Posted on Sep 25, 2008

For the second straight year, local restaurants, shops and cultural attractions hope to attract hundreds of students downtown for “Welcome Back Students Day” Saturday, Sept. 27 from 1 to 6 p.m.

The event is a follow-up to “Show Me Schenectady,” the first major event organized by the Union-Schenectady Alliance (USA), created by recent Union graduates Steve Walker Walker and Josh DeBartolo to bolster relations between the College and the city. More than 400 students turned out last year to sample city life, and the event now includes Schenectady County Community College students.

Students enjoy Jay Street during orientation in 2003


“This is an innovative and enjoyable way to draw students from both downtown colleges into our district at the beginning of the academic year,” said Jim Salengo, executive director of the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corp.“By familiarizing students early on with downtown’s many shopping, dining and entertainment options, we hope to encourage them to return regularly.”

The DSIC, the Chamber of Schenectady County and Proctors Theatre are key sponsors of the event.

“I'm amazed how much our businesses and organizations are willing to support efforts to bring students into downtown Schenectady,” said Ariel Sincoff-Yedid ’09, co-chair of USA. “I’ve become passionate about working with the city, and my motivation to organize these ‘downtown days’ comes from seeing how many students come to Schenectady and take advantage of the city's offerings after these big events.”

Students can pick up a program at Robb Alley at Proctors. Businesses will offer discounts or merchandise throughout the afternoon for those presenting special tickets, available for purchase at Proctors from noon to 5 p.m. Local musicians and college groups will perform throughout the day. An after-party will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. in Robb Alley.

“Bringing Union College, Schenectady County Community College and downtown Schenectady together is the best way to create the sort of lively downtown that will make us an enviable college town,” said Philip Morris, CEO of Proctors.

Two highlights of the day are “Scrabble-ectady” and the “Cultural Crawl.” In “Scrabble-ectady,” students pick up Scrabble tiles at participating businesses and return to Proctors to submit the highest-scoring word possible on a special game board. In the “Cultural Crawl,” students answer trivia questions celebrating Schenectady’s history.

“I'm looking forward to hearing about the expanded horizons students will gain after we show them just how alive and close their backyard is,” said Dave Brown ’10, co-chair of USA.