Students should engage in U area

One way of fighting student-related issues off campus is joining a neighborhood association.

Como has seen multiple student-related issues during the past month: Chemical vapors contaminated residences, a student was allegedly sexual assaulted and the Marcy Open School nearly relocated. Marcy-Holmes has also had its share of issues, including the potential school relocation and a few armed robberies.  

These ongoing issues, which affect neighborhoods with dense student populations, are too large for any one person to handle. Instead, residents tackle big problems collectively in groups like the Southeast Como Improvement Association and the Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association. While students may not feel an obligation to their neighborhood, more student engagement could help the University of Minnesota community find answers to big problems.

SECIA Neighborhood Coordinator Ricardo McCurley said it’s harder for students to get involved because they likely move each year or have temporary housing situations. Students also have interests like school, work and other obligations that compete with neighborhood engagement.

“The daily cycles are off between students and families,” McCurely said. “It’s harder to create a sense of community.”

More student engagement wouldn’t directly prevent crime or contamination, but McCurley said more engagement could increase education and understanding of neighborhood issues.

At minimum, more student involvement in neighborhood associations is good because these organizations would become more representative of students.

With multiple University- and student-related issues in neighborhoods near campus, students should try to get involved in their neighborhood’s association.