Tasting and Talking: Students Get to Know the Off-Campus Community

a taste of off campus

Tables with the flavors of local restaurants, like Crazy Dough’s and El Pelon, covered the lawn on Brighton Campus Wednesday afternoon as part of the ninth annual A Taste of Off-Campus, an event hosted by the Office of Residential Life, Off-Campus Housing, the Office of Government and Community Affairs, and the Office of the Dean of Students.

The event, which was free and open to all Boston College students, offered attendees an opportunity to try local foods and mingle with BC administrators and city officials.

“We want to promote a positive relationship between our students and the local community,” said Peter Kwiatek, assistant director of off-campus living and one of the hosts of the event, said. “Oftentimes, neighborhood relationships can be strained because students and neighbors have different lifestyles and perspectives.”

Vendors and students were also able to interact at the event, with the restaurant representatives distributing food, coupons, t-shirts, and stickers.

The vendors included restaurants beloved by students, such as El Pelon, Crazy Dough’s, and Lee’s Burger Place, as well as some lesser-known but equally popular restaurants, like Thai North and the New Sapporo Restaurant.

A Taste of Off Campus offers a chance for students and local vendors to form a mutually beneficial relationship.

“We’ve been coming up here three or four years now, and every year I see different faces and that translates into business for us,” said Fuel’s managing partner, Carlos Magalhaes. “So we don’t mind doing this. We see these faces here, and then we see them in the store.”

The event attracted all kinds of students, from off-campus juniors to BC Law students who already knew the tricks of the trade.

“I’ve never experienced something so transcendent, if you will,” Eric Gesuale, MCAS ’18, said. “It’s just free food everywhere. I couldn’t get enough, quickly enough, and I’m just very excited to eat.”

Among the faculty in attendance was the off-campus student community liaison Stephen Montgomery. Prior to the event he posted fliers on the doors of off-campus residences, encouraging students to attend.

At the event, he spoke with students and introduced them to members of BCPD and fellow Brighton residents. Kwiatek finds that these relationships can be beneficial for students, as they normally only interact with Montgomery when they are in trouble.

“It’s great because often students will only interact with him on nights and weekends when he’s knocking on their door because they’re getting a neighbor complaint,” Kwiatek said. “This is just a way for students to talk to him at five in the afternoon, in a very casual social setting and get to know who he is.”

Featured Image by Laurie St. Clair / Heights Staff