By Beth Treffeisen
As the sun slowly went down on a warm early fall evening, people talked to one another enjoying the food and beverages.
Together, students, facility, police officers and the surrounding community members mixed and mingled at Northeastern Crossing this past Monday evening, on September 12, as part of the Northeastern Crossing Gateway Mixer.
The free, outdoor event hosted by Northeastern Crossing, a program that serves as a venue for on-campus and off-campus communities to develop events that foster new personal and professional networks, hoped to continue to build and bridge the community in the heart of Ruggles Plaza during this celebration.
“When we where first being created the staff was asked to find ways to enhance the space,” said Derek Lumpkins the director of neighborhood programs and partnerships.
“We didn’t want to create a farmer’s market or something you would just pass through,” said Lumpkins. “We wanted it to be intentional to make introductions by building a bridge between the two groups; people on-campus and off campus.”
At the start of a new academic year Lumpkins said this event serves both as a welcome and a welcome back.
For Tavia Allen, a fourth year, at Northeastern, who was volunteering said this is the first time she has become involved with Northeastern Crossing.
“It’s a good place to talk and network,” said Allen. “We are getting students who haven’t heard of this before interested.”
Kathy Torres, a fourth year, who was volunteering beside Allen said, “People walk by and we let them know about who we are.”
They both added that it helped that the food catered by Haley House, a non-profit bakery and cafe was excellent.
John Tobin the vice president of city and community affairs said, “It’s a further way to engage Northeastern. You can’t just have a conversation with people if you want to do something.”
He added that with the help of various city and state services they have been able to update the area making it a welcome place to both residents and students.
“We are opening Northeastern Crossing because it’s the front door, a stoop, to the neighborhood,” Tobin continued. “We offer a lot and we want people to know about it.”
As guests continued to socialize with one another and take pictures for Instagram an online picture sharing service, everyone took a second to pause and listen to Joseph Aoun the president of Northeastern University.
He stated that to hold this event, it took a lot of work to get to this point where they have started a relationship with the surrounding community between the students and nearby residents.
“This is not the beginning,” said Aoun. “It’s a celebration of what we have here now.”