May 17, 2013
Thousands of family and friends coming into town for UVa's Final Exercise Weekend. Every hotel room is booked but some don't even both with hotel rooms and rates, especially if the whole entire family is getting together.
For Aviva Rose-Avila's family, graduation means family reunion.
"I had the same amount of people come to my high school graduation so I think it's becoming a tradition of when we do family reunions," said Rose-Avila, a soon-to-be UVa graduate.
So she wants all the same relatives to be able to come to her college graduation. But hotel room rates at more than $300 a night would've gotten in the way of the family weekend she wanted.
"When she told me that's how much the hotel was, I told her I couldn't possibly come at that price," said Aviva's cousin Ray Nelson who came from New Jersey.
Other family members came from New Mexico, Florida and Washington state.
"My family's getting older so we don't have too many opportunities to get together," Rose-Avila said.
After booking a bunch of hotel rooms last year at this time and realizing the price tag was too high, they gave their hotel rooms away two months ago. Rose-Avila did her research and asked around to graduate students who might be leaving to intern for the summer.
"It ended up working out really well. I rented three whole townhouses for all 23 of my family members," she said. "We're really lucky we can just walk across the street to each other. We cook breakfast, lunch and dinner together so it's a great bonding experience."
Final exercises are always a big celebration for families of UVa students but this family feels lucky to have everyone there for another family reunion.
"All my relatives are here. There aren't many more of us who aren't here, this is it," Nelson said.
"I really hope they're not screaming too loud that would be really embarrassing as I walk across the stage."