As the sun sets at Hawkins Pond, the sounds of children playing and conversations among SUNY Plattsburgh students and Plattsburgh community members fill the air as Community Night.
Every year all SUNY Plattsburgh students and city residents are invited to come together to connect as the new school year starts.
“I think that it definitely lets students feel like they’re a little more welcomed on campus, when you have a big gathering connecting the community and our state university,” Student Association President and senior sociology major Essence Hightower said. “From personal experience, I know that this is a good event, I know that I feel cared and loved for.”
Music, food and different performances brought SUNY Plattsburgh students, faculty and community members together to celebrate the start of another year.
Groups such as the Hoop Troop, Jedi Dance Productions and the A Capella group Minor Adjustments performed, drawing out a big crowd.
Events like Community Night show students and its residents that Plattsburgh is a tight-knit community that cares for its students, faculty and community members.
“It’s definitely an informal meet-and-greet if you’re not really sure of any clubs or if you don’t really have a lot of friends yet, if you’re an incoming freshman then I think it’s a really nice way to just see some faces and get familiarized with the campus,” senior digital media production major and Vice President of Hoop Troop Caroline Whitebread said.
Community Night, offers more opportunities for students to get to know their teachers better in a carefree environment, as well as to meet different people who live in the town of Plattsburgh.
There was a plethora of entertainment, although many people went to enjoy the company of their friends as the first week of the semester came to a close.
Many people were scattered about the rocks surrounding Hawkins Pond, some were reading, many were eating and many were enjoying the weather while catching up with their friends.
“I remember when I was a freshman, I did come here and it felt very, very open here, it was like my first week and I went in the pond in my clothes, it was very wonderful,” senior social work major and President of Hoop Troop Larissa Murray said. “I always see a lot of younger families here as well, so it also brings the community in and shows them it’s a positive environment because I think a lot of the time college kids get a bad rep, so I think it reminds them that we all do fun things together.”
Community Night is about new beginnings and mingling with old and new faces. Members of Hoop Troop— Caroline, Larissa and Sarah— agree that Community Night can be a stepping stone to meeting new people and feeling welcomed.
Plattsburgh’s students and community members convey that as long as this openness and positivity exists on campus and in their community, everything will be more than OK.