The anticipated Meliora Weekend contributes three days of University sponsored excitement and celebrations meant for parents, alumni and students alike. The weekend not only hosts eminent keynote speakers and comedians, but dozens of events also fill nearly every available hour and provide the school community with entertainment that boosts students’ morale for weeks to come.
For the fall semester, Meliora Weekend is perhaps the greatest weekend highlight available. However, it leads one to wonder why the University provides one combined weekend for alumni, parents and students, and does not follow the usual model of providing several highlight weekends instead.
Whereas many schools have separate homecoming, alumni and parent weekends, Meliora Weekend is a unique conglomeration of all three. As one unit, does Meliora Weekend divest the student body of benefits other schools supply throughout the entire semester? Or does the one-weekend wonder contribute more to the University community than a system of featured weekends?
Perhaps the largest complaint circulating about Meliora Weekend is the student body’s observation of the school’s sudden face-lift, perceived as an attempt to display the school in the best light possible for one weekend before slipping back into its usual state. With new paint jobs on the doors, sudden increase of palatable food in the dining centers — the preparations are a noticeable addition that, perhaps due to their volume, are more visible than at other times of the year. With the tongue-in-cheek grumbling about the school’s attention to its appearance to impress the visiting community, what then could be the pluses of following the other universities’ models, and providing several significant weekends in lieu of one big blowout? If such major events were split up, theoretically one could commit more resources to making weekends more specific to the events featured.
In contrast, as it is now, Meliora Weekend is perhaps second only to Dandelion Day on the UR calendar as being a noteworthy campus-wide celebration. The three-day extravaganza provides student entertainment, lectures, performances and catered meals — moreover, it is a morale booster for the whole campus.
The one-weekend system allows all facets of the University community to represent themselves, and gives alumni and parent visitors a representation of campus at its best.
For any school system, alumni are a targeted group for the University to ask for funding. A large weekend providing them an experience to reminisce about their school days and appreciate the current University community as a whole is often a more effective method to open checkbooks, rather than the usual dinner time telemarketing technique.
In addition, UR is not particularly known for its athletics, and having a separate homecoming weekend may even be detrimental to the representation of the University community. Having the homecoming game as an accessory to the whole weekend lets the sports community represent itself in equal standing to other student groups and performances — overall, contributing to the diversity that UR is known and appreciated for.
So then, it leads to the question of which system is better? Whatever the personal choice, the upcoming Meliora Weekend is no doubt going to offer the usual joy and excitement associated with a weekend of free food and good entertainment. Whether one prefers a one-hit wonder system or a staggered system of collegiate obligations, the weekend as it is will no doubt be a hit amongst all who experience it.