Caitlin Lezell, Journal Staff
Suffolk University united students, alumni and families with the Boston community this past Family Weekend at the Suffolk Stampede. The event, co-sponsored by the Off-Campus Housing Office (OCHO), the Advancement Office, and S.O.U.L.S., and several other Suffolk organizations, was intended to help raise money for the North End’s Eliot School.
Over 100 students, alumni and family members from both Suffolk and the Eliot School participated in this Stampede. All had their choice of the “fun run” course of 2.25 miles, or the walking course of 1.4 miles, followed by a barbeque and a raffle.
Yvette Velez, director of OCHO, explained that the main intention of hosting the event on Family Weekend was to bring together the community and “the best way to [do that] is through family,” she said.
Elizabeth Conley, associate director of Young Alumni Relations, agreed. She explained that Suffolk University and S.O.U.L.S. have been working closely with the Eliot School, which is the only remaining public elementary school in the North End, for some time now, trying to help relieve the financial stress that the school has been suffering from as a result of extreme budget cuts last year.
“So many Suffolk students live in the North End,” said Conley. “We are already a big part of that community. We are trying to build a bridge between Suffolk students and the next generation.”
As the walk occurred along the Boston Esplanade, Conley said the Stampede was really meant to highlight the beauties of attending an urban university.
“This program really is a testament to Suffolk University,” said Dean of Students and Suffolk Alumna Dr. Ann Coyne as she addressed participants at the start.
John McDonnell, bachelor of science in business administration (BSBA) guaduate of ‘83, was one of the several alumni in attendance. He helped to plan the event from the beginning and donated several raffle prizes including Bruins tickets.
He also spoke to the crowd on the topic of community at Suffolk. McDonnelle believes that with events like the Suffolk Stampede, it will be possible to build a sense of community at Suffolk, as we don’t have a homecoming or football team.
George Kokoros, another alumnus, donated a large amount of school supplies to the Eliot School through Acco Brands, and Acting President and Provost Barry Brown donated raffle prizes including gift cards to the Suffolk Bookstore.
The Stampede was a continuation of a similar event hosted by Suffolk University for the Eliot School last spring, and there are already plans to expand it for next year. Twice as many participants turned out over the weekend, and there are hopes to double that number the next time around.