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"How many times do you see a marching band come up your street?" Bridget McGuinness asked Sunday.
Not too often, if the neighborhood is in University Heights, where McGuinness lives.
She was sitting under a blue and white striped tent with her family outside Hayes Hall on the University at Buffalo South Campus, enjoying a block party sponsored by UB.
It started with UB's marching band, the "Thunder of the East," marching down several city blocks near campus. The party, with music, hot dogs, hamburgers, lawn games and music by Michael King and the Daniel Ross Band, was to bring together community members and students.
Marching band members said they were hot in the parade, but John Kirk said there were some shady sections on the streets.
"To me this is a whole neat experience. I love Buffalo," said the freshman from New Hampshire.
It may have been hot to march, but the mini-parade did the trick to attract residents, some of whom followed the band back to the Main Street campus. UB calls it "Run with the Bulls," and it gave out T-shirts with that logo.
"UB embraces the neighborhood," McGuinness said, "so we wanted to be here when they reach out to us."
The family came Sunday with their four children, Fiona, 12, Rory, 10, Caoilin, 8, and Cormac, 5, who was captivated by the bounce house. McGuinness' husband, Dennis Schaeffer, said the family enjoys living in the neighborhood.
"There are some headaches, but the good outweighs the bad," he said.
The vibrant sense of community and city life can't be re-created at the North Campus, he said. Relations have improved between community members and UB students, Schaeffer added.
"The university has done a good job working with the community stakeholders," he said.
That's not to say there will never be any problems between homeowners and students living on their own for the first time. But UB delivers contact information to neighbors each August, and encourages students to get involved in the community.
"If they know the next-door neighbor, they're less likely to be obnoxious," said Dan Ryan, director of off-campus student services.
He said there has been a drastic reduction in the number of complaints about students living in the community, and he attributes that to UB's efforts to bring year-round residents and students together.
Michaela and Jesse Schmidbauer said they try to bridge the gap between property owners and students, which also tends to become an age gap.
"If we're all going to live here, you have to see both sides of the coin," she said.
Michaela Schmidbauer, president of the University Heights Collaborative, said at a recent block party on Merrimac Street that there were residents who had lived on the street for half a century, as well as those who had been there less than two weeks.
"We were all able to enjoy ourselves," she said.
The only drawback to Sunday's gathering is that there were not more students and members of the community there. But those who were enjoyed themselves.
"Our kids have grown up on this campus," McGuinness said, noting that the children learned to ride bicycles in the empty lots on Sundays. In the summer, they enjoy the movies on the lawn at Hayes Hall.
"To have all this green space - Some people get Delaware Park. We get the front lawn of Hayes Hall."

email: bobrien@buffnews.com