Fixing the relationship between “those darn no good college kids” and “the townies”

Depending who you ask Bloomsburg University either has a good or bad reputation.  It has made a difference in the lives of many of the students who attend and has led to many positive experiences for them.   Many people make lifelong friends at BU and have great memories that last a lifetime.  Unfortunately, there is no place that is without a negative side and isn’t marred by negative events.  If you leave campus and go further into town you may come across negative feedback regarding the University and the things that take place there.

For years there have been negative attitudes from the non-students who live in the town of Bloomsburg known as “townies” by the students.  The people in the town do not like the partying, drinking, crime, and other negative events that come along with living in a college town.  They feel like the negative events cast a bad light on the town.

Tim Metzger has lived in Bloomsburg his entire life and does not like how the actions of the college students make the town as a whole look. “I don’t like that their always drinking and partying.  There’s always something new in the paper about the mess the college kids create.  I especially hate block party because it’s just a bunch of them running around getting drunk.  Our town would be much more peaceful if the college wasn’t here.”

Block party is the major event that leads to such dissonance between the townspeople and the college students.  During block party weekend thousands of young adults drink and party all weekend long and during this time there is usually a rise in crime and alcohol related incidents.  The town is sometimes left dirty with debris and alcoholic beverage containers littering the streets.  Throughout the years townspeople have had their property damaged or stolen and their property defecated by urine or throw up.  This popular weekend has often made national news due to its size and the craziness that entails.

Brooke Austins is a former Bloomsburg University student who still travels back every year for block party.  “It is a fun event to get together with friends and just cut loose.  I think the people in town need to chill and not try to ruin our fun.”

Due to the increasing scale of block party and the complaints that it generates each year from the town measures and policies have been created and continue to be set in place to ensure as safe an experience as possible.  Now students who wish to have more then 150 guest must purchase a permit and provide security and restrooms.  Also any trash that is produced during block party must be cleaned up by 10 a.m. Sunday morning.  Block party 2012 came and went with very little problems and hopefully future block parties can continue this way so that the town’s people can see the students can have fun responsibly.

Although block party and the students partying causes negative relationships between the students and the people in the town last year a horrible natural disaster happened which brought everyone together.  In September 2011 Bloomsburg Pa was hit by days of heavy continuous rain which led to massive flooding.

House Damaged by Flood

Many people were without water, electricity, and food for days.  Some people lost their homes and had their lives permanently changed.  A lot of the students rallied together to help the people in town clean up and get their lives back in order.   On March 27  the Big Event took place in which hundreds of students tackled cleanup projects around town, concentrating on areas where students and local residents live side-by-side and public areas like Town Park and the Market Square fountain.  The Big Event is “a way to give back to the Town of Bloomsburg,” said Gia Adornetto, CGA president. “As Bloomsburg University students, we must remember that we are temporary visitors in a community of permanent residents. This is our way to say ‘thank you’ to them.”   On April 22 a big earth day clean up took place at the fairgrounds which was one of the hardest hit places during the flood.  The students helped pick up debris and garbage which is still scattered around months after the flood.

Students Helping During Big Event

The big event and the earth day cleanup are just a few of the ways students and the campus are trying to connect with the town and form positive relationships.  Although things in the past cannot be changed the students and towns people can hopefully work together to create a positive future together and to make the shared community of Bloomsburg a wonderful place to live.

More Events Bridging the Gap

        On Saturday April 28 the annual renaissance jamboree took place in downtown Bloomsburg, Pa.  It is an event that takes place every year and features homemade crafts, food, games, and entertainment.  This event brings together the students and people of the town for a few hours of fun and entertainment.  There are 250 craft vendors and eight non-profit vendors with food, games, and information.  Free shuttle services are provided from the fair grounds.   Some of the musical entertainment includes live rock, folk, and funk bands.  There are also dance performances karate exhibitions, local music groups, and an extreme aerial trampoline show.  This was a fun day for the students and people in the town to unite and put their differences aside.

The second week of August this year will also have another event, which will bring the people from the town and the students together.  A car show will be held at the Bloomsburg fairgrounds.  People will be able to see cars, bull riding, and concerts.  People will be able to see all that has been accomplished since the flood devastated the fairgrounds.  This event will also generate money for the town, which will help with continuous cleanup.