On Friday, April 4, University Avenue in downtown Sewanee was closed for a block party that was created to bring the community together. Invitations were sent to restaurants downtown, spots in Monteagle, and, of course, on campus. Hosted by Caitlin-Jean Juricic’s (C’14) newly founded Ask Not Campaign, an organization geared toward community engagement, the event was a hit.
“Friday was a night that I’d like to see happen more in the future, where all people can come together to be together, where they can learn about what’s going on in and around Sewanee, where they can meet new people, and most importantly, make new and lasting relationships despite the town and gown label.
On-campus bands Relish and Uncle Remus played while guests went from table to table to talk to individuals sharing their personal passions: books they have written, charity projects, and businesses. The tables included SGA’s One Bead project, the Community Action Committee, Think Outside the Bottle, Animal Harbor, and SPOT. Over ten organizations came out to meet new faces and enjoy Blue Chair, Crossroads, Julia’s, and Shenanigans for the night. “Students, faculty, staff, seminarians, alumni, residential members, and children all came. I was just really happy to see the turnout. It’s important to note that this wasn’t just a ‘university’ community, but rather the community as a whole.”
By 6:30 p.m., a crowd had already formed and conversations were started. The Sewanee police were present to ensure that the road was blocked for the three-hour window. “This was honestly an amazing event,” Meg Banfield (C’15) said. “I got my face painted and played some games. It’s been a great experience for Photo courtesy of Gabby Valentine everyone.” Many workers from Sewanee were present with their children, so treats were offered at some tables for visitors. While most adults grabbed a beer from the Blue Chair truck and enjoyed the music, children played tag on the green.
On a weekend full of alternative events, the Friday Angel Fest represented one way to get connected with others in a non-party setting. The presence of community members made it a diverse and unique setting for conversation, and even a few Trustees made their way down to see what the Ask Not Campaign was all about.
Juricic worked for over a month to work out the details of the intricate event, and the results were well worth her while. Throughout the night, strangers became friends, all from different walks of life. The idea behind the Ask Not Campaign, according to Juricic, is to “promote attitude awareness of how people act around each other within the community… There’s a social divide that can be fixed.”
Without a doubt, the Ask Not Campaign was successful in bringing new faces together in one place to enjoy good music, good food, and good conversation. The event ended at 9:30 p.m., but guests were invited to Shenanigans to continue conversations and to share what they thought about the Angel Fest.