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Building a Community

Building a CommunityOn Oct. 5, neighbors and residents from Medford and Somerville shared in the fun and excitement of Tufts' sixth annual Community Day.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [10.14.08] Though the sky threatened rain, it did not deter more than 1,000 participants from enjoying Tufts' sixth annual Community Day festivities, held on Oct. 5. Taking place on the Academic Quad, the annual event-jointly sponsored by the university and Medford and Somerville-brings together local families, students and faculty for a fun-filled day of community building.

"This is great!" said Somerville resident Abby Luthin. "Even though the weather isn't particularly ideal, just the spirit of the place is exciting."

A variety of food, exhibits, arts and crafts, and musical performances offered something for everyone. First-time participant Danny Yamamoto said he was "very pleasantly surprised and happy that there's this much to go around for all the kids, and for the parents."

A major draw for all ages were performances by student groups, including a cappella group the Beelzebubs, who sang a Pokemon theme song, the step team BlackOut and the drumming group BEATS.

"All of us love the entertainment," said Ann Beckmenn. "The break dancing group, in addition to BlackOut and the a cappella groups, are my kids' favorite. They run right back for all of the music. It's really great."

Tufts volunteers and some community organizations hosted a range of craft activities for kids, including Play-Doh submarine building, picture frame making and pumpkin painting.

"We're making elephant finger puppets with the children that come over," explained Tufts student and LCS member Jen McNally (A'09). "We have glitter and eyes, which is a big hit."

"A big hit" may be an understatement, as many expressed great enthusiasm for the crafts.

"I really just like the art stuff!" exclaimed seven-year old Ethan Medeiros.

The kids' parents, such as Sue Driscoll, seconded this view.

"[My daughter's] been in the crafts tent for a long time, decorating everything that she can find," she laughed. "She just likes it."

All of the planning and coordination was carried out by staff in the Office of Community Relations. Nearly one hundred student volunteers did everything from set up and clean up to helping with children's activities. Tufts' Dining Services provided the food and helped visitors make candy apples and decorated cookies.

In addition to the arts and entertainment, faculty and graduate students presented information about their research, ranging from bees to Mars, from the Music Department to Chemistry. Also, books by Tufts faculty were on display and raffled off to event attendees.

The day proved to be both fun and informational, with more than 60 Tufts groups and community organizations setting up informational booths.

"We have our engine company here and the smoke house, and kids seem to be enjoying it. Parents and guardians, as well," said Lieutenant John Camuso of the Medford Fire Department. "They're learning some things about what to do during a fire and how to escape and things like that. So it's going well."

"It's nice to have the booths," agreed Medford resident Linda Coultas. "The parents kind of have a chance to see what's going on in Medford and Somerville. It's great."

Through numerous activities, delicious food, and important information, Community Day was true to its name, providing a great opportunity for Tufts and surrounding communities to come together.

"The sense of community is the good part," said Somerville resident Jason Delporto, "Pulling everybody together-we need more community."

"Everybody getting together, seeing different friends or different programs that are in the community, different stores-it's wonderful," agreed Medford resident Marilyn Smith. "I can't say enough good things about Tufts."

"It's nice to cross to the other side of the fence and see what's going on up here," Medford resident Rachel Rockenmacher concurred. "It's something we've always enjoyed a great deal, and we appreciate that Tufts does all this work to make it a fun day for people around here."

Event coverage by Molly Frizzell (A'09).


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