OneKent links campus and city

Jessica Roblin

Downtown Kent is a short walk away, but still many students aren’t involved with community activities. Whether it’s out of ignorance about the area or laziness, some students don’t frequent downtown. That’s why two seniors double-majoring in psychology and sociology, Lora Phillips and Aaron Rinehart, started OneKent.

At the organization’s first meeting Thursday night, Phillips and Rinehart concentrated on the communication problems and tension between campus and community.

“When I moved out here I recognized the need to bridge the gap between what the university is and what the city is,” Rinehart said.

A few of OneKent’s goals include increasing student involvement with the community, increasing student patronage of Kent businesses and bringing Kent residents onto campus.

Through community dinners, movie nights and volunteer events, OneKent plans to bring students and Kent residents together.

Mary Gilbert spoke to the group of about 10 people concerning Kent’s ideas for student involvement. As the executive director of Main Street Kent, she works to bring new customers to downtown. Marketing is one of the aspects she concentrates on.

“We do a lot of events mainly to get people to come to downtown and see downtown as a fun place to gather, to eat and shop,” Gilbert said. “That’s mainly so we can get people in the businesses and having fun downtown.”

OneKent spoke of volunteering with Main Street and helping students be aware of events hosted by the city organization. They hope this will get students downtown. It will also let residents know that students care.

Weekly meetings on Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. in 107 Merrill Hall and events are other ways Phillips and Rinehart hope to bring residents and students together.

Upcoming events:

– Sunday: a “community beautification,” where students are encouraged to clean up the streets from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. starting at the intersection of Lincoln and Main streets.

– Nov. 19: OneKent will meet at Pita Pit at 3 p.m. to discuss ways to get involved downtown and bring in new group members.

Contact Jessica Roblin at

[email protected].