By Chris Casey and Marcia Neville | University Communications
AURORA, Colo. - Jennifer Ivey, a doctoral student in rehabilitation sciences, enjoyed the chance to recharge her batteries, soak up sunshine and mingle with colleagues at today's first-ever Anschutz Block Party.
She was just one of some 2,000 folks -- students, faculty, staff and community members -- who reveled in the food, music and games that made the Block Party at the Anschutz Medical Campus a smashing success.
"This event is awesome. I've been looking forward to it since the posters went up," Ivey said between beanbag tosses in a game of corn hole. "We don't get many excuses to come outside and play a bit. It's also fun to be with my lab-mates out here. It's nice to be able to hang out with them and have fun, and do some team building."
Lilly Marks, vice president for health affairs at the University of Colorado and executive vice chancellor for the Anschutz Medical Campus, was impressed by the turnout at the inaugural event. "I'm impressed and delighted by how many people are not just going for the food and the swag, but they're taking the time to learn about the diversity of programs and services provided here in our own community," she said.
Scenes from the Anschutz Block Party:
Neil Krauss, director of administration, Anschutz Medical Campus, surveyed the festive scene from one end of the grassy area on the south side of Building 500. "I'm so tickled that so many people came out for the Block Party. It just goes to show what kind of community we have here. And the weather couldn't be better -- what a beautiful day."
Zack Strober, director of events, University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus, said the event attracted 15 food outlets -- nine food trucks and six local restaurants. The Block Party also featured 33 booths, most providing information and freebies related to health and wellness.
"I'm loving it -- it's the best thing to do on your break," said corn hole player Ashley Haight, a professional research assistant in the Physical Therapy Program. "The booths are so cool. We got so much gear."
Jason Parnes, a research assistant in the Rocky Mountain Taste and Smell Center, said he enjoyed listening to The Belle Jar, which featured doctoral candidate Courtney Wilson. Other bands playing the south stage were The Delta Sonics, Dogs in the Yard and the Aurora Symphony's Brass Quartet. The Kim Robards Dance group got folks up and moving with an artistic dance performance.
Parnes also enjoyed playing a game of ladder ball with his colleagues.
"It's really great to have people out here, people from the surrounding community even, to see what's on campus," he said. "The food trucks are nice. I wish they were here every day."
Other popular attractions included a giant inflatable Twister board, volleyball, chair massage and prize wheels and giveaways.
Marks came up with the idea for a Block Party as a way to engage the community as well as give people an opportunity to network and learn about the many unique and high-quality programs on the Anschutz Medical Campus. Also, the event gave everyone a chance to get outside and have some fun.
"People work very hard here, probably harder than anyplace I've ever seen, and under tough conditions," Marks said. "This event gave them the chance to get out, relax and enjoy. I think it's important to establish traditions and break down the isolation. This is an opportunity to get to know and enjoy one another."
Volunteers surveyed partygoers about what they liked at the debut event and what they'd like to see in years to come at Block Parties. CU Denver opened the fall term last month with a successful Block Party in downtown Denver.
(Photo at top: A large inflatable Twister board was a popular attraction at the Anschutz Block Party on Sept. 20, 2013).