It takes a village . . . to throw a party

(Edmonton) With students returning to class in a less than a week, now seems like a good time for a party.

A block party, that is.

On Sept. 3, University of Alberta Residence Services is hosting a block party for new and returning students of the east campus residences.

Approximately 2,300 residents will have a chance to chat up their university and non-university neighbours, sample wares and fares of local merchants and dance up a storm at the evening concert.

“What we really want to do is get them familiar with their community so that they want to stay there, so that it really feels like home to them and they just love that neighbourhood,” said Lindsay McLeod, marketing and residence relations coordinator.  “We have such a wonderful neighbourhood, great neighbours and great businesses in the area.”

Between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., residence dwellers will have the chance to get to know the campus’s resources and programs that are at their disposal. Various student groups will be on hand to explain their services to students. And roughly 30 local merchants will have kiosks on hand to familiarize students with their business. The main idea, however, is not just to make this a home away from home, but to create an atmosphere that they will want to keep coming back to year after year.

But McLeod says the event is a “mix between a farmers market and a really good party.” The event is also a coming-out party of sorts for Graduate Residence. The residence opened its doors last year and McLeod says that area residents will have an opportunity to have a look at the university’s newest housing space.

Music will also be flowing from the block throughout the day, culminating in a free concert starting at 5 p.m. featuring local bands 100 Mile House, Sister Gray and Free Elliot. And if students still need an excuse to exit the confines of their new home to visit the event, McLeod is hoping the beef-on-a-bun barbeque will do the trick. For a first-time event, the planning leading up to the event itself has been furiously building over the last four months. And with roughly 200 confirmed attendees, organizers are optimistic that the party will become an annual event.

“We’re hoping that this one really takes and we can just expand upon it every year. We’d love to see an actual farmer’s market, helping students stock their fridges right off the bat,” said McLeod.

For more information or to RSVP to the party, visit the event’s Facebook page.