Residents of the city of Davis largely consist of families and students. The city of Davis holds an annual Neighbors‘ Night Out event, which was held for the third consecutive year this Sunday.
Event organizers say the purpose of Neighbors‘ Night Out is for students and local residents to meet, establish contacts and build relationships.
“Just understanding the basics of [your] neighborhood is an important part of becoming integrated into that neighborhood,” said Gary Sandy, director of local government relations for UC Davis. “That’s really the point of Neighbors‘ Night Out.… Students need a friendly opportunity to meet with their neighbors.“
A record 83 parties were registered with the city, with each Davis neighborhood holding their own individual event, said Stacey Winton, community partnership coordinator with the Davis Community Development Department.
“[The city] did all the invitations for them, and we either mailed them out for [the residents] or we delivered them to the party host and the party host delivered [the invitations] themselves,” Winton said.
While Neighbors‘ Night Out is a popular event, the city of Davis has struggled to gain sufficient student involvement in the event, Winton said.
“This is our third year and we’ve really been working harder to get the students involved.… Last year we had a significant increase in student involvement.… A lot of fraternities and sororities hosted parties,” she said.
While the city does as much as they can to get students involved, ultimately ASUCD has more direct contact with the student population of Davis, Winton said.
“That’s something we’re always struggling with is student involvement.… We want to encourage them to meet their neighbors and get involved with the community,” Winton said.
In order for Neighbors‘ Night Out to be effective, it is necessary for student networks to combine efforts with city officials, said Sandy, the UC Davis representative.
“It’s a genuine partnership between the city and ASUCD,” Sandy said. “Each year students are an integral part of the planning.“
It’s often challenging for neighborhoods to come together since it’s common for multiple students to inhabit single-family homes, Sandy said. Many times students live in a neighborhood surrounded by local Davis homeowners.
Many of the local block parties and various events did include Davis residents and students who live in the same neighborhood.
“That’s one thing we really like about the neighborhood is that there’s a good mix of students and families,” said Amber Welsh, coordinator of her neighborhood event on Farragut Circle.
Welsh has hosted Neighbors‘ Night Out events in past years, and had about 100 people at her block party last year, she said. Welsh’s block party also boasts a local band, The Rick Donaldson Blues Band, whose members also live in the neighborhood.
This year several student fraternities and sororities hosted events in their neighborhoods.
“We participated last year, and the chancellor came and so did some of our neighbors,‘” said Sean Lewis, president of the Theta Xi fraternity on First Street.
While the city offered to handle their invitations, Theta Xi decided to distribute them on their own, since it helps with their networking and community relations, Lewis said.
CAITLIN COBB can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.