WIU students get one more day off this fall semester compared to what we’ve had in years past. Today is fall break, allowing students a refreshing three-day weekend in the middle of the fall semester. After mid-terms this semester, students can now revamp and massage their brains and finish strong with the latter part of the semester.
Why is there a fall break this semester? Provost and Academic Vice President Ken Hawkinson had the answer. He explained that there is a calendar committee which meets every four years to decide notable dates for the next four years. Graduate students, area directors, and professors who were appointed by the university senate make up this committee. The last meeting was two years ago, and at that meeting, there was a request to have a fall break starting in the 2012-13 academic. “We were brainstorming ideas, and out of that brainstorming, we came up with having a fall break,” Hawkinson said.
Hawkinson said it took about a semester to plan out the next four years. “We would hear back from constituency groups and see if they have any objections. Then the final decisions are then made by the president (who was Al Goldfarb at the time),” Hawkinson said.
The committee kept in mind that in previous years WIU has had a week-long fall break in October. In addition to the week-long break, only Thursday and Friday of Thanksgiving week was given off for WIU. Hawkinson said students would skip classes and leave for home earlier in the week for Thanksgiving; so the calendar committee decided not to have a shortened Thanksgiving again.
Every year, the spring semester has three university breaks: Martin Luther King Day, Lincoln’s birthday, and finally spring break, which is in the middle of the spring semester. The fall semester only has Labor Day and Thanksgiving Week breaks. “We thought we needed a midterm break,” began Hawkinson. “Around the eight week mark, students can go home and recharge. It is seen as a morale booster for the semester. It gives them the chance to get out of their environment for a while.”
Hawkinson stressed that although fall break is a holiday for students, the university is not closed. All professors and staff members are still working.
I for one am very excited to have the day of on this beautiful autumn Friday in Macomb. Have a good weekend all!