New Jumbos Discover Local Businesses

Tufts connects students with host neighborhoods to support local communities

More than 1,000 Tufts students in the undergraduate classes of 2024 and 2025 participated in three events recently that introduced them to the host neighborhoods in Somerville, Medford, and Boston that they call home.

At “Discover Davis,” students who showed their Tufts student ID were able to access special promotions, giveaways, and exclusive menu items at nearly a dozen businesses in the Davis Square area of Somerville. Promotions included a free month of yoga lessons at Down Under Yoga, free beignets with a BBQ takeout order from Redbones, and the opportunity to win $100 with a candlepin strike at Sacco’s Bowl Haven, among others. Tufts developed the “Discover Davis” event in coordination with the Somerville Chamber of Commerce. 

Students also attended a Tufts comedy show at the Chevalier Theater in Medford Square on the evening of September 5. All attending students were eligible for raffle prizes that included gift cards to Medford businesses. Speaking at the event, Medford Mayor Breanna Lungo-Koehn welcomed students to Medford Square and encouraged them to return to visit local restaurants. 

Additionally, School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts students based in the Fenway neighborhood of Boston participated in “Find Fenway.” Students were treated to a free movie at Regal Fenway Theatres and were offered promotions at local businesses including the Brookline location of Down Under Yoga, BLICK Art Materials, and Time Out! Market, among others.

The events were designed to support small, locally based businesses in Tufts’ host communities as they continue to recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The focus of events like these is to help new Jumbos become active members of their local community and build relationships between incoming students and their new neighbors,” said Rocco DiRico, director of government and community relations at Tufts, whose team worked with Tufts Office for Campus Life to plan the event. “We want to make students aware of and engaged with the vibrant neighborhoods and unique businesses just outside Tufts’ campuses.”

Local business leaders welcomed Tufts’ support. “It was a joy to work with fellow local business owners and Tufts staff to help students ‘Discover Davis,’” said Jack Connolly, Davis Square business owner and board member of the Somerville Chamber of Commerce.

“Already this week, clusters of students clad in Tufts gear are visible throughout Davis Square experiencing the many choices and services available here,” he said. “It is a classic win-win situation for both business owners and students.”

Robin Smyton can be reached at

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