College Night Out takes over Bell Tower Green

Published 12:05 am Friday, August 19, 2022

SALISBURY —  An evening of festivities intended for local college students came to Bell Tower Green on Thursday after a two-year break.

College Night Out was called off for the past two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, though the event is usually an annual affair to welcome college students to town.

The event draws on students from Livingstone and Catawba colleges, as well as Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and Hood Theological Seminary. Livingstone and Catawba even had bus service to and from their campuses so students could attend.

Local organizations lined the walkways at the park and a live DJ played throughout the evening.

The event kicked off with comments from local officials.  The entire Salisbury City Council came to the event and spoke briefly from the park’s stage.

“Welcome back home,” Mayor Karen Alexander said.

She also made a point of recognizing Rowan-Salisbury Schools’ new teachers who were invited to the event this year as well.

Council member Tamara Sheffield implored to crowd to “kick this school year’s butt.”

Council member Anthony Smith welcomed the students and told them he hopes they share the love.

Rowan County Board of Commissioners Chair Greg Edds told the students they bring the “spice” to Rowan County and implored them to stay here when they finish school.

“There’s a place here in Rowan County for you,” Edds said. “There’s so many jobs coming here to Rowan County. We want you to stay, we want your intellect and we want the spice you bring to our community.”

After the remarks, Catawba’s cheerleaders performed before Livingstone’s Marching Blue Thunder and cheerleaders marched into the stadium.

Downtown Salisbury Inc. was the main organizer for the event, though it credits the education institutions and the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce as well. Director Sada Stewart Troutman said the goal was to bring back the popular food and entertainment pieces of the event, but also bring in employment opportunities that appeal to students.

“We have a lot of businesses in our downtown that are looking for part time help and seasonal help,” Stewart Troutman said. “We thought that was a perfect fit for college students so we really made employment a focus. Of course as Commissioner Edds said too, we want people staying in Salisbury. We love Rowan County, we love Salisbury, we want people to come to college here and stay here.”

Stewart Troutman said the event comes together with volunteers and help from all the organizations involved.

In addition to the food and entertainment, a long list of stores offered discounts for college students on Thursday and there was a scavenger hunt through the downtown area as well.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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