There’s always room for family
On the landing page of Chicago Booth’s website, we learn that Boothies are Analytical. Collaborative. Bold. All the pictures are of young, seemingly unencumbered professionals – beaming smiles and radiating confidence as they prepare to rocket skyward from this inflection point in their careers.
One could hardly blame a bleary-eyed mom with spit-up on her shoulder or a dad with Legos permanently embedded in his feet for wondering, “Is this place really for me?”
In Spring Quarter of 2022, the Parents Of Little Ones (POLO) group (formerly a sub-group of the venerable Booth Partners Club), officially became an independent club. Under the leadership of Daniel Huizinga (Class of 2022) and Megan Killian (partner), the newly minted POLO club recognized that parents, and expectant parents, have unique needs:
- Social events that are cognizant of nap times and bedtimes
- Low-cost programming that is kid-friendly (Costco trips are expensive enough!)
- Regular get-togethers during the week for non-working partners
- A forum for trading hand-me-downs, best practices, and recommendations
This new club allowed the co-chairs to organize dedicated events, like weekly get-togethers on Friday morning at Maggie Daley park, or story-time gatherings at Harold Washington Library.
But this was just the beginning! Spearheaded by Ryan Wilkinson (Class of 2022), the Random Walk committee of the Graduate Business Council (GBC, Booth’s student government) piloted the first Family Random Walk in the summer of 2022. For the first time, Boothie admits didn’t have to choose between an unforgettable bonding experience with their new classmates and spending quality time with their families!
Current Booth families led admitted families on a four-night getaway to the Wisconsin Dells, a destination selected for its family friendly activities and proximity to Chicago. The group had a blast at the water park (located inside the hotel!), picked ripe berries, petted alpacas at a farm, and enjoyed some kid-free time with a spa morning for the moms and ax-throwing for dads.
This year, POLO seeks to add even more value to the parent experience at Booth.On October 28, POLO co-hosted a Halloween-themed Liquidity Preference Function (LPF), a Booth tradition of Friday afternoon gatherings with students and faculty at Harper. Over twenty children came to Harper in costumes ranging from astronauts, dinosaurs, princesses and super heroes. Staff offices in the Harper Center opened their doors to welcome the little trick-or-treaters touring the building.
Current Boothies also attended the event, volunteering their time to read in the Spooky Story-time Corner to the kids, or help them decorate mini-pumpkins.
As with many things in life, there is and always will be a selection bias with business school – the student body will never look like the crowd at a Little League game or Disneyland. Regardless of where you go, there will likely be some culture shock as you realize most of your peers know more brands of seltzer than members of the Paw Patrol. But thanks to the efforts of the Student Life office, and Boothies who care about paying it forward, Booth is becoming an increasingly welcoming space for parents and parents-to-be.