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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Students push for liaison in City Council

Student Senate leaders are advocating for a student liaison on College Station City Council after struggles in past years to maintain communication with the city on student-related issues.
“City council and city employees have been very receptive to senate’s attempts of outreach this past summer and fall semester,” said Lauren Felder, political science senior and community relations chair of the Student Senate. “We are hoping that a specifically and officially assigned position will give SGA and the city the resources each needs when issues regarding students come up.”
Councilwoman Julie Schultz said she spoke with Felder earlier this fall and liked the idea of a liaison. She said Mayor Nancy Berry was also receptive to the initiative, although it hasn’t been formally approved.
“The benefit would be two-fold,” Schultz said. “Students could be better informed about policies that would affect them in a more timely manner and the council would also be able to hear about students’ concerns in a more concise and direct way. I really feel that this would go a long way in helping the relationship between students and citizens.”
Felder said Student Senate’s main goal in implementing a student liaison is to guarantee that student voices and opinions are heard when important issues arise.
“For instance, a city ordinance requiring that four or fewer unrelated individuals live together in residential neighborhoods, often referred to as rental registration, is a huge issue with the city and students,” Felder said. “When issues as important as that come up, issues that literally constrain the ways students live in this community, there is a definite need to have a student representative be an adviser and a voice for the students.”
Although the student liaison has not been formally approved, Lacey Lively, marketing and community outreach coordinator for the City of College Station, said the city has placed more focus on working with the students and building relationships that facilitate direct communication.
“We’ve been meeting with the Student Senate and the Student Government Association, and that’s kind of just meeting them and introducing ourselves and mainly just hearing from them,” Lively said. “I think it’s just mainly building a relationship. We would like to hear from them if there are rumors or problems that students have with the city officials or if they have questions.”
Lively said more communication can also help serve the city’s goal of educating new residents about the local city laws, including the law restricting more than four unrelated individuals from living in one unit.
“So about your trash bins, about not having inside furniture in your front yard, about mowing your grass, and just mainly being good neighbor,” Lively said. “The ‘no more than four’ started in the 80s, so it’s not a new ordinance, but when people move here they don’t know that they’ll get in trouble for something like that, they don’t know they can’t live with five people.”
Lively said Big Event is one way that the city is already collaborating directly with students.
“We work really heavily with the Big Event,” Lively said. “They always come to us and ask us about areas that we know need help, that would have jobs for them. We inform them of all the ways for the event to run smoothly.”
Lively said another way the city works with students is Aggie Up, a cooperative campaign between Texas A&M, Bryan and College Station that helps students assimilate into the community in safe and respectful ways.
Felder said a liaison will hopefully be in place by the end of the spring semester, whenever the new senate session starts.
“The position will have to be codified either as a position under one of the SGA branches or as a liaison under the purview of the Speaker of the Senate,” Felder said. “As of now, myself and executive vice president of communication Jeff Claybrook are maintaining regular communication with the city and issues involving the city and students.”

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