Tufts held its annual Community Day event on Oct. 2. Students, faculty, staff and community members gathered for a day filled with performances, food, fun activities and thought provoking discussions with organizations on the academic quad.
Rocco DiRico, Tufts’ executive director of government & community relations, explained that this day was especially important because it marked the 20th anniversary of Tufts’ first Community Day.
“This year is the 20th anniversary of the very first Tufts Community Day. The theme of this year’s event [was] Arts, Innovation, and Celebration,” DiRico wrote in an email to the Daily. “[We had] two art tents at either side of the academic quad filled with activities and crafts. [We also had] an array of live performances including [A cappella] groups, dance teams, and theater [troupes] … we are celebrating the fact that we can gather together again.”
This Community Day was also the first to be held in-person since the pandemic began.
“Due to the pandemic, we were unable to host this event the past two years,” DiRico wrote. “We [are] so happy to be able to welcome our Medford/Somerville neighbors back onto campus this year.”
More than 70 clubs, nonprofits and organizations from Tufts and around the Medford/Somerville community participated in the festivities. Medford Family Network, Mystic Valley YMCA, Somerville Media Center, Somerville Homeless Coalition and Tufts Pollinator Initiative were among the groups participating in the event.
DiRico sees Community Day as an opportunity to provide locals with better understanding about the resources Tufts offers.
“Tufts Community Day is an opportunity for the university to invite our neighbors onto our campus and share our knowledge, resources, and programs with the community,” DiRico wrote in an email to the Daily. “It is a great opportunity for our neighbors to learn about events, programs, and lectures that are free and open to the public … [and] for our students, faculty and staff to interact with some amazing nonprofit organizations in Medford and Somerville.”
The Tufts Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, another group participating in Community Day, spoke with visitors about the history of Black and indigenous communities in the greater Boston area and distributed a resource guide including the initiatives that currently deal with this historical disenfranchisement.
“At the heart of Community Day is the idea that we can show people in the area what Tufts is offering beyond just what's on campus … and showing that Tufts is a part of the bigger picture of those communities,” one of the representatives for the center said.
A variety of student performance groups, including Cheap Sox, the Beelzebubs and the Jackson Jills also performed at Community Day. Griffin Congdon, a member of Cheap Sox, reflected on the unique atmosphere of the event after the group’s performance.
“I think it was a really special event that brought the entire Medford/Somerville Community together,” Congdon wrote in an email to the Daily. “It was so cool to see so many different groups and organizations come together and share one space … I think it puts into perspective the community that Tufts inhabits, and this day felt like a day to appreciate the different facets of this community.”