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Local News

November 5, 2012

Events connects SUNY Oneonta students, residents

ONEONTA — Nicole Foti, 20, and Bridget Dickson, 2, put their heads together to decide which stickers to put onto a card. The result was pink and purple and had a beach theme, plus a couple of ponies.

Foti, a SUNY Oneonta student, and Bridget were working on a crafts project Sunday during Autumn Connection, a get-together at the Elks Club in Oneonta. The event was designed to give students and residents a chance to meet, mingle and improve town-gown relations.

“I think it’s great,’’ Oneonta resident Rick Dickson, Bridget’s father, said. “It’s nice to see the college students doing something to bridge the gap in the community.’’

Dickson said he also appreciated an event that provided indoor activities for his daughter on a cloudy, wintry Sunday.

Dawn Sohns, a full-time lecturer at the State University College at Oneonta, said the event was a project developed by about 45 students in her public relations course. Sohns estimated that residents from about 30 households attended Sunday’s event.

The academic goal was to learn elements of a public relations event, Sohns said, and the community-oriented goal was to create an opportunity for students and residents to meet and interact in a positive environment.

“I want people to know how wonderful our students are,’’ she said. At the conclusion of the event Sunday, Sohns said the project was successful in meeting both goals and will be discussed in class later this week to generate a fuller assessment.

Residents who attended will speak to their neighbors, which will further the project’s goal to develop positive town-gown relations, Sohn said.

“We accomplished our objectives,’’ Sohns said. “It was definitely worth the effort.’’

David Rissberger, Common Council member representing the Third Ward where tensions have developed this fall, praised the student project. 

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