Stony Brook University welcomed the community to campus at CommUniversity Day on Saturday, September 22. The free festival gave the audience of roughly 3,500 friends, employees, families and students a chance to explore many interactive, hands-on activities and captivating performances coordinated through more than 300 University volunteers.
Many different departments and groups from the campus were represented with nearly 110 tables showcasing health, safety, arts, traditions, food and technology. With such a wide variety of activities, there was something for every age and interest. The Academic Mall held themed clusters of activities as employees and students proudly shared a glimpse into their work and studies.
“Stony Brook University has so much to offer. CommUniversity Day was a great way for our neighbors to experience the many points of pride from our campus community,” said President Samuel L. Stanley. “We want our neighbors to know that they are welcome here.”
Visitors tried their hand at the giant Pac-Mac Maze, dug for ‘fossils’ in the Kenya Dig-It, and learned the impact of how water moves through land at the river stream table. Thor Hawrey, a senior studying political science and president of a student group, Centriseed Innovations, had guests using pedal power to light a series of bulbs.
“It was awesome seeing children and adults get on our bike generator and be excited when they lit up the light bulbs,” he said. “They had fun while learning a bit about how much energy their homes actually use.” Thor and the volunteers from Centriseed are hopeful that the demonstration encourages people to try more sustainable habits such as switching to energy-efficient light bulbs.
Over in the Health & Safety ‘neighborhood,’ children of all ages learned best practices for emergency care in bleeding control, while others attempted to steer clear of hazards in the distracted driving simulator. Students from the School of Dental Medicine provided screenings and a tour of the Mobile Dental Clinic.
Special events were held throughout the day. Crowds joined in to play on free kazoos courtesy of the Staller Center for the Arts at the Kazoo-niversity concert. Taandava and Bhangra dancers from the Matoo Center for India Studies captivated the audience, and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Stony Brook (OLLI) Chorus harmonized for several songs.
“It’s important for Stony Brook to be a good neighbor,” said Judy Greiman, Chief Deputy to the President and Senior Vice President for Government and Community Relations. “Hosting an event such as CommUniversity Day shows our commitment to building good relationships. It’s great to see so many smiling faces.”
Proud parents of first-year students and their newly-minted Seawolves took part in the activities for some family bonding time. All guests for Parents & Family Weekend were invited to participate in CommUniversity Day.
Tai Chi, hula hoops and volleyball open play had families stretching and playing in the sunshine. A special viewing of the original George Washington spy letters led by Kristen Nyitray, Special Collections and University Archives Director, drew dozens of spectators for an up-close look at the historic documents.
Another special event, the Teddy Bear Clinic, had youngsters playing doctor. They learned about health and safety from Kristi Ladowski, Injury Prevention & Outreach Coordinator from the Stony Brook Trauma Center, while fixing their teddy’s ‘broken arm.’ “My bear is all better now,” said Morgan Cavanagh, 7, from Mount Sinai as she proudly displayed her doll’s bandaged arm.
After enjoying a free ice cream social, hundreds gathered at the brook for the rubber duck race as the Spirit of Stony Brook Marching Band played. Wolfie joined in the celebration by posing for selfies throughout the day.
CommUniversity Day was created and directed by the Office of Community Relations. The event was supported by a dozen team leaders and hundreds of volunteers, and funded through the Stony Brook University Plan for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity.
— Joan Dickinson