Saturday, July 20

Parents experience college life in UCLA during Bruin Family Weekend

Three-year-old Bennett Hively and his mother  played with the Bruin statue in Bruin Plaza outside Ackerman Student Union during Bruin Family Weekend held at UCLA. (Daniel Leibowitz/Daily Bruin)

Three-year-old Bennett Hively and his mother played with the Bruin statue in Bruin Plaza outside Ackerman Student Union during Bruin Family Weekend held at UCLA. (Daniel Leibowitz/Daily Bruin)

Rolando Morales smiled at his daughter and observed the grandeur of Kerckhoff patio and Moore Hall.

Morales wanted to attend UCLA after high school, but did not have the resources, he said. He was proud when his daughter got accepted into UCLA.

Morales attended Bruin Family Weekend to visit his daughter, Gabrielle Morales, a first-year undeclared student.

During the three-day weekend event, tents barricaded the top of Janss Steps, balloons were sprinkled across campus and yellow bags swung on hundreds of parents’ arms.

Bruin Family Weekend, which takes place every fall, costs $100 per person to attend.

[RELATED: Weekend familiarizes parents with UCLA campus, student life]

Family members participated in different activities throughout the weekend, including a 3.9-mile run around campus, free giveaways and presentations by UCLA faculty. Parents were also able to attend the homecoming UCLA vs. Utah football game, UCLA vs. Stanford men’s soccer game and a Brad Paisley concert at the Los Angeles Tennis Center.

Morales said he was excited to talk with the director of college academic counseling and one of the university’s deans.

“It was great getting firsthand knowledge and firsthand advice,” Rolando said. “We are excited to be in the Bruin family.”

Alicia Contreras, mother of first-year biology student Claudette Contreras, said she started a university program when she was younger, but dropped out to support her daughter after giving birth.

“It makes me so proud to see her go to a university, especially one as prestigious as UCLA,” she said.

Stephanie Nusenow, a third-year sociology student, and her father, Matthew Nusenow, attended Bruin Family Weekend. Families participated in runs around campus, listened to faculty speakers, went to the UCLA homecoming football game and a Brad Paisley concert. (Stella Huang/Daily Bruin)

Contreras’ family attended an Academic Advancement Program workshop on educational resources and financial aid options for disadvantaged students. AAP advises and tutors about 5,600 UCLA students from diverse backgrounds, including those who come from underrepresented communities and first-generation students.

Richard and Rebeca Cutz came to Bruin Family Weekend to visit their daughter, Odalys Cutz, a first-year international development studies student. Cutz is also a first-generation student.

“She’s the first in our family to even go to college, which is something we’re even more proud of,” Rebeca Cutz said. “I would have loved to come here as a university student.”

Rebeca Cutz said her family has visited the campus many times because they live close by.

“Each time it’s like visiting Disneyland,” she said. “Now that one of our children is actually going here it feels even more surreal.”

[Related: UCLA Parents’ Weekend 2014 a relative success]

Jean Larsen, whose granddaughter attends UCLA, said she felt lost on the large campus, but pedestrians on Bruin Walk helped her find UCLA landmarks she wanted to visit.

“Nobody walked away from me,” Larsen said. “You can’t beat the hospitality – (it) is wonderful.”

Larsen added she liked the cheerful campus ambience.

“Everyone feels at home, I know I do,” Larsen said. “Some places you could go and they could ignore you … but here, (there is) always a smile.”

Contributing reports from Emi Nakahara, Yiling Liu, Prateek Puri and Ashley Lanuza, Daily Bruin contributors.

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Features & Student Life editor

Ghosh is the assistant news editor for the Features & Student Life beat. She covers features on UCLA students, faculty and staff, obituaries, events on campus, Greek life and the Hill. She was previously a Features & Student Life news contributor and an opinion columnist.

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