasting experience for all"