SU given a bite of Westcott community
It’s no secret. If there is food at an event, students will come. And, at the Taste of Westcott on Thursday, the 1,000-person crowd proved this statement to be correct.
Intended to introduce off-campus students to their available resources and local businesses, the Office of Off-Campus and Commuter Services held its annual Taste of Westcott on Thursday at the Erwin First United Methodist Church. The event featured 20 agencies and local food vendors.
At the event, Syracuse University and the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry students received a punch card and were required to talk to three agencies outside, underneath a large white tent. After speaking to three resources, students were admitted inside and given three tickets to receive tastes of local restaurants, including student favorites like Wings Over Syracuse, Alto Cinco, Number 1 Kitchen and A La Mode.
Emily Brzozowski, a senior sociology and political science dual major, attended Taste of Westcott for the first time after hearing about it through an email.
“It is a good way to get people involved in the community,” Brzozowski said. “It is a good idea to encourage people to get involved outside of SU.”
Brzozowski also noted, along with other students, that the free food was definitely a deciding factor in whether or not to attend. Brent Johnson, a second-year master’s student studying conservation biology, felt the event was a little crowded. But, he was pleased to see Alto Cinco, one of his favorites, at the event because their food is delicious.
While Taste of Westcott highlighted the local businesses in the Westcott and Nottingham area, it also gave upperclassmen the opportunity to talk to agencies like National Grid, Bank of America and neighborhood associations like Westcott East Neighborhood Association (WENA).
“We want to integrate the off-campus community into the Syracuse community because your off-campus living community is just as much a part of your experience at Syracuse University,” said Elin Riggs, director of student affairs for the Office of Off-Campus and Commuter Services.
In previous years, the event has been smaller, taking place at the Westcott Community Center and a smaller room inside the church. This year was the first year the event has used both the inside and outside properties of the church.
But some students still felt the space was crowded due to a large turnout of students. Scott Appelbaum, a SUNY ESF junior wildlife science major, was surprised by the small size of the event, but still enjoyed it.
“It was definitely an energetic event and the people are enthusiastic as well,” Appelbaum said.
Students weren’t the only ones who benefited from the Taste of Westcott. Many of the organizations there felt like the event helped build a sense of community. Starke Donnally, a board member and treasurer of Westcott East Neighborhood Association, likes hearing student feedback about their new neighborhood.
“This is all our neighborhood and we love the impact we get from students,” he said. “If anything, it keeps us young.
The Syracuse Real Food Co-Op was another organization featured at the event. Giving away free samples of food from the co-op kitchen, Don DeVeau, the Syracuse Real Food Co-Op marketing and member services coordinator, was pleased to talk to students and get them excited about living in the community.
As the event came to a close, students began to leave in groups with full stomachs. When three students walked out together, one of the volunteers asked them to “describe the event in three words.”
Without even turning around, one student yelled back, “Extraordinary. Cheap. Awesome.”
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