For Colgate senior Jordan Sheiner and Hamilton Mayor Margaret Miller, Friday, September 30 was just the start of what hopes to be a long-standing tradition of collaboration and interaction between the Colgate University community and the Village of Hamilton residents. September 30 marked the first annual annual ‘Gate-Town Connection Barbeque, which brought students, faculty and Hamilton residents together for an afternoon of food and fun on Whitnall Field.
Organized by Sheiner of the Blue Diamond Society (BDS), the barbeque was hosted by BDS, the Gamma Phi Beta sorority, the Colgate Fire Fighter Volunteers and the Office of Residential Life. While the sisters of Gamma Phi Beta personally invited Hamilton residents to the barbeque with door-to-door visits and volunteered the day of the event, Residential Life aided BDS in planning the event and provided free T-shirts to the first 200 people in attendance. The Colgate Firefighter Volunteers also volunteered the day of the event.
Attendees ate hamburgers and hot dogs catered by Sodexo, who closed Frank Dining Hall for the event. Children bounced around in the inflatable house and obstacle course and everyone enjoyed cotton-candy and watching students get “dunked” at the dunk tank. Following a welcome by Mayor Miller and Sheiner, professor band Dangerboy played covers of pop-rock favorites such as Hot Chelle Rae’s “Tonight, Tonight” and Green Day’s “Basket Case.”
Sheiner came up with the idea for the barbeque last year after hearing Mayor Miller speak at a student Senate meeting.
“Hearing students interacting with the Mayor, there seemed to be some disconnect…it didn’t seem like the two groups were on the same page,” Sheiner said.
After further thinking about this disappointing reality, he decided to take it upon himself and BDS to initiate bridging this gap.
“As a member of BDS, one of the values we really try to bring to campus is Kehilla, or community. It seemed like this disconnect was something that myself and BDS could really work towards changing,” Sheiner said.
Mayor Miller was ecstatic about the event and deemed it a success. She looks forward to next year’s barbeque.
“Hopefully people will make some friendships here and realize that we are one community,” Mayor Miller said. “This is a good way to start off the year when the students come back.”
The Gate-Town Connection Barbeque also received a positive response from Hamilton residents, such as Kerry Linden. She called the event “nicely organized and well-advertised” and said that parents were “inquisitive” and “had a very good feeling” about the barbeque before it occurred.
“[My kids] love it! They love the food and there is plenty for them to do,” she said.
The student opinion about the event was varied. Only eleven out of twenty-four students deemed the barbeque successful in getting students and village residents to know one another better.
“It’s nice to bring people together, but I think it’s segregated,” said first-year Sarah Defalco.
Senior Elizabeth Stein had a more positive sentiment.
“I don’t know how many students and community members are mingling, but I think this is better than ever before,” she said.
Despite mixed reviews on behalf of the students, the barbeque proved to be a success.
“I think Dean Brown put it best when I spoke with him, [he said] ‘seeing a student waiting in line for cotton candy side by side with a little child from the Hamilton community was priceless.’ For something in its first stage, I don’t think the event could have gone any better,” Sheiner said.
Contact Anna D’Alessandro at [email protected]lgate.edu.