After several meetings with campus officials, faculty, students, and community leaders, Hofstra University agreed to donate tulips to be planted along Front Street in Uniondale. The effort was spearheaded by the Greater Uniondale Area Action Coalition, or GUAAC, and the Nostrand Gardens Civic Association Uniondale Beautification Team in an effort to better connect Hofstra and Uniondale.
As a commercial center for the town, Front Street has 22 planters, all within about a 10-15 block radius, where CCE fellows and volunteers, athletic/sports groups, and GUAAC members spent the morning planting tulip bulbs in hopes of seeing them bloom in the spring.
GUAAC has made an effort the last two years to make a our campus a part of a college town. According to their petition, they do not want “Hofstra University to be further segregated from Hempstead or Uniondale, but rather work with GUAAC to develop a college town experience through campus-adjacent, community integrated development.” Their other campaigns include drafts of petitions to remove “East Garden City” from the 2020 Census, to secure a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) as part of the Coliseum development, and to ensure that the redevelopment of the Holly A. Patterson site benefits rather than harms our community.
Working alongside our surrounding community is particularly important to me. I was raised in Uniondale, and I continue to live there, and I am personally offended when my peers describe it as “sketchy,” or feel afraid to visit. It hurts when people point fingers at the residents of Uniondale or Hempstead for local crimes, or blame us for not looking “pretty enough.” Hofstra as a whole has encouraged a hands-off approach to any collaborations in Uniondale that has hurt both the students and community residents for years. No one’s college experience should isolate and disconnect them from their surroundings.
This weekend’s tulip planting is only the first step. Hofstra’s administration has a long way to go in accepting Uniondale and Hempstead as a part of their community. But events like this are a source for hope to see GUAAC’s vision fulfilled soon.
– Blog post by Denisse Girón