Yamatai, Cornell’s Japanese Taiko drum ensemble, performs on the Ithaca Commons at CU Downtown 2018.

Town meets gown at community welcome celebrations

The local community welcomes Cornell students at a community fair Sept. 5 in Collegetown and at CU Downtown, Sept. 7 on the Ithaca Commons.

South Asian dancing troupe Cornell Bhangra performs at CU Downtown 2018.

The BEAR Walk Community Fair is Sept. 5 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on the Frank E. Gannett Plaza in front of the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts, 430 College Ave. The event brings students and residents together to share a common goal of promoting a greater sense of community and connection throughout the Collegetown neighborhood.

Speakers at 6:15 p.m. will include Ryan Lombardi, vice president for student and campus life, student leaders from the class councils and assemblies, and Mary Johnson, cofounder of the Collegetown Small Business Alliance

A community resource fair on the plaza features Cornell and Ithaca-area service providers with information on health, safety and being a good neighbor. Students in the Teszia Belly Dance Troupe also will perform.

The fourth annual CU Downtown community welcome celebration will be held Saturday, Sept. 7, from 1 to 5 p.m. on the Ithaca Commons. The entire community is invited to come out and welcome new and returning students.

“This is the first visit many Cornell students make to downtown Ithaca, and we hope it’s the beginning of a lasting relationship with our community,” said Margherita Fabrizio, director of the Carol Tatkon Center for First-Year Students. “For years I had listened to students lament they had not discovered Ithaca sooner. CU Downtown was meant to help remedy that.”

The family-friendly event is free and features entertainment by student performers.

“While thousands of students volunteer in Tompkins County each year, CU Downtown performers make a unique cultural contribution,” Fabrizio said. “The lineups have been eclectic and include about 15 different acts: Japanese drumming (Yamatai), South Asian dancing (Cornell Bhangra), a cappella groups, breakdancing, a balloon artist, jazz groups, the Big Red Marching and Pep Bands. For a second year in a row, the local Fall Creek Brass Band will close out the afternoon.”

Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit (TCAT) is providing shuttle buses to and from the Commons, free with a Cornell ID and running every 15 minutes from the Risley Hall and Jessup Road stops on North Campus.

A student, along with the Big Red Bear, hands out a flyer outlining rules for being a good neighbor and safety tips during the annual BEAR Walk Aug. 27.

The Downtown Ithaca Alliance and business partners are sponsoring a scavenger hunt, student discounts and giveaways, and there will be free cider and doughnuts.

The goals for the annual celebration, Fabrizio said, “are simple: To help new and returning students discover their adopted city and that downtown is close, fun, easy to get to, and a true respite from life on the hill. It also gives student performers a way to contribute to the vitality and culture of Ithaca, and invites locals to experience and welcome students in a new way.”

CU Downtown is sponsored by the Tatkon Center for First-Year Students; Student and Campus Life; the Office of Community Relations; the Downtown Ithaca Alliance; and TCAT.

Media Contact

Abby Butler