What better way to draw a crowd than free food? On Friday night, Union College celebrated its 125th birthday with a celebratory picnic. As it was also Parents Weekend, the canopy was filled with reconnecting families.
Blue and white balloons dotted more than 100 tables, while chandeliers hung from the support posts. The tables were covered with traditional checkered tablecloths and held individual veggies and dip, along with a variety of cakes to be enjoyed after the meal.
Table groups were systematically dismissed to get supper; families were able to catch up with one another while they waited. The happy chatter began to die down as mouths were soon being stuffed with delicious food.
As plates began to empty, students and their parents were gifted with stories from years past. From tales of the infamous mud on the first day of classes to recaps of campus fires, Union’s history was passed on to another generation of students.
The Unionaires led a singing of “Happy Birthday,” and then graced the audience with a beautiful rendition of “Praise the Lord.” Nebraska State Senator, Kate Bolz, commented on the bright light that Union is in the community.
After some reflections on the strengths of Union students—engagement, practical skills, and an authentic spiritual environment—there was a drawing for gift cards. After the happy parties received their cards, members of ASB led the audience in singing “Slinga de Ink.”
The evening concluded with a benediction and the announcement that any leftover cake could be taken home. With free t-shirts and pens also floating around, everyone left the picnic with a smile and a full stomach.
As the evening drew to a close, I asked students how the event went:
“I had fun. The food was great, and my parents really enjoyed being there. I liked the time-period clothing and learning about the college through the decades.”
“I first came for the free food, but ended up enjoying the service … and the cake.”
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Senator Deb Fisher as attending the event and commenting. The article has been edited to reflect correction as the comment being from Senator Kate Bolz who was actually in attendance.
Autumn Mott is a sophomore studying communication