Stony Brook University welcomed the community to campus at CommUniversity Day on Saturday, October 14, following a three-year hiatus. The free festival gave the audience of nearly 2,000 friends, employees, families and students a chance to explore many interactive, hands-on activities and performances.
Guests visited themed “neighborhoods” such as Tech and Discovery, Health, Safety, the Arts, Community Partners, and more. In the “Find Out in 15” area, students showcased their research efforts by explaining the project and impact in 15 minutes or less.
CommUniversity Day’s return to campus was re-imagined as an indoor event due to the rainy weather, and the response from the community was amazing. Spirits were high in the Charles B. Wang Center as roughly 1,800 visitors of all ages came to learn about Stony Brook while exploring activities at 90 different tables.
“The energy in the Wang Center was so positive. It was a great way to bring the campus and community together, and our tremendous group of volunteers were happy to do it,” said Joan Dickinson, executive director of CommUniversity day.
Some of the popular activities included the Teddy Bear Clinic, in which children learned about safety by providing care to teddy bears; the Instrument Petting Zoo, where children played with a learn about various instruments; and the Seawolf Philanthropy Council table, where visitors tested their knowledge of Stony Brook to win Stony Brook apparel.
The Teddy Bear Clinic was staffed by fourth-year School of Nursing students enrolled in a Population Health nursing course. While the nursing students often visit schools and work with students in the hospital, the event allowed them to visit with children and their families in a more informal setting.
“This has been a wonderful turnout. It’s great for the nursing students to be able to see healthy kids and to interact with the community while teaching children about healthcare,” said Erin Zazzera, professor in the School of Nursing.
Andrew Handel, MD, faculty member in the Renaissance School of Medicine, spoke to community members about tick-borne diseases during the event. “People have been very enthusiastic about this,” Handel said. “Everyone has a story about finding a tick on themselves and their kids and this was a wonderful way to share information about how to prevent ticks.”
“We have this university right in our backyard,” said Pat Bollinger, who came to the event from Islip, “but we often don’t know what is going on here. This was a wonderful way to speak to students, doctors from the hospital, and community groups to find out about what’s going on at Stony Brook.”
“The deep synergy between Stony Brook University and our community is strong, and we’re always exploring more ways to serve and engage the people of Long Island and beyond,” said Stony Brook President Maurie McInnis. “As a university that innovates with purpose, we’re committed to leveraging our resources and talent to promote positive change. Our ambitions spread far and wide — across the globe and even into space — but our roots remain right here, in this community.”