By: Erika Richter

 

In conjunction with the downtown Hamilton event of the same name, McMaster University will be hosting its first Open Streets event on Sept. 23 and 24, 11 a.m to 4 p.m.

Inspired by Hamilton’s Open Streets events, which have bought thousands to James Street North, McMaster and Westdale are opening up their roadways to expand this weekend’s downtown event. There will be shuttles and organized bike rides running all day to connect the two events and to encourage students to explore beyond the confines of campus.

The event will include a wide range of activities aimed at promoting vibrant communities, healthy living and environmental sustainability. With the streets closed off and safe to walking, riding or rolling along, Open Streets encourages participants to think about walkability and bikeability of the city and creates an atmosphere of inclusivity. The hope is that community members who come out to the event will develop a connection and a sense of ownership towards the community. “Make the streets your playground,” the event’s slogan goes.

In addition to celebrating McMaster’s 125th year, this event will welcome and involve community members. The opening up of this public space and the wide range of events and vendors that will be hosted at the event will ensure that the occasion will attract a diverse group of individuals from the community.

“Forward with Integrity,” a University visioning letter by McMaster president Patrick Deane, speaks to the need for McMaster students to engage with their community and for mutual respect to be developed among the different demographics represented in the area. Deane’s letter includes a reminder that students have a lot to gain from interacting with the permanent residents in the community and vice-versa.

Open Streets will be a powerful representation of the importance of these connections, as both students and permanent residents will be hosting tables and sharing their ideas and their organizations with other community members. The campus will also be hosting tours, lectures and visits to the planetarium to showcase the value and diversity of student life and what the campus itself has to offer.

So instead of just lighting the candles on McMaster’s 125th birthday cake, let’s celebrate a new era in McMaster’s history – one in which the community is able to function as a cohesive whole, and both McMaster students and permanent residents can fill the streets together in mutual respect and cooperation.

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