Students need to open their eyes on community events

To the Editor:

It was the Sunday morning I’d been anticipating all month: the day of the Annual Fall Foliage Parade. The sky seemed a little overcast as I hopped into my car to head over to North Adams, but being a sucker for parades, I was nonetheless pretty excited to be going. As I drew closer to the main part of town, I saw hoards of people walking toward Main St. to pick out their prime seating spots along the road.

After parking, I headed over to my friend’s house on State Street. The streets were packed on both sides with people chatting and happily waiting in their lawn chairs and on blankets. Walking up the hill of his front lawn, I saw that everyone was already there: kids were running around and wrestling with each other, people were sitting in chairs to kick back a few beers, and my friend had started up the grill to cook the hot dogs. Everyone was over for the annual front yard cookout, in high spirits and ready for the parade.

I took a seat on his front porch steps and enjoyed my birds-eye view of the parade wholeheartedly. It was really spectacular. The sun came out and the parade went by with marching bands, bagpipe players, the Shriners and their undersized go-carts, some antique cars and bikes and even a team of Budweiser Clydesdale horses.

As I watched from my perch, I couldn’t help wondering why more students from Williams hadn’t come out for the parade. There had been no mention of the event anywhere on campus, and everyone seemed to be on their way to Mountain Day. While I must admit that the idea of singing and playing recorders from atop a mountain seems intriguing, I found it amazing that more people didn’t want to get out and see what was going on outside the Purple Bubble.

It’s truly unfortunate that most students here at Williams have no contact with the surrounding area outside of visiting locations such as Stop ’n Shop and Walmart. I feel that many students perceive the surrounding towns as rundown and somewhat trashy. However, they are filled with a fascinating history and many genuine, friendly people. While I still think that there is much for me to learn about the area, I consider the friendships that I have made with people here to be some of the most valuable and am extremely grateful for the opportunities I had to meet them.

Perhaps there needs to be better communication between the campus and local area so students can be better informed on what happens. Most importantly though, I think students need to make the effort to get out for a little taste of the area. Everyone deserves to see the beer horses haul down the main drag of North Adams on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.