By Diana Sanchez
Elm Staff Writer
Washington College will have its first Community Unity Day on Saturday, April 14 on the campus green. Dr. Elena Deanda, associate professor of Spanish and director of the Black Studies Program, has been working on this event for two years now.
Dr. Deanda believes that Community Day is a way to connect the College to the local community and merge the two communities together.
“Our neighbors have misconceptions about our students. I think this is an initiative to break the bread, to get together, so we can break some misconceptions,” she said.
The College has not been able to create a lasting and impressionable relationship with the rest of the community thus far. Holding a community day where organizations from the school can come to the town and have booths to explain what they are doing and to share information is, to Dr. Deanda, a step in the right direction to mend the gap between the local residents of Chestertown and WC.
From the College, the Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, Student Environmental Alliance, Campus Christian Fellowship, and Caring for Kids will be hosting information booths and volunteering. By next year, Dr. Deanda hopes this event will carry on and will have more student-run organizations involved.
There will be four areas at the event. One area is the kids’ corner, led by Caring for Kids, where people can have their faces painted and children can play on moon bounces.
There will be music played on a main stage by bands like the Fox Company Band who play occasionally at the Fish Whistle, and the College’s musicians will also be there. Attendees will also be free to join a drum circle—drums provided.
The streets of Chestertown will be lined with a variety of food trucks, featuring Cajun food, fish frys, hot dogs, and quesadillas. There will also be informational booths on topics like how to identify opioid addiction and voter registration.
Organizations and businesses from Chestertown have also shown excitement for the event. The Diversity Dialogue Group, Garfield Center for the Arts, Kent County Family Center, Kent County Library, and the Chestertown Police Department will also be involved in Unity Day.
Chestertown Mayor Chris Cerino and WC President Kurt Landgraf are also excited by the prospect of creating an event by both the locals and College, according to Dr. Deanda.
To mark the event, a community mural will be made to represent the merging of two communities. The mural will be moved and displayed around town and the College.
The event is not only for fun and games, but also to allow students to learn what the town has to offer in regards to learning about research projects, job prospects, and volunteer opportunities as well.
“For my students that’s what I really want them to know. That there is life in Chestertown,” Dr. Deanda said.