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Scholars take a walk around downtown

Alyssa Jackson
505-5438/@AlyssaJacksonYD
  • Freshmen and sophomore students from York College spent the day downtown in York City.
  • The program's goal is to foster entrepreneurs interested in helping York City grow and thrive.
  • Students had the opportunity to learn about local businesses and see some of the hot spots.

Things are great in downtown York City, or at least that's what the Graham and Eisenhart scholar programs want to tell the students of York College.

On Thursday morning, downtown visitors might have noticed approximately 30 college students walking in a group and stopping at some of the popular local spots, such as Glazin'Central Market House and Royal Square. The students were the Graham Innovation Scholars and the Eisenhart Community Scholars of York College.

Dominic DelliCarpini, director of the York College Center for Community Engagement, organized a walk for the students so they could see some of the popular local spots and learn more about the community.

York College freshmen scholars Tafshena Khan, center left, and Shannon McDonnell, center right, take a tour of downtown York with classmates Thursday, August 25, 2016. Graham Innovation Scholars and the Eisenhart Community Scholars from the college participated in the tour. Bill Kalina photo

Because the Graham Innovation Scholar program emphasizes entrepreneurial and community business skills and the Eisenhart Community Scholars focus on volunteering and working with nonprofit organizations, getting them immersed into the local community is important, he said.

The group of freshman and sophomore students were led on a short tour by Dylan Bauer, vice president of Royal Square Development, and Meagan Feeser, marketing director of Royal Square Development. Feeser said the organization has a great relationship with York College and participated to try to get more students involved with the downtown area.

Feeser said that too often someone who lives in the area all their life goes to college, gains great skills and then moves away. Through partnering with the college and doing things for the Graham and Eisenhart scholars, Royal Square Development hopes to encourage students to stay in York City and put their skills to use in the community.

York College freshmen and Graham Scholars Jordan Manion of Springfield, Virginia, left, and Kasey Drzewiecki of Baltimore County, Maryland, look at items in Redeux while taking a tour of downtown York with classmates Thursday, August 25, 2016. Students in the Graham Innovation Scholar program and the Eisenhart Community Scholars from the college participated in the tour. Bill Kalina photo

"York College has made a real investment in downtown," Feeser said. "We work with them to engage students and let them know the great things going on in their own backyard."

DelliCarpini said that is one of the goals of the scholar programs as well. Both programs are designed to engage students in the community as entrepreneurs, future leaders and good citizens of York. He said the Center for Community Engagement worked with a benefactor to develop a program that leaves students with the skills to be a business person and entrepreneur.

The Graham program is in its second year, so those attending the walk were a mixture of incoming freshmen new to the scholar programs and returning scholars. One freshman, Kaitlyn Graf, said she grew up in Mount Wolf, but she attended the walk because, even though she's lived in the area all her life, she's never really visited downtown. Graf will be majoring in mechanical engineering.

"I do a lot of volunteering, so it was cool to find a program where I could continue that," she said.

Bauer said he thinks that a lot of York College students, even those from the area, aren't aware of all that's happening in downtown York.

Dylan Bauer, vice president of Royal Square Development, talks with York College scholars of while taking a tour of downtown York Thursday, August 25, 2016. Graham Innovation Scholars and the Eisenhart Community Scholars from the college participated in the tour. Bill Kalina photo

"A tour is single-handedly the easiest thing we could do," he said. "It's important to get college students involved, because I'm not sure if sometimes they're even aware of" what the community has to offer.

As part of the Eisenhart and Graham scholar programs, students work in diverse teams throughout the semester with local businesses. DelliCarpini said last year the students worked with Central Market House and eventually presented plans to the chief operating officer for ways to improve customer engagement and increase the number of people going to the market.

This year, DelliCarpini said, the programs will be working with the York County Food Bank.

Throughout their time in the programs, the scholars meet with other local businesses, develop mentors in the community and engage in paid research projects. Sam Wenerd, a returning scholar and music industry and recording technology major, said meeting people in the community has been his favorite part of the scholar program.

"You hear wisdom," he said, referring to meeting with business leaders in the community. "I've met a lot of people that I wouldn't have otherwise."