Building community relationships

A month ago I used this space to call attention to how the difference between the schedules of the College’s students and their neighbors was the source of turmoil.

I also highlighted that this so-called time zone effect wasn’t without solutions. I called for dialogue on ways to reform the way students hold and attend off-campus, late-night functions.

In order to both respect Ewing residents and enhance students’ safety, a change in off-campus practices and attitudes needs to be made. (File Photo)

In this month I have done what I can to practice what I preach by attending the Ewing TCNJ Town Gown meeting, which was held in the Ewing municipal building.

As a journalist, I attended the meeting with the intention of covering it. However, after seeing the meeting progress and hearing comments from school administrators, town officials and community members, I knew I had to take off my journalist hat and dawn the time-tested student activist hat.

While those who have worn the student activist hat before me have fought for lofty and global goals like peace, environmentalism and the elimination of poverty, my fight was much more specific and local.

I aimed to lend the College’s student body a face and a voice, and to relay the message that we, as students and citizens, understand the frustrations voiced by our neighbors.

I also wished to convey that crackdowns and stringent policy changes broadly aimed at college students can have adverse effects on the community.

In order to ameliorate Ewing resident’s complaints of destruction and disturbance, as well as protect students’ safety from themselves and stringent police and college crackdowns I want to put some possible solutions on the discussion table.

For any changes to be effective, students need to present a united front. In order to do this a policy on late-night off-campus functions should be adopted by every student organization from greek life, to club sports teams, to varsity sports teams.

In order to combat noisy groups of students and the dangers of walking late at night, sober drivers should be mandatory for every off-campus party.

Once students arrive at a function, the organizers should have a guest list and be TIPP certified to ensure under-21-year-olds are differentiated from 21-year-olds.

The organizers should also be responsible for maintaining vigil risk-management over their function so that students don’t walk home, make noise outside the home or cause neighborhood disturbances. The effort of implementing these minor alterations will show the community our resolve, and the effects will alleviate many of the tensions formed by the misconception of ignorance.