Picture a Rowan alum holding the hand of her daughter, or students taking pictures on the big red chair. These are just two sights one may have seen at Rowan After Hour’s (RAH) Homecoming Block Party on Friday, held on the Hollybush Green.
The event featured a kids’ zone, live stage performances, artisan vendors, seven food vendors, a beer garden, face painting and other activities. The food vendors and performances each had a cultural theme, which was meant to incorporate this year’s homecoming theme, “PROFlympics,” Office of Student Activities Assistant (OSA) Director Megan McHugh said.
Although McHugh stressed RAH sponsored the event, Friday’s event was special because of the incorporation of the community.
“I hope tonight it’s a chance [for alumni] to see old friends, and the community to come and people to celebrate culture and performances alike,” McHugh said. “That’s the goal of a homecoming.”
For Glassboro residents Pam and DJ Gale, they brought their daughter Mira to get out of the house, saying she especially enjoyed making the balloon animals.
As Mira danced under a neighboring tree, Pam noted she received her graduate certificate in special education from Rowan University 11 years ago.
Rowan freshman mechanical engineering major Kim Tran said she came to the block party at first because of her friends.
“But I’m having a lot of fun,” she said. “It’s so great to see people here from Glassboro.”
Lucas Fox, also a freshman mechanical engineering major, wasn’t sure what was happening at the block party until he came, he joked.
“Getting food, especially the funnel cake, was a priority,” Fox said. “But this is all really nice.”
Less noticeable than larger events occurring Friday were the smaller acts of community outreach.
Carly Samuels, graduate coordinator for OSA, walked around asking attendees if they had a dollar. She was collecting money for a raffle. The raffle prize was donated and the proceeds collected for it were going toward “Camden Christmas,” she said.
This is an event where OSA representatives will go to a local church in Camden and secretly record children from the city telling Santa what they’d like for Christmas. The money collected will go to purchasing the children these gifts.
RAH staff member Colleen McGrath spent her time at the block party painting the faces of attendees. The senior English education major said she especially loved working the event Friday because it brought the entire community together.
“Whether you’re four to 80 years old, there’s a place for you tonight,” McGrath said. “This is what homecoming’s all about – coming home.”
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