While laughter is far from absent on this campus, a higher pitched giggle, foreign to the college student for most of the year, could be heard throughout the dorm hallways this past weekend. “Despicable Me” was scheduled to play in the Connelly Cinema and cartoons were prominently displayed in the dining halls. This could mean but one thing: Little Wildcats Weekend.
Each year in January, Campus Activities Team provides an opportunity for Villanova students to spend a weekend with the younger siblings they had to leave behind in the fall. During this weekend, “little wildcats” get to see where their big brothers and sisters live and go to school while participating in fun sibling-geared activities.
The weekend kicked off with either an outing for bowling at Devon Lanes or ice-skating at Skatium.
“My little brother bowled his first strik,” freshman Laeka Brenninkmeyer says. “I taught him to ‘hashtag go cats’ and he did it after his bowl. It was so fun to get off campus with him.”
After a feature film in Connelly Cinema, the Friday festivities continued in the Connelly Center with a craft night. The activities highlighted at the event included karaoke, a make your own cookie station, a balloon artist, caricaturist and stuff a plush. Pizza and ice cream satisfied both the little wildcats and their older siblings.
“Craft night was adorable,” freshman Tasneem Maner says. “They really made an effort to make the entire Connelly Center a little kid-friendly fun zone. They had music as well as a great hospitable atmosphere.”
Students were invited to have their siblings stay with them in the residence halls Friday and Saturday nights.
“I loved that I could keep my brother with me the whole time,” Maner says. “It was so fun, like a college sleep over party. My brother got to experience college at an age-appropriate level.”
Saturday’s activities kicked off with a game day breakfast.
“I walked into the dining hall and saw what I presumed was a student run staff in ‘Despicable Me’ shirts,” Brenninkmeyer said. “Some of them were wearing blue overalls, which was hilarious. It looked like professors were joining in on the festivities with their children as kids ranging in ages of probably one and two to high-schoolers participated in crafts and games. I even saw a little one get ice cream for breakfast without his older sibling noticing. I’m sure he left with a good impression of the school.”
After some free down time with their siblings, the little wildcats were invited to watch the Villanova men’s basketball team beat Marquette at Belle Aire Terrace. While the Wildcat’s won in overtime, the Connelly Center played host to a myriad of activities such as face painting, basketball, games and giveaways. Once again, pizza was on the menu.
Saturday night, the kids participated in a carnival in the Villanova Room.
“My favorite part of the weekend was the carnival,” Maner says. “My brother and I got to ride around the Villanova Room, usually a room for serious college seminars and meetings, and race on tricycles.”
There was an inflatable obstacle course, basketball shootout competition, photo booth, live DJ, giant tricycles, balloon artists and tables set up with board games and coloring activities.
“It was really fun to see everyone in a different environment, interacting with all the little kids and playing games,” freshman Kasey Lynch says.
A showing of “Despicable Me 2” in the Connelly Cinema concluded the day’s festivities and sent the kids off to bed exhausted from a day of entertainment and activity.
The weekend came to a close with a Mass at St. Thomas of Villanova Church where families were reunited and siblings passed back on to parents. The presider for the mass was University President Rev. Peter Donohue, O.S.A. The service was more noisy than usual as small children babbled throughout the Mass. During Communion, Donohue could be seen blessing the little wildcats.
“My little brother had an amazing time,” freshman Joe Steccato says. “He said he loved meeting all my friends and can’t wait to come back.”
Another Little Wildcats weekend successfully comes to a close as Villanova sends home some satisfied little wildcats, who will maybe attend the University themselves.