Petropoulus Ends Community Center Service
by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer
Rachel Petropoulos began her work with the Sewanee Community Center in 2007, just five years after its doors opened. She described her work as a combination of bookkeeping, keeping all the spaces scheduled and making sure the building was stocked for the various groups that came through the door. Over the years, however, it became more than just maintaining a building.
Petropoulos, who relocated to her native Ohio at the start of the summer, said she always enjoyed being a part of offering space to anyone who needed it.
“While the amenities may be limited, the space is light-filled, walkable to downtown and the elementary school, with room to explore a variety of activities. And that is what people have done. Many people have tried out a new idea, whether that be a meeting, class, a music session, and if a community formed around the idea, it grew. Some classes have been meeting for decades now,” Petropoulos said.
President of the board, Trae Moore, described the center as a space where the entire community — both the University community and the greater Mountain community — could come together and share in daily life together. And Moore said because Petropoulos was such a big part of that community-building effort, filling her role won’t be easy.
“Rachel loved the center and put a lot of time and thought into making sure everything ran efficiently and that people who use the center had a good experience. Rachel will be greatly missed, as she ran the center so effectively and with so much love,” Moore said.
As for her hopes for the future, Petropoulos said she doesn’t see the work of the center stopping anytime soon.
“The center has always been more than the building. It has been the people and activities and relationships that form from the community coming together. This is what makes a town strong,” she said.