NIU students, faculty and staff are invited to attend Campus Meets Community, a special block party on Sept. 5 from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Martin Luther King Commons. More than 60 local businesses and organizations will be on hand for the event designed to welcome Huskies to campus and introduce them to the many resources available in the DeKalb, Sycamore and Genoa communities.
“Our community businesses, nonprofits and local government officials are excited to meaningfully connect with students, faculty and staff to make them feel welcome,” Jennifer Groce, NIU’s director of Community Promotion, said. “I hope our campus makes a point to attend to get to know more about our great community and see it as a fun place to explore, shop, eat, work, serve and connect.”
Dozens of restaurants, retail stores, organizations and area businesses will set up shop on the Huskie campus. Free food samples, products and coupons for future use along with an opportunity to learn about community and recreation resources are just a few of the perks for attendees.
“Being in a university town, any chance to introduce the students to the community is important,” Matt Duffy, executive director of the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce, said. “Having this take place on campus provides a degree of comfort for the students to explore and eliminates obstacles from doing so like time and transportation.”
Tom Rogers, owner of Debutantes School of Cosmetology and Nail Technology in DeKalb, said Campus Meets Community did just that.
“The challenge for us is in creating awareness of our school and our services with the NIU student body especially given that student body fully turns over every four years,” Rogers said. “The Campus Meets Community event last year provided the perfect opportunity to create that awareness.”
And while Rogers said he expected a business benefit as a result of having a booth on campus, there was more than that.
“I had not expected I would meet so many delightful and interesting people,” Rogers said. “The time literally flew by as I had numerous opportunities to talk with students, faculty and staff about their experiences at NIU as well as talking about our school and the services we offer. I am looking forward to being on campus again this year.”
Tim Hays, owner of Barb City Bagels, said they passed out more than 500 bagel samples last year, and this year they’ll be bringing even more.
“It was a great opportunity to give something away and to have people try our bagels,” Hays said. “We had a great time talking to students and encouraged them to come by Barb City Bagels by giving out coupons. It was a win-win.”
Duffy shared the sentiment.
“For returning students it was a reminder of what is here, and for new students it was another chance to connect them to the community they will call home during their time at NIU,” Duffy said.
The event is free and will take place rain or shine. In case of inclement weather, Campus Meets Community will take place indoors at the Duke Ellington Ballroom. For more information go to Campus Meets Community.