Students and residents work in tandem

Local neighborhood associations have rightly allowed for greater student participation.

When issues surface in neighborhoods with a strong mix of college students and more permanent residents, it’s not always clear whether the two groups will work together.

The lifestyles of young students and those of families who have settled down can seem incompatible. The annual turnover of student residents can also cause problems. For example, last year, the city of Minneapolis sent an email warning Dinkytown property owners that it would bill them due to students piling up garbage when they moved out in August.

However, issues like crime, safety and development are sources of controversy throughout the neighborhoods surrounding the University of Minnesota. They also require students and longtime residents to put aside differences and work together.

In December, the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association revamped its strategy on how to spur resident and student involvement, including encouraging collaboration between MHNA’s student representatives and other groups like the University District Alliance.

Increased partnerships between students and longtime residents haven’t been limited to the Minneapolis campus. Last week, the Minnesota Daily reported that the St. Anthony Park Community Council voted to add two student positions to its board. The change is yet another acknowledgement that partnerships between students and long-term residents can improve neighborhoods. Though the St. Paul campus isn’t technically in St. Anthony Park, Amy Sparks, the council’s executive director, told the Daily that students could still join the board if they attend classes there.

Local neighborhood associations have been considerate and forward-thinking enough to allow for more student participation. It is now on students to accept a bigger role and take on more responsibility for the area to help address big issues that affect everyone.