|Night Fall event in Hartford with Connecticut's Capitol in in the background, October 7, 2017|
Preet Patel (Trinity College ’21) is an aspiring economics major from Belchertown Massachusetts who is looking forward to getting more involved in Hartford in the coming years. During his first semester Preet volunteered at a Hartford Habitat for Humanity build with the Trinity Campus Habitat Chapter.
In the shadow of the illuminated state capitol building, hundreds of people sat mesmerized by a powerful show. Joyful laughter, sparkling smiles, and camera flashes dotted the magical landscape of Bushnell Park. Standing on stage and looking out onto people of many cultures and ethnicities, we raised and then lowered our lanterns, signifying the importance of a connected community rising through problems, and lowering barriers. Although it takes place only one night a year, Night Fall not only brings the community together, but serves as an epicenter for crossing borders, socially, economically, and ethnically, resulting in a region with greater social connectedness.
|People waiting in line at the food trucks at Night Fall|
|A large crowd gathered near the stage at Night Fall|
One of most crucial ways Night Fall increases social capital is its emphasis and work within the community. In the time leading up to Night Fall, the organization hosts artistic workshops throughout the city. In the workshops, the community is connected to the show through the creation of lanterns. Constructing the lanterns increases social capital within the community because it fosters a sense of cultural unity. The people of Hartford have a chance to showcase their culture, art, and diversity, encouraging connection to one another.
Night Fall’s ability to promote diversity in the community makes it powerful tool in creating stronger social capital and consequently a tighter sense of community. In an interview with the Hartford Courant, LB Munoz, a chairwoman for Night Fall, stated: “every year we're trying to relate everything back to the neighborhood we're in. Downtown is incredibly diverse, home to people who have come from afar.” Night Fall celebrates Hartford’s diversity, and acknowledges that the city’s diversity is an asset that can propel the city past its barriers.
 Putnam, Robert D. Bowling Alone. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001.)