Marcy-Holmes neighborhood group looks to add student involvement committee

The neighborhood association had a similar committee in the past that was disbanded.

Molly Novak

A University of Minnesota neighborhood is seeking to increase involvement from its student residents.

Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association is working to establish a Student Involvement Committee, following a proposal by a board member at the October meeting.

A notice has been sent out to community members, and the board will work on the initiative throughout the upcoming months, said Melissa Bean, MHNA director.

MHNA used to have a Student Affairs Committee. But after failure to collaborate with the associationâÄôs other committees, it was disbanded, said Kendre Turonie, coordinator for Student and Community Relations at the University.

âÄúThings they wanted to do, other committees were already doing,âÄù she said.

The association has also struggled to fill its two designated student board seats in the past year.

Caroline Noble, a student neighborhood liaison, said a lack of knowledge about the association could be the reason. She said even when students know about MHNA, they donâÄôt know how active it is.

âÄúLack of involvement stems from lack of knowledge and the transient nature of students,âÄù she said.

But despite MHNAâÄôs inability to attract student board members, Turonie said the association has been laying groundwork for a student committee. Students have been more involved with the community than in the past.

Increasing student awareness and involvement has also been a goal of other neighborhoods surrounding the University.

The Southeast Como Improvement Association has been involved with student residents through an umbrella organization âÄìâÄì the Como Green Village, which promotes urban sustainability.

âÄúItâÄôs always difficult to get students involved because there are so many time pressures,âÄù said Justin Eibenholzl, SECIAâÄôs environmental coordinator.

But the neighborhood will continue to create programs geared to all the residents, including short-term student residents, he said.

SECIA had about 170 student participants in its projects last year, Eibenholzl said. Students often take volunteer and internship positions.

The MHNAâÄôs approach to increasing involvement is more centered on student focus groups to relay student-resident concerns.

Both neighborhoods agree there is room for more growth.

âÄúYou always benefit the neighborhood by engaging in it,âÄù Noble said.