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No Rain on This Parade

No Rain on This ParadeTufts students, staff and faculty joined area residents to celebrate the seventh annual Community Day at Tufts.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [10.02.09] The damp weather did not deter nearly 1,000 people from participating in Tufts' seventh annual Community Day on Sept. 27.

Stretching across the Academic Quad, the event-co-sponsored by the cities of Medford and Somerville-featured performers, informational tables from campus and community groups, a Medford fire truck and a catered barbecue.

"One thing that attracts a lot of people is the barbecue," said Medford Mayor Michael McGlynn with a chuckle. McGlynn has been known to never miss a Community Day at Tufts.

"It's important. We do our own community days [in the city of Medford], and you want to have people turn out. Everybody has to be supportive, and once people get here, they say 'Wow, this is great,'" said McGlynn.

Somerville resident Betsey Bogard agreed. "This is our second time at Community Day," she said, adding that she and her two-and-a-half-year-old son enjoyed a variety of activities. "We did pumpkin painting, we listened to the Trunk performance, we went on the fire engine, and now he's doing molecule-building."

Faculty members were on hand to share their expertise with the community. Associate Professor Ann Gardulski and Professor Grant Garven of the geology department displayed maps of their work studying soil and rock below the surface of the campus and gave out slices of agates to attendees. Chemistry Professor Sam Kounaves presented 3-D images of Mars sent back from the NASA Phoenix Mars Lander project.

"I think it's great that people are coming out and learning what kinds of things go on here at Tufts," said Courtney Pittenger (A'11).

More than 50 groups hosted information tables for attendees, ranging from the Center for Engineering Educational Outreach (CEEO), which helped visitors engineer motorized Lego cars, to the Tufts Bookstore, which displayed an assortment of Jumbo gear.

Jason Clark (E'11), a student representative for CEEO, said his booth was attracting a lot of attention from the youngest of attendees.

"Our booth really appeals to the little guys," said Clark."We just had an eight-year-old girl make a [motorized] Lego hay ride."

The crafts tent was also a huge success. Kids could paint pumpkins, make masks, decorate cookies or get their faces painted.

"I painted a pumpkin and made a mask!" exclaimed three-year-old Arlington resident Andrew Schreiner.

An added attraction were two School of Museum of Fine Arts students, enlisted by Patrick Carter of the SMFA continuing studies office, who drew caricatures of local kids.

Another highlight was the performances by campus student groups, notably the Traveling Treasure Trunk, Tufts' children's theatre troupe, and Blackout, the all-male step team.

Magician and Tufts junior Eli Cushner spent his day performing magic tricks for attendees.

"Kids especially love magic, and adults love magic because it makes them feel like they're kids again," explained Cushner. He says he has performed at Community Day for the past three years because it gives him the chance to interact with Tufts' neighbors.

"One of the parents just recently said, 'Thanks so much, we have had pumpkin carving, face-painting, and magic, and we appreciate it so much.' It's good just to get the feedback."

With such a mix of new and returning guests, Community Day continues to grow each year.

"The first year we did this, we had about 150 people here," said Barbara Rubel, director of community relations. "Last year, we figured we had about 1,400 people here. We've grown exponentially."

For McGlynn, Community Day presents an opportunity to draw Tufts' neighbors into the campus.

"There are Medford and Somerville residents who have never been to the heart of the campus," said McGlynn. "When they get here, they're surprised at what is offered.
I think it was President Bacow's goal to get people up here to see that we can have a relationship."

Story by Charlotte Steinway (A'11)

Photos by Alonso Nichols and Joanie Tobin, University Photography

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