BIA wants McMaster University students to come downtown

Students took part in a scavenger hunt during torrential downpours to learn what downtown Hamilton has to offer.
Students braved the rain on Monday (Joe Engelhardt/CBC)

Hamilton's downtown BIA wants McMaster's newest students to know all the good things downtown has to offer.

They see thousand of potential new customers if they can get them to venture out of the "Westdale bubble."

Monday, a group of 118 upper -year students braved a rainy Monday afternoon to learn more about the core, courtesy of an Amazing-race style tour of the City.

The students will be serving as Community Advisors (CAs), McMaster’s version of a residence adviser or don, said Brandon Smith, manager of student leadership and learning in McMaster’s residence life department.

The goal is to have the CAs’ have a better understanding of downtown Hamilton, so they can better advise the 3578 students living in residence, he said.

"It’s important for students to know they’re not just part of their residence community and McMaster community, they’re part of the Hamilton community," he said.

Don't get stuck in the McMaster 'bubble', advisor says

Giving students a better idea of what’s going downtown is key, said Kathy Drewitt, executive director of the Downtown Hamilton BIA.

"We want to get them to support business downtown and restaurants downtown," she said.

It’s important for students to integrate themselves into the local economy, especially first year students who will be part of the city for the next four years, she said.

Staying too close to McMaster can also limit how well students function, said Nadia Eghbali, one of the CAs attending the event.

"Being in that McMaster bubble can really limit you in terms of your personal growth," she said.

After visiting City Hall in the morning, students had lunch from the food trucks in Gore Park and then set out on the race, said Smith.

Despite the afternoon rain, most students still carried on, visiting a wide range of downtown businesses, including local restaurants and coffee shops, as well as community groups like the Good Shepherd and larger venues like Copps Coliseum, he said.