As a bustling city of social gatherings, studious young adults, and families of all shapes and sizes, Spartanburg has a plenty to offer, but most notably it maintains an esteemed regard for higher education. Coordinating and uniting the seven different colleges and universities within city limits, Spartanburg’s College Town consortium works to increase connections between college students and the community. On Sept. 14, College Town will host College Fest, an annual event that attracts many for its food, music and activities.
College Town was established in 2003, when former Spartanburg mayor Bill Barnet decided he wanted to do something to promote the unity of the student population in Spartanburg. In his speech announcing the concept, Barnet articulated his mission for the idea to the (then six) college presidents, “As these institutions join forces to form the College Town consortium, they greatly increase their opportunity to impact the 10,000 college students in our community as well as our community members. This is a wonderful niche opportunity to advance the identity of Spartanburg as a vibrant college town and develop a positive national image for both the colleges and our city.”
The seven institutions that are members of the consortium are Converse College, Spartanburg Community College, Sherman College of Chiropractic, Spartanburg Methodist College, USC Upstate, VCOM and Wofford College. Through the consortium, a number of different events are held every year, all of which are dedicated to the single goal of promoting a unified Spartanburg community. Amidst all that the College Town Consortium does, the College Town festival attracts many students from the seven institutions.
For this year’s event, downtown Spartanburg will serve as the venue, where DJ Spin will begin playing his “Musical Roulette” promptly at 8:00 pm. Free t-shirts will be given to the first 200 students present at the event. Two food tickets will be given to every student with a student ID from one of the seven colleges listed, allowing them to choose two food items from local businesses such as Nacho Taco, Dottie’s Toffee, Suga Cakes and Wild Ace. The tickets will operate on a first served basis but students should come prepared to eat free local food, listen to great music and hang out with other students who also call Spartanburg their home.
“Bringing students from all seven colleges into the downtown area together creates a unique and diverse atmosphere. Having this mixture of students together in the center of the city makes for an energizing night,” says Naomi Sargant, director of the College Town consortium. “We want to encourage students to go downtown and explore the city itself. College Fest is a great opportunity for new students to get an idea of what the area is all about.”
College Fest continues to coordinate and plan activities for students and members of the Spartanburg community. To keep up to date with events they are hosting, follow them on Facebook at College Town Spartanburg.