Sept. 19—As the fall semester rolls in and classes start, students gathered together at this year’s Chancellor’s Barbecue.
On the front lawn of the Campus Center at the University of Massachusetts Boston, Chancellor Katherine Newman hosted the annual Chancellor’s Barbecue. The event, sponsored by the Chancellor’s Office, the Students Arts and Events Council (SAEC), and Recreation, featured three alumni/student bands—The Danny McCarthy Trio, Sunset Kings, and Stolen Property—the UMass Boston Step Team, Student Organizations, as well as two inflatable attractions: sparring and an obstacle course. Around 3,500 students attended the event to eat food, Italian ices and ice cream, listen to music, and relax by the water between classes.
While sitting near the Harborwalk eating food, a freshman named Kai said, “It's a really good atmosphere. It’s really nice to see everyone just kinda hanging out with their friends, eating food.” Kai is also living in the Residence Halls and commented on their general experience so far at UMass Boston. “[It’s] been really nice and really welcoming, especially as an incoming disabled queer kid. So I've been able to get the assistance that I need. I haven't had anybody say anything rude to me so far. It's just been awesome.” Another freshman, Ryan Zang, stated “Honestly, [the event] gives a new breath of fresh air after classes—especially lack of sleep, and work, well … it's just a breather. I never actually enjoyed the view before, [until] today, 'cause I didn't really get the chance to see it.”
Along with inflatable attractions and music, MassPIRG also manned a voter registration booth to encourage students to vote. Maria Paula, a representative of MassPIRG, said “we got a really good turnout for the first real event that we're going to have, and we were very surprised, because the majority of the student body is already registered to vote”. Other organizations represented were OSLCE (Office of Student Leadership and Community Engagement), Beacon Voyages for Service, and UMass Boston Recreation.
Standing at the entrance of the front lawn, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, Gail DiSabatino, was able to give a statement on the barbecue. “There aren't enough positive words for me to say, I think. It was, first of all, God gave us a great day, right? It started with that. And then, our Chancellor had a wonderful idea to expand the barbecue to make it a music fest so people would come and stay and engage and talk to each other. And I think it was a huge success. There have been people here all day playing games, listening to music, eating, hanging out, and just enjoying this beautiful setting that UMB has. This campus is just a treasure.”
Newman was there the majority of the time so she was able to give a statement in an email. “It was such a joy to see thousands of students out on the lawn, enjoying the sun, the bands, the food, and most of all, each other. I am just thrilled that so many people came out to have a good time and enjoy this stunning campus of ours. I hope we can do events like this throughout the year!”
Hannah Schzde, the violinist in Sunset Kings, is a 2016 alumni. When asked about coming back to the campus, she said, “Coming back? To perform today? I feel like nostalgic but also there's a lot of new things on campus that weren't here before when I graduated. Like we have dorms, we have this area right here, where we're performing. It's evolving from what it was before.”