Spooktacular, hosted by Lehigh’s Community Service Office
, brought together the university community for a day of treats, activities, and a howling good time.
More than 90 children from South Side Bethlehem and its surrounding communities enjoyed a themed tour of Lehigh’s campus last weekend that included trick-or-treating through Trembley Park, haunted halls in the University Center, pumpkin carving with Psi Upsilon fraternity, and various arts and food crafts.
“Spooktacular and other programs that engage the community with Lehigh are always a success because we are welcoming local kids to our campus and exposing them to college life,” says Carolina Hernandez, community service coordinator. “We make the seemingly impossible—going to a college like Lehigh—into a reality.”
While Spooktacular exceeded its goals for the children, it also helped a larger goal for the university.
“It is crucial that Lehigh students seek a way to bridge the gap between Lehigh and its neighbors and create not only a working relationship, but a friendship,” says Emily Aagaard ’04, a political science major and Spooktacular’s creator.
With events like Spooktacular and Spring Fling (in April), Lehigh is starting to make a difference in the lives of South Side kids. “We are obviously making an impact in these kids’ lives when Lehigh students hear them saying things like, ‘I remember you from last year’ and ‘You were my tour guide last year’,” Hernandez says.
Hernandez says her favorite moment at Spooktacular came when a young boy likened Lehigh to Hogwarts, the famed school of witchcraft and wizardry from J.K. Rowling’s famous Harry Potter series. “I told him that one day he could be a Lehigh student,” Hernandez says. “His eyes got really big from the wonder that someone from the “Harry Potter World” was telling him that he could be a Lehigh student, too.”
That is what Spooktacular and all the other projects from Lehigh’s Community Service Office do, says Hernandez. “We make a difference—even if just for a moment—in others’ lives.”