Celebrating Community Connection

events / campus life

Food, music and fun drew hundreds of students and others to Craig Street on Saturday, Aug. 26, for the fourth annual Craig Street Crawl.

The family friendly block party introduces incoming Carnegie Mellon University students to the business district near campus.

Stephanie Tam, an incoming first-year student in the College of Engineering said the event was a good opportunity to start to see the city.

"I'm trying to learn more about Pittsburgh," she said.

With free treats from restaurants and giveaways from businesses, the Craig Street Crawl gives students a sampling of the things they can find there, said Meredith Hassenrik, coordinator of Student Activities at Carnegie Mellon's Office of Student Leadership, Involvement, and Civic Engagement.

John Hannon, associate vice president of Student Affairs for Community Life, said business owners on Craig Street have been supportive of the event and have seen the value of welcoming new students.

"From a university perspective, the Crawl underscores the special relationship between campus and this vibrant neighborhood," Hannon said. "Students walk away from the event with a much deeper appreciation for the many different ways that Craig Street enhances our community. The Crawl sets the tone that it is a fun, engaging and accessible place to spend time, which is exactly what we want them to take away from the experience."

Lisa Brown, co-owner of Eat Unique on Craig Street, agreed, adding that the lively event, with its music and street-side booths, gives the street "such a great feel." The cookies staff members handed out were a favorite.

Brown said students are important to her café, which is one of several local off-campus partners of Carnegie Mellon's Dining Services.

"The fact that it's drawing people to the street is important, particularly for students not familiar to the area," Brown said. "It certainly gives us, the merchants and the restaurant owners, a chance to say, 'Hey! Here we are, and here's what you can find in our restaurants and our stores.'"

Along with Craig Street stores, Carnegie Mellon groups and departments hosted information tables. Among them was the student club Sustainable Earth, which partnered with the nonprofit Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse to hand out more than 150 plants.

"In exchange for the free plants, we asked people to think of one lifestyle change, that they could commit to in order to live more sustainably," said Abbey Mui, a sophomore studying information systems. Mui is also the executive director of Sustainable Earth.

Volunteers offered tours of the Winthrop Street community gardens.

"It was so great seeing students come together on a day with such nice weather to celebrate community," Mui said.