Seminary Street in Westside Binghamton was closed Saturday as nearly 100 people celebrated Seminary Day, a semi-annual block party for students living in the area.
The party extended from Murray to Chapin Avenue and included live music by local student bands and DJs, outdoor beer pong, street chalk drawings, basketball competitions and “stumping” — a drinking game that requires players to hammer each others’ designated nails into a block of wood.
ChangeOver Binghamton, an organization aimed at bringing students who live off campus together, partnered with the Seminary Student Association (SSA) and several residents on Seminary Street to organize the event.
“The idea of it is to have student events Downtown for people to have fun and mingle,” said Mike Raguso, a member of the Seminary Student Association and a graduate student studying engineering.
Chris Paquette, a member of ChangeOver Binghamton and a graduate student studying bioengineering, said Seminary Day is an up-tempo equivalent for students living Downtown to the Residential Life events for students on campus.
“It’s not like there are hallway events like there are in dorms, so we have to make our own events and hopefully they become a regular thing,” Paquette said.
The organizers of the block party gave local businesses an opportunity to participate in the festivities.
“We also handed out flyers to local businesses to help promote the event,” said Ryan Delaney, a member of the Seminary Student Association and a graduate student studying engineering. “We told them if they would like to set up a stand for students to sell food, it would be a great way to get them more business.”
Paquette said that block party organizers decided to move the date of the event, which is traditionally in the spring, to the fall semester to encourage residents to meet their neighbors sooner.
“We tried to make a change this year by hosting Seminary Day in the fall instead of the spring to meet people at the beginning of the school year,” Paquette said.
Raguso said normally around 200 students attend Seminary Day, but because organizers were only able to fence off one block this year, fewer people attended.
Students said they attended Seminary Day for the opportunity to socialize with their peers and neighbors.
“I’ve never been to one of these block parties before and I just came to meet people and have fun,” said Melissa Gutcho, a graduate student studying English.
Apart from Binghamton students, local residents with no affiliation to Binghamton University also attended the event to get to know their neighbors. Paquette said that ChangeOver Binghamton and the Seminary Student Association hoped to encourage students to set aside their “townie” prejudice to learn that most Binghamton locals are friendly and approachable.
Because of the smaller turnout on Saturday, Seminary Day will be repeated in the spring and will be open for all students to participate, regardless of whether they live on or off campus.