Courtesy of the University

The theme of the BEAR Walk on Tuesday was building community.

August 28, 2018

Annual BEAR Walk Aims to Bring Collegetown Community Together

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The University held its annual Being Engaged and Responsible walk to welcome students emerging from a summer’s academic hibernation on Tuesday.

The BEAR Walk was an opportunity for students, faculty and Ithacans to meet and greet in the temporarily hospitable outdoors. The event was co-sponsored by the Cornell University Women’s Ice Hockey Team, the City of Ithaca and the Mayor’s Office, and several Student and Campus Life organizations. The community gathering, currently in its fifth year, was held at Frank E. Gannett Plaza in front of the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts.

According to Julie Paige, director of Off Campus and Cooperative Living, the theme of this year’s BEAR Walk was building community.

Diana Buckley ’19, a forward on the Women’s Ice Hockey Team, has helped put on the BEAR Walk since it began in 2014.

“The Bear Walk is an event that takes place in Collegetown and is used to unite and connect the community,” Buckley said. “Students, Collegetown residents, local business owners and others in the Ithaca area come together to help improve the quality of life in Collegetown.”

The line-up of speakers included Paige, Mayor Svante Myrick ’09, Ekarina Winarto grad, GPSA President, and Andrew Semmes ’19, 2019 Class Council President.

Marty Johnson, owner of Uncle Marty’s Shipping Office in Collegetown and co-founder of the Collegetown Small Business Alliance, has been a participant and member of the BEAR Walk Board for five years.

“You’ve got one house which is a long-term permanent residence next to another which is a rental full of students, [BEAR Walk] is really to bring those worlds together to reduce conflict and help them live safely,” Johnson said.

According to Johnson, this year’s tabling and speeches took place at the newly completed Schwartz Plaza to avoid shutting down College Avenue as in years past.

Lieutenant Anthony Bellamy of Cornell University Police Department said CUPD’s presence at BEAR Walk “provides us an opportunity to interact with students residing off-campus and the residents of college town.”

Lenka Serdar ’19, a forward on the Women’s Ice Hockey team, has helped plan the BEAR Walk for the past four years and called it a “fantastic” event.

“By meeting new people affiliated with college town and providing this information to its residents, each year we hope to inspire a positive and lively off-campus community,” Serdar said.

Following speeches and tabling at Schwartz, the Women’s Hockey Team and CUPD traveled door to door through Collegetown to converse with residents and hand out door tags with information on how to be a good neighbor.