Community Day brings area residents to Academic Quad
Published: Monday, October 1, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 1, 2012 07:10
The 10th annual Community Day at Tufts proceeded as planned on the Academic Quad yesterday despite scattered rain showers.
The open event, cosponsored by Tufts’ Office of Community Relations and the cities of Medford and Somerville, is designed to foster the university’s relationship with the surrounding towns and draw community residents to campus, according to Director of Community Relations Barbara Rubel.
Rubel, who has overseen the event since its inception, said she is impressed with how popular it has grown to be.
“In our first year, we had maybe 200 people show up, and that’s a generous estimate,” she said. “Attendance has grown every year since then and last year we had around 2,000 people.”
While the rainy weather deterred some and resulted in a lower turnout than in years past, Rubel said the event remained extremely well attended thanks to the diverse range of attractions set up across the Academic Quad.
“[Community Day] is a chance for people in the Medford/Somerville community to come and see what Tufts has to offer,” University President Anthony Monaco said.
Fourteen student groups took the stage in front of Bendetson Hall, including B.E.A.T.s, Blackout, Sarabande and the Tufts Irish Dance Team. The Tufts Traveling Treasure Trunk, a student-run entertainment troupe for children, and student magician Wally Napier, a sophomore, also performed.
“We don’t always interact with the Medford/Somerville community, so it’s nice to finally get the chance to do so,” junior Emma Wise, a member of the a cappella group Jackson Jills, said.
“We especially enjoy singing for the kids,” senior Laura Barnes, president of the Jackson Jills, said.
Children were well catered for at the activities tent, where projects included face painting and necklace and mask making. In front of West Hall, the Somerville Fire Department ran an educational demonstration for children about fire safety and prevention.
“Looking around, seeing kids having fun with their families, just makes me feel happy,” sophomore Michael Moore said. “Tufts is taking a step in the right direction with Community Day.”
In addition to watching student performances, children had the opportunity to go onstage and perform themselves during an African drumming workshop arranged by Associate Professor of Music David Locke.
“You see those kids playing the drums — they’re not going to forget that experience,” Director of the Experimental College Robyn Gittleman said. “This is a wonderful occasion for student groups and the community to get together and share with one another.”
Complimentary food was provided throughout the day, including caramel apples and elephant-shaped sugar cookies that children could decorate.
A number of stalls promoted organizations from both Tufts and the greater Boston area. These included former student interns from the Lewis Lab, who demonstrated research they had conducted involving butterflies, as well as a hermit crab scientist, the Somerville Garden Club, the Kiwanis Club of Medford and the community service club Rotary International.
“These stalls are really great,” Monaco said. “Student clubs and clubs from around the area can all show up, see what each is doing and get the chance to maybe form some partnerships.”
Senior David Gerner, a volunteer at the event, believes that Community Day does a great service by reaching out to the Medford/Somerville population.
“The performances were all really cool, too — seeing everyone perform back-to-back provides an awesome cross selection of all of our student groups,” he said.