College Night Out lets loose before storm shuts things down

Published 12:05 am Sunday, August 27, 2023

SALISBURY — Before rain and lightning washed away everyone’s good time at Bell Tower Green, people were waving fans and sipping cold drinks in the sweltering heat for College Night Out, an event put on by the city of Salisbury as a way for local students to get acclimated to the place they call home during the school year at least.

“College Night Out is an event where we welcome our local colleges, they’re freshman, sophomores, just welcome them to the city of Salisbury, welcoming them to downtown Salisbury,” Events Coordinator Latoya Price said. “The purpose is to give them a night out and let them see what we offer that includes our downtown business and non-profits.”

Catawba College, Livingstone College, and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College were just some of the schools on hand to guide their students to the many resources that are available. Community Care Clinic, Rowan Young Professionals, North Carolina Transportation Museum and The Pedal Factory talked with students about who they are and what they do for their members and others.

Dr. Reginald Boyd Jr. represented Hood Theological Seminary for anyone interested in the ministry. They already gathered a few signatures before the weather turned ugly and will be reaching back out to them in the near future. The seminary wanted to be at College Night Out in order to let the right people know that they are around.

“Because we are part of the community, we want to make sure that everybody knows who we are and why we exist. So, we come to let our students know that if you are desiring to go into ministry, we are here and available for you,” Boyd said.

People got off their feet to move and root for some wildly entertaining performances from both high schools and colleges. The Catawba College band and cheer team, Livingstone College band and cheer team and East Rowan High School cheer team each showed off their talents with synchronized dance moves and unbelievable backflips. The bands brought out their beautiful instruments to play some raucous tunes to a jubilant crowd.

Annie Barnhill, a history major at Catawba, came to College Night Out to hang with her friends, check out the organizations and take advantage of as much of the “free stuff” as possible. For her, this gathering opened her eyes to what Salisbury and the rest of Rowan County is all about.

“I think there’s a lot of good variety. Being on a college campus, it can kind of feel a little bit isolating from the rest of the community, so it’s good to get out and see what’s around,” Barnhill said.

Salisbury Youth Council

Also at College Night Out, was the Salisbury Youth Council, a city program that is free for 9th-12th graders who live within Rowan County. They meet twice-a-month and do “community-based projects” like canned food drives, Adopt-A-Street, BlockWork and holiday cards for veterans. It has been going for a number of years and is currently overseen by parks and recreation with additional advisement from public works, Downtown Salisbury Inc., and communications.

“Kids get to learn about local government, they understand the city more and how it works, they get to serve the community, and understand what it takes to actually make an impact in the community itself,” Sustainability Coordinator Allie Thies said. “Things aren’t done overnight, they’re done with steps and planning and progress. They get to learn how to make the city that they want to live in.”

The Salisbury Youth Council is accepting applications until Sept. 8. Their first meeting will take place on Sept. 12 at 5:30 p.m. at the Miller Recreation Teen Center.