The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Residents of College Hill lean on each other

The Village on College Hill gathers for movie screenings, Tai Chi, drum circles and more. (Photo courtesy of Mary Liz Colley)

The Village on College Hill, a grassroots community of seniors that support one another, aims to never leave you without a ride to the doctor. 

“What we do is try and help people stay in their homes as they age and continue to live vibrant lives,” said Mary Liz Colley, the group’s founding president.

Colley was inspired to spearhead this organization, which provides programs and services to people 50 and older, when she read a New York Times article about a similar community of seniors who support each other in Beacon Hill, Massachusetts. 

Programs of the Village, such as group Tai Chi, movie screenings and drum circles, bring the older residents of College Hill together in a dynamic way.

“Being part of this community is great,” said Bill Thatcher, chair of the activities committee. “They’re my neighbors, you know?”

However, out of all the events and services that the Village provides, it is the movie series that sticks out for people. With the absence of a movie theatre in downtown Easton, movie screenings present a unique opportunity to show films in an intimate setting. 

“I think we do fill a gap there,” Thatcher said. 

The screenings were developed in the summer of 2019 after the college’s faculty film series, created by film and media studies professor Andy Smith, was canceled. With a desire to watch more movies together, the Village generated its own movie-watching series with the help of government and law professor Joshua Miller. 

“Every month we get together and we watch these things and then talk about it,” Colley said. “Everything we really do is to expand our community and strengthen it.”

During the lapse in meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic, the film series continued over Zoom – and helped the Village through the difficult time. 

“Movies bring people together,” Miller said. 

With the return of in-person meetings, the group now gathers in room 104 of the Kirby Hall of Civil Rights on the second Thursday of each month to watch a movie and discuss it.

“Our connection with Lafayette is long and significant,” Colley said. 

Miller and Thatcher are the brains behind the film series, choosing the movies and organizing the logistics.

Recently, the group screened “Past Lives” (2023) and “West Side Story” (2021). As a movie enthusiast, Miller has seen these films in the theater on his own – but it was not quite the same as what the Village does. The Village movie screenings transcend the atmosphere of a typical theater, especially with post-film discussions, which combine the different perspectives and backgrounds of the Village members.

A priority for the Village is to increase attendance at movie screenings from all corners of College Hill. 

“We very much want to reach out just beyond the Village,” Colley said. “We’d like to get students involved, we’d like to get faculty and staff involved. We think it’s such an opportunity.”

Emma Li ‘27 first stumbled upon the group last semester during its screening of “Till” (2022) after seeing a poster for the event.

“It seems like a really good community,” Li said. “I like listening to what they have to say afterwards.”

Li gains new perspectives from the members of the Village, and the Village learns right back. 

“I really like the idea of not only building community within the Village but also having some interaction with the students,” Thatcher said. “Watching films and talking about films is a great way to do that.”

In the coming months, the group will screen “The Holdovers” (2023) and “The Janes” (2022). When picking films, Miller and Thatcher reach for pieces that lie in the middle of mainstream and obscure.

“This film series is getting into much more of a diverse field of films,” Thatcher said.

“The films that they have shown have expanded my understanding of things that I care about,” Colley said. 

Wherever members of the Village may be on the other days of the week, they know that there will be a seat for them in Kirby 104 when Thursday comes around. 

“I cannot think of any place that I would rather be,” Colley said. 

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About the Contributor
Bernadette Russo, Culture Editor
Likes trees and hates writing bios.

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