Merging the Hill and the Ville
The recent Hill 'n the 'Ville event kicked off the year with live music, inflatable sumo-wrestling and other fun activities. Most importantly, however, the event reinforced and strengthened bonds between the College and the greater Waterville community. And while the carnival-like atmosphere only lasted for a day, the Colby-Waterville Alliance (CWA) works year-round to bring the College closer to its hometown.
The CWA works "to improve the relationship between the Colby and Waterville communities," CWA Co-President Emily Cook '11 said. "We see them as important parts of each other [and] as one larger community."
Cook, a Waterville native, works alongside students from across the country, all of whom have grown to consider her hometown as his or her own. The club relies heavily on volunteers who help with various events that are hosted throughout the year. All the hard work pays off when these events bring students off the Hill to see what the local community has to offer.
The club works to generate greater reciprocity between the College and the Waterville area. When Waterville citizens see Colby students off the Hill, they realize that students care about the community because they live in Waterville, not just because they go to school at the College.
Hill 'n the 'Ville, now in its fourth year, is only one of two annual events put on by the CWA and the local community that foster integration between the Hill and Waterville.
Burst the Bubble Week, which is held every spring, is meant to "show Colby students that there is more to Waterville than meets the eye," Cook said. By organizing a week full of events, they get students into Waterville and Waterville residents onto the Hill.
Last year, students wore bright green shirts that read, "Burst the Bubble!" and many took advantage of discounted prices at business in downtown Waterville.
Additionally, the College hosted panel discussions about the community and a photo exhibition in Pulver Pavilion. The week culminated in a battle of the bands.
In addition to organizing the two events, the CWA works closely with the South End Teen Center to get students on the Hill to volunteer regularly and spend time with local teens. The South End Teen Center is a community center that gives teens a social place to call their own. The CWA arranges flag foot ball games, personal tutoring sessions, conversations about studying abroad and student experiences at the College, circle group discussions and more.
"I think it's great that people are adopting Waterville as their hometown and not just thinking that they're living in a dorm for four years," Cook said.
Whether lounging by the Kennebec waterfront listening to music or tasting the local cuisine on a special night out, the CWA hopes that the Colby and Waterville communities will become so enmeshed that the club will no longer be necessary.