Five hundred Lil’ Sibs visit campus

By Laurel Marselle

Friday evening, senior biology major Becky Powers could be found with four of her nieces braiding each other’s hair in her residence hall room.

Powers has brought her nieces and nephews to visit for Lil’ Sibs weekend every year she has been enrolled at NIU. This weekend she had seven of them, ranging in ages from five to 16, staying in her room, she said.

During downtime, Powers kept the kids occupied by organizing activities, such as a makeshift twister game with colored pieces of paper and a Kool-Aid juice box as a spinner.

She also came up with a scavenger hunt where they had to search for things in her room, Powers said.

Lil’ Sibs weekend has been an NIU tradition for at least 10 years, said Leslie Cihock, programming vice president of the Residence Hall Association.

About 500 lil’ sibs stayed throughout the weekend and close to 80 students volunteered. Cihock said she started planning for the weekend in December.

This year’s activities included a dance, a carnival/Believing In Culture barbeque, a performance by NIU gymnastics club, a casino night and a brunch to finish the weekend, Cihock said.

At the carnival, kids could be seen sliding down a blown-up slide, petting goats and sheep at a petting zoo or wrestling in sumo wrestler costumes.

Lil’ Sibs weekend “opens kids up to college life and lets them spend time with their siblings or aunts and uncles they may not see often because of school,” Powers said.

Even though watching kids requires a careful eye, Powers said the trade-off is worth it.

“When you have little nieces and nephews who talk about this all year long and pack their bags a week ahead of time, a weekend of not partying isn’t that bad,” Powers said.