April 3, 2017
Grandchildren are stars to many grandparents. This year, both generations can learn, seated side by side, about becoming TV news stars in one of nine courses offered during Grandparents University (GPU) at West Chester University. Grandparents do not have to be WCU alumni. Families check in Monday, June 26, and "graduate" on Wednesday, June 28.
Grandparents University is an opportunity for family members to learn alongside one another. For three days and two nights, participants live in one of the University's newest residence halls, share meals at Lawrence Dining Hall, attend interactive classes, explore campus, and enjoy evening entertainment and activities.
Grandparents and their grandchildren can choose from such courses as creating a taking better smartphone photos, dancing fun, being a radio DJ. In some classes, families will make take-home items like model planes and mini robots; in others, they'll learn about their own DNA or head outdoors and don helmets for the adventure course.
One of the most popular courses every year since the program began in 2010 is "How to Make Your Own Newscast," where both younger and older participants can be interviewer, anchor, camera operator, director and producer of a brief TV segment. The families love the interactive hands-on experience.
Communication studies professor Michael Boyle has taught the course since GPU's inception, changing its content every year. He speculates on why families gravitate to this course every year.
"On some level most people like to know how things work. There is a fascinating universe of things behind the scenes of any television production. Couple that with the fact that television and movies are such a central part of our lives, and you have an almost perfect combination."
Boyle says teaching this course each summer reminds him of time he spent learning carpentry from his grandfather, and the joy he felt learning to use the tools. "It really was a dual-learning experience. One piece was that I learned skills such as how to use a saw, hammer a nail without hitting my finger, or use sandpaper. The other piece was the time I got to spend with my grandfather where we were able to create great memories together."
GPU concludes on June 28 by 1 p.m. with a graduation ceremony complete with the awarding of diplomas to every "graduate." The rest of the family members are invited to this celebration.