Main Street Bash connects campus with local businesses

Weeks of Welcome has given new freshmen and transfer students a warm introduction to Geneseo in September, with a wide range of events created to foster connections and to increase understanding between students and the college. 

WOW included the inaugural Main Street Bash, an event designed to introduce new students to the businesses on Main Street during the weekly Thursday afternoon farmer’s market.

The bash was advertised by email, poster and even sidewalk chalk. The short walk from campus to Main Street allowed the bash to fit in neatly alongside other WOW activities. It is the only activity in all 24 days that was held off campus. 

Mixing a traditional, getting-to-know Geneseo college event with an introduction to the greater Geneseo community, the event was led by communication major senior Sarah Jane Phillips. Phillips interned for the Geneseo Community Main Street organization over the summer.

“I was here all summer,” Phillips said. “So I dove into the community and understood the businesses.” 

Phillips was inspired by the influence Main Street had on her college experience. In planning the event, she wanted to use her knowledge of both the college and the town to introduce new students to Main Street. 

“I really got the idea from when I was a freshman here and Main Street became such an important part of my Geneseo experience,” Phillips said. “Every time I came to Main Street, I felt like I was home. I really wanted to introduce all the freshmen to that—the feeling that Geneseo is a community—as soon as they’re on campus.” 

Phillips indeed accomplished this goal. The event drew in considerable crowds, featuring local businesses, an open mic, scavenger hunts, wagon rides and food sampling. 

Local farms and artisans set up tents along Center Street to sell organic produce, nursery plants, ice cream and even hot sauce. 

Students could also learn about a wide array of volunteer organizations and community opportunities, including “one free admission” coupons handed out by the National Warplane Museum. 

“[The event] is cute,” psychology major sophomore Brittany Pratt said. “If we were freshmen, it would be a really cool thing to have.” 

The students’ enjoyment seemed to be shared by the Main Street business owners, who were overjoyed to see the students return, according to Phillips. The business brought in by the event strengthened the relationship between the Main Street business owners and the Geneseo students. 

With such success, Phillips hopes that she can establish Main Street Bash as a yearly event for future freshmen. 

“I’m really hoping that the internship could take on this event every year,” Phillips said. “I always feel like because we are a block away, we have such an opportunity to have a strong connection … the Geneseo community is between College Street and Main Street."u

Communication major senior Sarah Jane Phillips organized the Main Street Bash event after working as an intern for the Geneseo Community Main Street organization. The event included local businesses, wagon rides and live entertainment. (Annalee Bainnson/Photo Editor)