Future City Council meeting on campus aims to attract students

Managing Editor and Managing Editor

The lack of student attendance at city council meetings encouraged First Ward Council Member Daniel Gordon to bring meetings to them.

“It’s about reaching more of an audience and be as inclusive as possible,” Gordon said, who initially pushed for the Oct. 7 meeting to be hosted in the Union. “If we have it on campus, students can see what we’re doing and speak up.”

The idea spawned from Gordon’s community improvement meetings, hosted before council meetings, which focused on issues on the east side of town.

The only thing blocking the city from scheduling a meeting or two on campus this year is the added cost.

Government officials and visitors would have to pay to park at the Union lot to host the meeting on campus as well as have to pay to rent a room and audiovisual equipment, said John Fawcett, municipal administrator, who oversees the day-to-day operation of city functions.

All the amenities are free at the City Administrative Services Building located on 304 N. Church St, where council is currently hosted.

Moving the meetings might also confuse regular visitors who may not be aware of the change, Fawcett said.

“Many people don’t have access to the Internet or computer, but know [city council] is every first and third Monday at city hall,” he said.

Though a future council meeting on campus is still in the works, Gordon sees the potential to include students and student organizations such as Undergraduate Student Government and Graduate Student Senate.

Some student government organizations support the possible outreach to the campus community.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to try something new,” said senior Alex Solis, president of USG. “I’m always hopeful we can collaborate with city council.”

The only downside is city council meets at 7 p.m. while USG meets at 7:30, making it hard for members to attend, Solis said.

While schedules may conflict, Gordon expects increased attendance among students with a future move.

“There are some issues that might attract student attention like fracking,” Gordon said.

Some students agreed with Gordon on student attendance.

“It would definitely bring people to the meeting,” said junior Arielle Beachy. “Especially if you had it on Campus Update so people would be more aware.”

Freshman Emma Read thinks the location itself would bring more students.

“Students like to stay in their own area, so they’d be more likely to show up in the Union.”

Though logistics have pushed back a possible campus city council meeting, Gordon hopes the move improves relations between campus and the city.

“It’s a way to bring us closer together,” he said. “There may be a few things to work out, but we’re making the effort.”