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Bobcats, their dads hit the links at Alden Library (PHOTOS)


Known as a center for learning and discovery on Ohio University’s Athens Campus, part of Alden Library was recently transformed into a place for family bonding and friendly competition as University Libraries hosted a mini golf event in honor of Dads Weekend.

Ohio University students and their loved ones as well as community members took part in the Alden Open, a mini golf event, on Nov. 7 as part of OHIO’s annual Dads Weekend. Celebrating its third year, more than 350 people tried their hand at two nine-hole golf courses that traversed Alden Library’s third, fourth and fifth floors.

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Rob Warne, a first-year student majoring in marketing, takes his first stroke on Hole 14 at the Alden Open while his parents, Susan and Mike Warne, watch. Photo by John Simpson/University Libraries

For one Bobcat and her father, the Alden Open presented an opportunity to both reminisce and create new memories.

“I remember teaching my daughter how to play mini golf when she was a child,” said Vince DiRiddo who was participating in the Alden Open with his daughter, Alyssa. “We would visit this local indoor course where each hole was modeled after a moment in United States history. The course attempted to teach kids about history. I believe that golf is very educational. It teaches you life lessons.”

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Don Santiago-Meyers watches his daughter, Marissa Santiago-Meyers, a first-year student majoring in English, take a shot on Hole 13 at the Nov. 7 Alden Open. Photo by John Simpson/University Libraries

Those who participated in the Alden Open likely had to exercise life lessons of patience and dedication as they moved through the courses. Each hole in the course presented the golfers with new challenges, with some holes featuring twists and turns, loops and eccentric obstacles. One hole in particular had the golfers talking as it descended down Alden Library’s center stairwell through a long winding tunnel.

“What a neat idea. I thought for sure I was going to get a hole-in-one,” laughed a golfer who just attempted the course’s first hole with his family. “This course is surprisingly challenging, but my family and I are very competitive, which makes this even more fun.”

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Udi and Kayla Kapen watch a golf ball travel down a tunnel from the fourth floor to the third floor of Alden Library during the Alden Open. Photo by Kaitlin Owens/University Communications and Marketing

Proceeds raised from the Alden Open will benefit the Student Research and Creative Activity Expo, an event held at Ohio University during spring semester that provides students from throughout the University an opportunity to showcase their research, scholarship and creative activity efforts.

Barbara Fiocchi, assistant to the director of development at Ohio University Libraries and one of the key organizers of the Alden Open, deemed the event a success. In addition to providing students and their families a venue in which to relax and enjoy a game, she noted that the Alden Open also highlighted the many resources available at Alden Library and through University Libraries. 

“There are a lot of resources that Ohio University Libraries offers, including study spaces of all kinds, incredibly smart and helpful subject librarians, and databases that cover digital and hard copy material as well as a wealth of primary historical resources,” Fiocchi said.

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Matt Fujita, a senior studying language arts education, laughs with his father, Bob Fujita, while playing mini golf at the Alden Open, held during Dads Weekend at Ohio University’s Alden Library. Photo by John Simpson/University Libraries

The event also allowed students and their families to explore, in a rather unconventional way, Alden Library. Stretching seven floors high and running almost as long as a football field, Alden Library has an abundance of space, allowing visitors to discover new things in every corner and on every floor. 

Katie Marlin, a student employee at Alden Library, came across a family of golfers on the first floor of the Library during the Alden Open. 

“I told the family that there weren’t any holes on the first floor, but what they were really interested in was our extensive international literature section,” Marlin explained. “It was special to see the family bond over the variety of books Alden has to offer.” 

“This is a great way to get people to visit the library and explore,” one golfer said. “I am seeing parts of this Library for the first time, and this place is really great.”

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Sarah Rachel, a senior majoring in journalism, places her golf ball on the tee of Hole One during the Alden Open. Photo by John Simpson/University Libraries

The Alden Open was just one of many Dads Weekend events that Ohio University student Natalie Heller and her father, Steve, engaged in. Their weekend was packed with events that included the OHIO Men’s Basketball game, a comedy show at Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium, and a pancake brunch event held in the Walter Hall Rotunda. 

“We have some free time, so we will see where Athens takes us,” Heller said.

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Bill FitzGerald putts a golf ball around a loop during the Alden Open. Photo by Kaitlin Owens/University Communications and Marketing

A one-of-a-kind event that gives students, families and members of the community an opportunity to challenge themselves, have fun and explore the Library, the Alden Open is a tradition that Fiocchi is eager to continue. 

“We are already brainstorming about next year’s event, course ideas, event ideas and ways to enhance what is already a fun time,” Fiocchi said.

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Zack Hadley putts a golf ball while his father, Keith Hadley, watches during the Alden Open. Photo by Kaitlin Owens/University Communications and Marketing

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Justine Wright putts a golf ball out a marble pit at the Alden Open, held Nov. 7 at Alden Library as part of Ohio University’s Dads Weekend. Photo by Kaitlin Owens/University Communications and Marketing

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Kirby Flowers putts a golf ball toward the first hold during the Alden Open. Photo by Kaitlin Owens/University Communications and Marketing

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Natalie Heller laughs while negotiating the final hole at the Alden Open. Photo by Kaitlin Owens/University Communications and Marketing