Hopes for a stronger community and increased communication between students and residents are in the works with this semester’s new University Liaison position.
The city of Kent and the University have teamed up to provide students with a source for safety, education, and community regulation tips. Neil Stefanko, KSU grad student and newly appointed liaison, has the goal of doing just that.
“THE STUDENTS IN THE COMMUNITY, WE WANT THEM TO FEEL NOT JUST THAT THEY’RE NOT JUST A STUDENT. YOU’RE LIVING IN A COMMUNTY. YOU ARE AN ACTUAL RESIDENT OF AN AREA NOW.”
With the “Big Brother” approach, city counsel member Heidi Schaeffer and Neil both hope that students will feel more comfortable with asking questions and seeking advice.
“I DON’T WANT HIM TO BE AN AUTHORTY FIGURE. I DON’T WANT HIM TO BE A PARENTAL FIGURE. BUT MORE LIKE AN OLDER BROTHER KIND OF THING.”
“I HOPE THAT PEOPLE LOOK AT ME AS LIKE THE BIG BROTHER. HEY BIG BROTHER WE HAVE A QUESTION, HOW DO YOU DO THIS OR WHAT CAN OR CAN’T WE DO?”
Having someone that can better relate to students may be the final key to bridging the gap between students and residents.
“IT’S REALLY HELPFUL TO HAVE SOMEBODY WHO’S BEEN THERE AND NOT TOO LONG AGO, REMIND THEM.”
“I’M NOT HERE TO POLICE PEOPLE. I AM NOT HERE AS A BABYSITTER. I’M HERE AS A RESOURCE.”
For TV2 News, I’m Lauren Forthofer