February 22, 2010
College students welcome their younger siblings
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
SUNY Cortland freshman Kara Silverman, right, and her 8-year-old niece Sedona Bromberg, left, spend Saturday together at the Siblings Weekend carnival in Corey Union.
Faith Hand awoke at 8 a.m. Saturday in the SUNY Cortland residence hall room shared by her older sisters, Amber and Emily, and made sure they got up too.
While that is a bit early for college students on a Saturday morning, the freshman twins did not mind having Faith, who is 6, tell them it was time to get up and then ask to watch the movie “Shrek 3” on DVD.
“She’s watched it twice today, she’s only seen it about 500 times,” said Emily, smiling at her little sister after Faith had a flower painted on her right cheek.
The three sisters from Waverly, in Tioga County, were at the college’s Corey Union Function Room for a carnival celebrating Siblings Weekend, an annual event where SUNY Cortland students can invite siblings ages 6 to 16 to campus.
The students and their siblings could bounce through an inflated tunnel, try throwing events, try crafts, have their faces painted and have a wax glove of their hand made. Music pumped through the room as students tried to entertain their sisters and brothers.
The idea is for the students to see younger sisters and brothers they might not see for weeks or months while at college — and for the siblings to see them.
Mary Kate Boland, the college official who managed the two-day event with members of the Student Activities Board, said the weekend provides a counterpoint to Family Weekend, the fall event where parents come to campus to see students.
“It’s a chance for them to spend time together,” said Boland, assistant director of leadership and community development. She said 175 student siblings registered for the weekend, staying with the students in residence halls.
Some SUNY Cortland students had two or three siblings with them. In most cases, parents brought the siblings to Cortland and then spent the day by themselves in the area.
“One set of parents told me they were going to a spa in Ithaca for the day, like a little vacation,” Boland said.
Besides the carnival, Saturday’s events included a dinner of hamburgers, hot dogs, fruit salad and macaroni and cheese at Corey Union, and ice skating in the dark, with glowing items to wear, at Alumni Arena.
The Hand twins said Faith liked staying in their room at Fitzgerald Hall.
“She really likes to visit us,” Amber Hand said.
Tyler Evans, a sophomore from Medina, watched with a smile as his brother Nathan Sherman, 7, had a New York Yankees emblem painted on his right cheek and Yankee first baseman Derek Jeter’s last name and jersey No. 2 painted on his left cheek.
“My brother Lucas Evans, who is 15, visited me on this weekend last year,” Evans said. “He loved it. This is Nathan’s first time here. I’m just so close with all my siblings, it’s great to have him here and it’s a nice thing to do.”
Evans has an older sister, Kayla Evans, a SUNY Cortland junior, and another brother, Ian Evans, 8.
“Nathan got here this morning, so he’ll stay tonight in my suite at Higgins Hall,” Evans said. “I live with five other guys. They’re all the youngest in their families, and they wish they had younger siblings, so they’ll be glad to have him stay with me.”
Kristina Borgesi, a freshman from Floral Park, Long Island, brought her brother Michael, 6, to the popcorn and cotton candy carts. She said he had stayed at her room in Hendricks Hall. Her roommate, Jacklyn Dowd of Seaford, Long Island, was serving as host for her own 15-year-old sister.
“Michael wanted to come up here,” Borgesi said, adding that her parents were staying at a Cortland hotel and spending Saturday in the area.
Devon Santamaria, 12, from Deposit, was restless to find the most entertaining event in the room with his sister Brandy Warner, a sophomore. He thought he might try bouncing through the inflated tunnel.
“I saw a flyer for this and thought he’d like it,” Warner said. She had driven home to get Devon and then had him stay Friday night at her West Campus apartment, which she shares with three roommates.
She said Friday night was fairly calm, as two of her roommates had to work.
The wax hand activity required people to soak their hand in ice and then dip it in wax, producing a wax model of the hand. Warner chose to have hers show a two-fingered peace or victory symbol.
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