Thousands of students crowded the Benjamin Franklin Parkway this past Saturday to celebrate the annual day long festival, College Day on the Parkway.
The event stretched from Love Park to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The festival was a collaborative effort among Campus Philly, a nonprofit organization, the City of Philadelphia and numerous vendors and advertisers.
“The point of the event is to help students break through the campus bubble and access Philadelphia’s great culture, dining, entertainment and community opportunities,” said Jon Herrmann, Campus Philly’s executive director. “It should feel comfortable for you to get off campus and explore the city.”
A large turnout was expected since Philadelphia has many colleges and universities. According to the Campus Philly Web site, more than 15,000 students were expected to show up – rain or shine – to College Day.
“The museum area is a great location for this event. It highlights the best the city has to offer,” said Melanie Rago, senior director for Campus Philly. “I thought with the weather that students wouldn’t want to get out of bed, but I’ve seen about 10,000 people so far today.”
College Day included an array of events and vendors to capture the interest of students.
With every few steps students were handed free goodie bags from companies such as Wired 96.5 FM and careerbuilder.com. Honest Tea and Starbucks offered cold beverages, assortment of teas and gift cards to festival attendees.
The event featured the Cool Kids, a hip-hop duo from Illinois. The group’s act caught the attention of many students.
“I saw them on MySpace and said I love them. Their music is old school” said freshman biology major Angelica Thorne. “I like the old school stuff. I just get tired of Lil Wayne.”
Kevin Tague, a senior advertising major, said he also enjoyed the Cool Kids.
“I really liked the Cool Kids. The connection between the audience and the band was very positive,” Tague said. “I was really impressed.”
Other attendees watched the Red Bull sponsored motocross team and freestyle skateboarding. Some spectators shouted at skateboarders requesting them to do skateboard tricks.
Though the live bands, skateboarding, motocross and freebies were located within the same vicinity, College Day also offered events in surrounding areas.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art, offered college students free admission to 11 Philadelphia museums and free bus shuttle to take them there.
The festival included a separate event in Love Park titled Canvas Clash. This event was a mixture of art, music and dance. Six teams of artists unveiled their artwork, using this year’s theme “change.”
Bands and DJs set the tone for the art exhibit, and students were able to view each interpretation of what “change” meant through the eyes of the artists.
Rago and other Campus Philly representatives said this year’s College Day was a success, but there are discussions about improvements for the future.
“I think it would be a great idea for students to do more in the city on College Day from University City to South Philadelphia for example,” Rago said. “It would be nice for students to have discounts at restaurants throughout the city.”
Courtney Makupson can be reached at email@example.com.