It is Family Weekend at MU, meaning parents have flocked to Columbia for the first formal chance to visit their children. 

Many parents are accompanying their undergrads to the football game Saturday night, when Missouri takes on Southeast Missouri State. But this weekend also provides another bonding opportunity for families: shopping. 

On most game days, the MU Student Center is all but empty, save for a few extra-studious students. But on Family Weekend, the Mizzou Store in the Student Center is packed, students and parents alike picking out clothing items to rep MU. The shirts emblazoned with "Mizzou Mom" and "Mizzou Dad" are right in the middle of the store, and this weekend is their moment to shine.

The weekend is also a great opening for students to get their parents to pay for some new clothes.

Bill Holtmeyer is a Missouri State graduate, but his stepdaughter, Samantha, is a freshman at MU, studying psychology. He has a bag of clothes on the table where he is sitting.

"For sure, use it as an opportunity to buy clothes," Holtmeyer laughed.

The Holtmeyers won't be in Memorial Stadium when the Tigers take on the Redhawks with a 6:30 p.m. kickoff, but they will participate in another time-honored game day tradition. 

"We're going to tailgate," Holtmeyer said.

Holtmeyer and his wife, Stephanie, both attended Missouri State and now live in Springfield, Missouri. But his parents live in Columbia, so they visit often. When Missouri played Missouri State in 2017, Bill and Stephanie came up from Springfield to watch.

Stephanie has enjoyed her time at Family Weekend 2019 so far.

"We got to walk around campus and see where all (Samantha's) classes are," she said. "We're going to go to the tailgating this evening. We are taking part in lots of the activities."

Aside from game day festivities, this weekend allows parents to learn more about the educational opportunities the school offers. Saturday's schedule includes different open houses, including one with Chancellor Alexander Cartwright, an "official" Family Weekend tailgate on Tiger Avenue and a screening of the film "Avengers: Endgame." Football is certainly not the only draw of this weekend.

"I just got out of a study abroad meeting that (her son) is interested in," said Amy Salka, whose son Jacob is a sophomore at MU. "I had an open house and a 'Parent 101' meeting, so asking questions and finding out more about that."

Salka isn't going to the game, either, but she might do a little tailgating before she heads home.

So while the Tigers' football team does bring people into Columbia from out of town, Family Weekend gives parents another reason to visit the city: the love for their children.

  • Liam Quinn is covering Missouri football. He is a senior from New Jersey studying magazine journalism.

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