For many, camp is an integral part of any summer experience and the Big Ten is no different. But the LiveBIG camping experience is more than just tents, bug juice and campfire songs; it brings together generations, challenges minds and even hits the high seas. Over the new few months, we’ll bring you stories of how your Big Ten school spends its summer vacation.
At first glance, Michigan State’s Grandparents University (which runs from June 27th to June 29th) sounds like a sequel to the University-of-Wisconsin-set Back to School: grandparents and their grandchildren – generally ages 8 to 12 – experience the life on-campus: attending classes, sleeping in dorms, dining in the cafeteria and generally enjoying a Spartan summer.
But once you dig into it, you find that, unlike the film, Grandparents University is intended to strengthen alumni ties and provide an enriching educational experience. (And, also unlike the film, it does not involve Sally Kellerman.)
In its 11th year, Grandparents University began as “as a joint initiative of the alumni associations from the College of Natural Science, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the School of Packaging” according to MSU. Since then, it has expanded to include nine different alumni relations groups, from engineering and agriculture to music and social science.
Classes are the backbone of the three-day experience and the offerings reflect the holistic education available at MSU: Japanese culture and sushi rolling, engineering design, archaeology, engineering, nursing and even ukulele are on offer.
Since it’s summer, classes also venture into the great outdoors. Students of all ages can spend time in the Bug House, learn how to attract butterflies to their gardens, explore the forest or venture into entrepreneurship with a lemonade stand business.
Most importantly, it’s an opportunity for two generations to spend more time together and prove that no matter what age you are there’s still plenty to learn.