October 21, 2012

Cornell Students, Collegetown Residents Gather at Neigborhood Community Fair

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In an effort to improve relationships between Cornell students and Collegetown residents, Cornellians and Ithacans came together Saturday at the Collegetown Neighborhood Fair.

The event –– which was organized by the Cornell Collegetown Student Council –– featured representatives from a variety of University and local organizations, including the Interfraternity and Panhellenic Councils, the Landlords Association of Tompkins County and the Cornell University Police Department.

Eric Silverberg ’14, chair of CCSC, said the council began last spring as a collaboration between the Student Assembly, Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council to create a more cohesive community in Collegetown.

“[CCSC began as a] group to advocate for some of the needs of Collegetown [residents],” Silverberg said.

Collegetown resident Katherine Hanna ’64 said the fair attempted to address residents’ complaints about the quality of life in Collegetown.

“I feel like most students don’t realize this is a neighborhood,” she said. “Especially in recent years, there’s been sort of a takeover by fraternities and sororities in Collegetown.”

Hanna –– who has lived in Collegetown for 42 years –– said she hopes similar events will be held in Collegetown in the future. She also suggested integrating other colleges in the area into the event.

“I think this is very important … We should have one of these [fairs] a couple of times a year and open up the whole block,” she said. “The more action, the better.”

S.A. President Adam Gitlin ’13 praised the efforts of CSCC to foster positive relationships between students and Collegetown residents.

“I think it’s great that student leaders are working on ways to promote relations between students living in Collegetown and Collegetown residents,” Gitlin said.  “It shows that the students do care about the needs of Collegetown.”

In addition to addressing town-gown relations, representatives at the fair also spoke about safety on and off campus. Representatives from CUPD emphasized the importance of taking measures to ensure personal safety.

“We’re trying to put our name out there for students, faculty and parents,” said Beverly Van Cleef, crime prevention officer. “We’re looking to partner with our community.”

Also featured at the event were refreshments provided by Collegetown venues such as Collegetown Bagels and Insomnia Cookies, and performances by a capella groups including The Hangovers and the Cornell University Chordials.

During the performances, attendees reflected on all that both students and residents have to offer the community.

“They are really very talented,” Hanna said. “Cornell students have a lot to offer.”

Silverberg said he was pleased by the turnout of about 150 students at the event and expressed excitement about organizing future fairs.

“We want to coexist peacefully and responsibility with the entire community,” he said. “As students, it’s our responsibility to be good neighbors.”

Original Author: Elizabeth Kussman