With Suffolk University located in the heart of Beacon Hill, it is important for students to become actively involved and connected with the community. The Beacon Hill Block Party was the opportunity to get started.
On Sunday, September 16, the Beacon Hill Civic Association, the BHCA, sponsored a “Block Party” at the firehouse on Mt. Vernon Street to welcome back the residents of the Hill.
“It’s an opportunity for everybody to come together,” said Marylee Halpin, Executive Director of the BHCA. “Everyone has different patterns during the summer. It’s a welcome back.”
Over 20 of Beacon Hill’s various not-for-profit organizations came out to participate in the event. S.O.U.L.S., Suffolk’s Organization for Uplifting Lives through Service, is one of the groups that attended the Block Party. They shared a table with the Off-Campus Housing Office, OCHO, and the Sustainability Club.
“Every year we have an activity planned,” said senior Caroline McHeffey, Project Leader for S.O.U.L.S. at the Block Party. “This year we’re catering to preteens.”
McHeffey wrote a scavenger hunt with two girls from OCHO, and she was most excited to see what the kids would think of it.
“We’re giving out lots of prizes,” said McHeffey. “When they complete the scavenger hunt, they get a prize.”
Prizes included apples from a local Farmer’s Market, shirts, water bottles, and candy.
“It’s a gift to the neighborhood,” Halpin said. “It’s fun! That’s why it’s important. It’s a gift we give to the community that’s fun for all ages.”
A duck boat, police car, and fire truck were available at various times throughout the event for the children to explore and take pictures with.
Activities for children included cupcake decorating, a children’s clothing and toy sale, a bike and scooter parade, the opportunity to design a personal UNICEF box, and the scavenger hunt written by the volunteering members of S.O.U.L.S.
The event featured free historical and architectural tours for the older attendees. The Block Party also included a plant sale, used book sale, and art show.
The Rock Bottom Band provided live music for the Block Party while free burritos were provided by Anna’s Taqueria, and ice cream was donated by J.P. Licks for everyone to enjoy. There was Harpoon on draft at the Beer Garden and the event was tied into the early afternoon Patriots game.
In fact, the BHCA used the Patriots game event to launch a Facebook page.
“It’s a great opportunity to reach out to people who are into Facebook but who are not into the other marketing,” Halpin explained.
Prior to the event, Halpin said she was most looking forward to meeting more residents of Beacon Hill. However, it was not just an event for residents.
“We’re so central to Beacon Hill, we’re definitely a part of the Beacon Hill community,” McHeffey said. “Even if students don’t live on the Hill, it’s a community oriented event. People can come together to do fun things. It gives students a chance to actively engage; to come together and feel like a community. It’s important that we participate.”
The Beacon Hill Block Party is an annual event, and will be running for it’s 12th year next September.