As a Shippensburg University student, do you feel connected to downtown Shippensburg?
Well, a great way to get acclimated is to attend Ship First Fridays, hosted by Shippensburg Revitalization Group (SRG). SRG is a group of volunteers striving for the inclusiveness of the Shippensburg community.
SRG wants students to feel welcome and comfortable and have a good time in downtown Shippensburg. These events are free to attend. SRG leader Mitch Burrows said he wants students and community members to feel included in one collective community.
“There's this kind of weird imaginary barrier between them [the university and downtown],” Burrows said. “The biggest hurdle to get over is to dissolve that barrier and have this be a greater Shippensburg community.”
Allen Dieterich-Ward, SU history professor and co-leader of SRG, said SRG aims to make all members of the SU and Shippensburg communities feel included.
“If I had to describe what my vision of SRG specifically is, it is as a collaborator or an enabler — inspiring might be another one too,” Dieterich-Ward said.
SU junior Meg Harmon is a frequent attendee of Ship First Fridays and vice president of the Rotaract Club.
“I have always had a love for First Fridays and have been going since I was a freshman. It was always a fun place to listen to live music, make new friends and eat good food,” Harmon said. “It has also been a life saver to deal with stress when May's first Friday comes around because it’s around finals.”
Harmon said she recommends the monthly event to students because it can strengthen their ties to the community and gives them a special event to which to look forward.
“It's a fun-loving environment to relax and enjoy yourself,” Harmon said.
SU English professor Carla Kungl is another frequent attendee.
Kungl said she always has a great time at First Friday and thinks it would be a great experience for students.
“The location is really nice since there is a big field where the kids can play while the grownups can talk. And the music is great — really catchy but not too loud that you have to shout over it to hear each other talk,” Kungl said. “Lots of faculty and community members attend and it provides a nice opportunity to see and talk to faculty out of the classroom. It’s low key and outdoors and just really relaxing.”
Kungl also noted that the event is a way for students to network with community members, which could lead to internships and future jobs.
The next Ship First Fridays event is May 7 at 4 p.m. at the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail head, next to the Shippensburg Station.