300 Cambridge Youth Throng To Fourth City DaysBy Orli G. Bahcall
About 300 fourth through sixth grade Cambridge public school students descended on MIT last Friday for the fourth annual City Days festival.
City Days, sponsored by the Public Service Center, exists to promote community service and outreach to the Cambridge community, said Tracy F. Purinton, the festival's coordinator.
The Cambridge students participated in a number of activities, ranging from building an aerodynamically sound airplane to participating in an egg drop to touring an aeronautics and astronautics lab.
Over 800 MIT students, 75 percent of whom were freshmen, participated in City Days. After receiving a free t-shirt and a bagel breakfast, the MIT students split up into 40 groups and prepared their stations for the Cambridge students.
The turnout of Cambridge students was unexpectedly low, perhaps because "many people were away for Labor Day," Purinton said. The Public Service Center is considering inviting an additional grade from the public schools next year to increase attendance, she said.
But the PSC considers City Days a success, Purinton said.
"We hope to have hit all 800 [MIT] students who participated so that they know that the Public Service Center is a resource available on campus," she said.
Mayor kicks off City Days
Cambridge Mayor Kenneth Reeves, chair of the Cambridge School committee, began City Days with a piece of advice for freshmen. The Residence and Orientation Week decision of where to live is not going to have a life-long affect on students, he said.
But two decisions every MIT student must make will have a profound influence: looking both ways when crossing Massachusetts Avenue, and getting involved in community service, he said.
The mayor spoke of the importance of becoming involved with community service and praised the efforts MIT takes to involve students in the Cambridge community.
Other guest speakers at City Days included student coordinators Stacy K. Betz '97 and Shruti Sehra '96, Assistant for Community Relations in the President's Office Paul Parravano, and Co-Chairman of the Steering Committee John G. Kassakian '65.
The student speakers said that City Days is a kick-off event for the center's yearlong service programs and spoke briefly of these programs.
To follow up City Days, the Public Service Center is holding an open house training session next week for Links, a year long outreach program to the Cambridge Public Schools, Purinton said.