UW-Whitewater Alumni attend classes with their grandchildren
WHITEWATER Teresa Faris, professor of art at UW-Whitewater, wasn’t sure what she was getting into, but after a brief meeting Friday with alumni grandparents and their grandchildren, she knew it would be a great day.
“This is the first time any of us on campus have done this, so we weren’t sure how it would go, but I see a great opportunity to work with grandparents and grandchildren to preserve family traditions,” Faris said.
“This is especially appropriate in metals art. The heirlooms we make today will outlive us all.”
Grandchildren’s University, a two-day event ending today, pairs UW-Whitewater alumni grandparents and their grandchildren ages 7 to 14 in a variety of classes, including geology, biology and media digital arts, in addition to metals art.
“We are seeing incredible projects, including trips to Whitewater Lake and Bluff Creek to study water quality and other environmental areas,” said Seth Meisel, associate dean of continuing education. “In other classes, they are making everything from a volcano to video presentations.”
UW-Whitewater borrowed an idea from UW-Madison, where Grandchildren’s University is an established program.
“It’s also very big at Michigan State,” Meisel said. “This is our first year, but we have received great response, and we are hoping we are establishing a tradition.”
Meisel said he sees two opportunities with the program.
“First of all, it’s an opportunity for grandparents to introduce their grandchildren to higher education,” he said. “And it’s great experience for our alumni. It would be great if the kids decided someday to attend our campus, but we’re just glad to see our alumni and their grandkids learning together.”
Meisel’s mother, Bette, was at the metals art class with her granddaughter, Gabi.
“We have decided to create something that reflects our family,” Bette said. “Gabi’s great grandfather was a rabbi, so we have started with a design of the Star of David, but where that will lead us we aren’t sure yet.
“It’s just a great opportunity to create something with Gabi that will be in our family for years to come.”