INSIDE BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY
Festival brings University, city together
The event that combines the best of the University and the City of Binghamton has a new name and more participants this year.
The Binghamton Communiversity Fest will take place from 4-9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11, on Washington Street in Binghamton. The festival will feature food, entertainment, raffles and the offerings of many campus and community organizations.
The festival debuted last September as the Binghamton Blowout Block Party and was spearheaded by the student-led economic think tank, Catalysts for Intellectual Capital 2020 (CIC2020) and 2008 graduate Kathryn Fletcher. The event was such a success that everyone involved agreed that it needed to continue, but that more organizing power was necessary. In March, the University’s College of Community and Public Affairs, the City of Binghamton, Southern Tier Celebrates and Fletcher’s local business, H2 Innovations Inc., joined forces.
“It is a visible effort on behalf of the University, the City of Binghamton, a nonprofit and a local business to show that we are a community and we want to work together, live together, be neighbors and friends and develop relations,” CCPA Assistant Dean Tammara Behonick said.
Both Behonick and Fletcher said that the lesson learned from last year was that additional help and an earlier start were needed.
“It was a big learning experience for all of us,” Fletcher said. “We were still recruiting people a week before the event (last year).”
This year, more than 150 organizations will be part of the festival. The 2008 festival drew 100 groups.
Organizers also decided to change the name to better show the festival’s mission.
“Binghamton Blowout Block Party was a great name, but it didn’t really emphasize that what we’re trying to do is bring the University and community together and show each other what we have to offer,” Behonick said.
Location is another change. This year’s festival will give more visibility to the businesses in the Washington Street area. The 2008 event was held on Court Street. Behonick said she expects that the fest will move to different parts of the city each year.
“It will give the students a different view,” she said. “Maybe next year, it will be somewhere closer to the East Side. Another year, it may be on the West Side to show the students that Binghamton is a great place with so much to offer.”
Fletcher hopes the festival continues to draw more coordinators and volunteers.
“Last year, we demonstrated that there was a demand for it and this year we’ve increased the number of organizers and participants,” she said. “I would say this definitely will be a yearly event.”
Behonick agreed and said the festival will be a success if people leave with a better appreciation of one another.
“Community members can go away thinking ‘Look at the wonderful things the University is doing’ and students can see these nonprofits, businesses and community members learning more about them,” she said. “If they walk away with a greater appreciation and understanding of what’s available here, I think that would be a success.”