New students take a stroll downtown

UW meets EC event introduces new students to Barstow Street District


Photo by Sam Martinez

A big flock of UW-Eau Claire students tour the Phoenix Park area Friday night.

Story by Sam Martinez, Staff Writer

The streets of downtown Eau Claire were flooded with students last Friday evening for the second annual UW meets EC event.

Hundreds of students were bussed from Towers Hall to Phoenix Park for an evening of discovery. Many new students are fairly unaware of the businesses and organizations that make up the downtown area.

Event coordinator Julia Diggins said the purpose of this event was to give students from out of town a chance to see everything downtown Eau Claire has to offer.

“We know a lot of first year students don’t find their way to downtown Eau Claire until they are upperclassmen, and so we wanted to introduce them to all the awesome things in downtown Eau Claire as well,” Diggins said.

Many downtown businesses and organizations saw this event as an opportunity to let new students know that they are close by.

Rose Vincent, owner of Offbeats Violin & Guitar Studio, was at the event talking to interested students behind her booth in Phoenix Park.

“There has been a lot of students coming through and a lot of them are musicians so that’s wonderful,” Vincent said. “We hope to see them in any capacity.”

Julia Diggins said that this year more businesses were eager to be part of the event because of the success of the event last year.

“When we first pitched it, some of (the downtown businesses) jumped on it right away and others didn’t,” Diggins said. “What we noticed last year was that businesses that hadn’t originally told us they wanted to be involved, once they saw hundreds of students walking by, they started walking outside and handing out coupons.”

Katelyn Harrington, the owner of Eau Claire Fusion, saw the event as a chance to get some buzz going for downtown Eau Claire amongst the new freshman class.

“It’s a really great opportunity to have a new energized vitality brought to the city with all of the incoming freshman from all around,” Harrington said.

Many downtown business were having sales, promotions and free items in the spirit of the event. These promotions enticed many students to stop by and learn a little more about these businesses.

“I’m liking a lot of the free stuff,” freshman Cedric Kostelyna said. “I’m liking seeing all the local businesses, especially this record store, Revival Records, is really cool.”

One difference between last year’s event and this one was the busing situation.

This year the Eau Claire transit department provided three busses that ran in a continuous loop from Towers Hall to Phoenix Park. The ride was free for students and the buses came about every half hour.

“(The transit department) really wants students to learn how to use the system and take them past the transit center and they did it for free,” Diggins said.

The band Thick as Thieves was capped off the event with a concert at Owen Park.