Students burst the bubble
The Colby Waterville Alliance's (CWA) sixth annual Burst the Bubble Week concluded last Friday, and was regarded by group leaders as the most successful of its kind in the event's short history.
Burst the Bubble began in 2005 under the leadership of the CWA. Students founded the group, formerly known as the Colby South End Coalition, in 2003 to improve relations between the College and the South End of Waterville through awareness and civic engagement. The group changed its name in 2007 with the new mission of encouraging positive interaction between Colby and Waterville and enhancing the overall town environment.
The group promotes this interaction by holding events that bring students off the Hill and into the Waterville community through activities such as the Battle of the Bands, the Hill 'n the 'Ville, volunteering at the South End Teen Center and, of course, Burst the Bubble Week. "The goals of Burst the Bubble are to provide concrete events that bring together the Colby and Waterville communities in a positive manner and also to increase awareness that the two communities are not completely separate but rather one larger community," Emily Cook '11, coordinating president of the CWA, said.
"This year we sold t-shirts, had kids from the South End Teen Center to sled at the chapel and eat in Dana, had Get Up Downtown at Maynard's Chocolates and Friday was local discount night downtown," Emily Fleming '12, publicity president of the CWA, said. "A battle of the bands and a panel discussion on 'local-vores' (eating and farming locally) will be coming in March. I think it's actually going to help our cause a lot to have two sets of events, like we're having this year."
Last week's Get Up Downtown event, held at the newly opened Maynard's Chocolates in the Hathaway Creative Center, was well received by both the students and the community. Maynard's, which had its grand opening on Dec. 5, is owned by Wanda and Charlie Theobald and Wanda's brother, Jeff Young. "I've been making chocolate for over 20 years now," Wanda Theobald said. Prior to opening Maynard's, she worked in a coastal Maine chocolate shop before relocating to Waterville in 2006. The store is named after her father, who fought in World War II and died at a young age.
Young has already made a name for himself in the food industry. "My brother was the one who invented Lobster Ice Cream at his shop in Bar Harbor," Wanda Theobald said. "He's been on the Food Channel, Good Morning America and in The New York Times."
Almost everything in the store is made at Maynard's, with the exception of Jelly Belly's and several other brand name candies. The shop includes ice cream, gelato, truffles, barks, fudge and many chocolate covered treats. When asked what her favorite chocolate was, Wanda answered, "Our Maynard's Crisp. I eat too much of it while I'm working!"
Despite its hard to find location inside the Hathaway Creative Center, business has been booming for the shop. "We had over 300 customers last night coming from a Chamber of Commerce after-hours meeting," Charlie Theobald said. "Many came in after they got dinner and nearly wiped us out of our stock."
Students who ventured down to Maynard's from the Hill were rewarded with the best incentive: free samples of everything in the store. The event, which satisfied many stomachs, has guaranteed further business from students in the future.
"I thought this was a great event," Lauren Harris '12 said. "Students often embrace the 'Colby bubble' rather than try to break it, and events like this are a great incentive for students to get to know the town of Waterville more. I wasn't even aware Maynard's was here before tonight."
The CWA was very encouraged by the results of last week's Get Up Downtown. "I think the event went really well, considering it was the first full week of the semester," Fleming said. "I think that for Maynard's the publicity was great, as it got students down there."
"This Burst the Bubble week was different than other years, partially because there were so many other events and activities as compared to other years and also because it seems to me that people are starting to understand the message of interconnectedness for which we strive," Cook said. "I noticed in an Echo article this fall regarding a Get Up Downtown, someone was quoted as doing something to 'burst the bubble'; this attitude is, I believe, increasing on campus."
"I think students respond really well to Burst the Bubble," Fleming added. "I know a lot of my friends go downtown, and I encourage people to support local businesses. I think the concept is a great one, and people seem to make more of an effort to buy local than go to WalMart and such."
After being so well received this year, members of the CWA are very excited for the success of the program in the future. Relations between students on the Hill and residents of the town improve every year, and the future looks promising.
While this year's Burst the Bubble was very succesful for both the school and the community, Fleming and Cook have high hopes for future events. "I would like to make getting downtown more accessible to students; a lot of people support the concept, but it's hard when you don't have a car. I think walking tours of downtown and an event with samples from the local restaurants would help attract more students," Fleming said.
"In future Burst the Bubble weeks I would love to see even more new faces exploring all that the Waterville area has to offer both in terms of businesses and people. At a place like Colby, where people are always coming and going in a relatively short period of time, events like this can serve to integrate students and other members of the Colby family into the greater Waterville community," Cook said.
In terms of fostering the relationship between students and residents, Fleming agreed. "I think there are a lot of misperceptions about Colby students and also about Waterville residents. It's a miscommunication, but I think the more students show they care and the more the administration makes fostering better relations a priority, these bonds will become stronger."