April 26, 2007
The Mayor and I went out this afternoon knocking on doors and shaking hands. He’s really good at it. Actually, he’s great at it — it’s no wonder he’s been such a successful Mayor. But we weren’t out campaigning. We were out talking with students along College Street, urging them to take care and remember their neighbors as they head into the last couple of weekends of the semester which is prime time for parties. College Street will be busy this weekend as the students have planned “College Fest.” We just wanted to make sure they had fun in a safe and respectful way for them and their neighborhood. You learn a lot when you make an effort to reach out and connect with people, and I’m really glad we did it.
After spending a couple of hours hoofing the sidewalk, I felt pretty good about what we had tried to do yesterday afternoon. We weren’t out preaching — we were just extending a hand and a few thoughts about how to celebrate the end of the semester. The message was not anti-fun, it was party smart. We didn’t climb up on any morale high ground, we just wanted to take a few minutes to let them know how some students have ended the year with fond memories of best friends on the back porch while others are still trying to forget making that one phone call to ask mom and dad to come bail them out.
To be honest, I was unsure about what kind of reaction we’d get, and frankly whether this would worth the time we were putting into it. But you know what, we kept a good sense of humor and honesty about what we were doing and what we were asking of Kent State students, and I think they appreciated that enough to listen and ask a few questions about the city’s new ordinances.
A couple of students let us know that they were discouraged by the restraints imposed by city ordinances and used the phrase “it’s a college town” to justify their position. A few others had already been cited under the city’s noise ordinance and they genuinely seemed to not want to go down that path again.
But despite the prevailing perception of the irresponsible animal house college student, most of the ones we talked with laughed when we asked if they were planning parties for this weekend. They laughed because they had classes during the day and worked most of the night at part time jobs so no, they would be working, not partying.
I’ve come to discover that’s a pretty common story among Kent State students. As a group they’re a pretty hard working, blue collar, work your way through college type of student. These are young people that understand the value of their education because they already know what it’s like to work. That’s not always true on a lot of campuses, but it’s true in Kent.
I’ve come to really appreciate those students who are pulling double duty, juggling jobs and school. Sure, they still find time to enjoy themselves, but for anyone that questions the discipline of “this generation” I’d suggest walking a mile in their shoes — or better yet, walk a mile with the Mayor and I as we knock on their doors and meet them in person.
The Mayor and I were also joined by the Student Senator for Community Affairs from Kent State and he did a great job too. The Senator talked peer-to-peer and handed out materials about partying smart. And this isn’t a one time, flash-in-the-pan act of civic duty, the Student Senate advocates responsible behavior all year long, both in words and in action.
Here’s a few excerpts from the Student Senate web site:
As this year and my term come to an end, I encourage you to stay smart when it comes to offcampus partying. When the warm weather arrives, please celebrate responsibly and keep in mind your non-student neighbors.
Two of my last goals are to set the framework for the University Community Task Force and to work with COSO to create a Apartment/Renters Grade Card.
I am thankful that I had the opportunity to serve you as Senator for Community Affairs and hope you all have a great semester and for those like me who will be graduating, congrats! and best of luck!
Hello and Welcome Back!!
I am excited to serve you this year as Senator for Community Affairs.
Welcome back to our returning students, I hope you get to visit the new additions to the community: Sheetz, Bar Code, and soon Jimmy Johns and the new Kent Free Library.
If you are a freshman or new to the Kent campus I hope you spend a little time getting to know this city we all call home, and to explore its wonderful stores, parks and attractions.
As always, Senate stresses the importance to be safe and make wise decisions when you are on and off campus.
I also ask that you remain respectful to the city and its residents at all times.
With 23,000 students on campus, there’s going to be some bad apples in the lot, but that’s no different than anything else in life. I’m glad I had a chance to meet a few more students yesterday who did a great job representing the best that Kent State has to offer.
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