Stillwater News Press

June 17, 2014

Grandparents U coming to Oklahoma State this week

By Merrick Eagleton
Stillwater News Press

STILLWATER, Okla. — Grandparents and grandchildren will attend college together starting Wednesday at Oklahoma State University. Pairs will live on campus, learn in OSU classrooms and graduate with a degree in one of eight majors at the end of the three-day program. Director of Student Programs Melisa Parkerson discusses Grandparent U.

1 What is Grandparent U? How does the program work?

Grandparent U is our summer camp we provide to grandparents and their grandchildren. It’s a unique intergeneration learning experience. They get to learn side by side in different majors all across campus. There are majors from all colleges and faculty and staff teach. Some graduate students assist the faculty in preparing those.

2 What is the purpose of this program? Why was it started?

It’s really to showcase OSU and its fine faculty to what we hope to be the next generation of OSU students, as well as give insight to alumni as to where the university is going. It’s a very unique experience to have grandparents learn side by side with grandchildren. We love that our faculty really get involved with this. We have found that so many kids don’t really know what all is available in college..

3 Why are there two sessions for Grandparent U?

We grew beyond one session. In the past we’ve had a little over 200 per session. We’re trying out 250 this year to see how it goes. To keep it beneficial to our guests and make the experience the best we can that’s about our max. We’ve grown every year and added more majors. Between the two sessions we’ll have 520 people.

4 What activities are there besides what is done in the classroom?

We consider it a full college experience. Wednesday is more of the social day. It’s similar to welcome week of college. They get to meet their roommates, get to know the campus. We have a fruit frenzy to give our guests a chance to get to know each other. We start off Thursday morning with an opening session like freshman orientation. They’ll get to eat in the dorms, so they’ll get the full dorm life experience. Thursday we have a tailgate party. We have cheer and pom and Pete all here to meet the kids and grandparents. They can do a scavenger hunt on the way back to the dorms. Friday they’ll have a graduation where they cross the stage and get their certificate. Parents and family can come watch.

5 How are majors assigned to participants?

We fill the majors by a lottery system. We used to do a call-in system. Last year we filled up within about a minute. This year you submit your application after we put the info out, and we literally drew names out of a bucket.