Monroe Park Campus Advisory Group Discusses Student-Community Relations
University Public Affairs
Strengthening the camaraderie between students and surrounding neighborhood communities was the top priority of the Monroe Park Campus Advisory Group’s recent meeting June 6. The group — made up of Virginia Commonwealth University administrators, faculty members, police officers and neighborhood representatives — discussed how VCU prioritizes making its students better neighbors.
University leaders discussed the success of a recent campaign for off-campus students that encouraged cleaner and more responsible move-outs. Students could dial 311 to arrange the pickup of unwanted furniture rather than leaving the items behind in an alley, Dumpster or street corner. Martha Harper of Off Campus Student Services said students were encouraged to label items left out for pickup.
With so many students residing in local neighborhoods, VCU understands the need to build strong and healthy ties among students and their neighbors.
Since noise from student housing can be a source of friction, the VCU Police Department intervenes when necessary to curb any noise complaints. Lt. Chris Preuss noted the Richmond and VCU police departments are working in tandem more than ever to curb and track noise complaints. Preuss said that many landlords do not reside locally, so it is important that they know what is going on with their tenants. The results of the stronger communication and organization between the two departments have been successful, he said.
VCU ranks highest in Virginia and in the top 17 in the nation of cycle friendly universities, according to the League of American Bicyclists. Bike usage can potentially both alleviate and aggravate stress and tension among neighbors. While cycling reduces congestion, parking volume and greenhouse gasses, uninformed and untrained cyclists add danger and frustration to themselves, pedestrians and drivers alike.
VCU continues to make biking more neighborhood-friendly by introducing symposiums and training clinics regarding bike use and safety. The strong push for bike safety and awareness makes neighborhoods more green and parking accessible.
Under the university’s strategic plan, Quest for Distinction, VCU desires mature and diverse students with a strong sense of community engagement, said VCU President Michael Rao.
“What makes Richmond great? Diversity,” Attending VCU is not just a way to get 40 courses’ worth of experience, but an experience in itself to transform and change one’s life, Rao said.
“We want our students to go from being good neighbors to productive citizens,” said Cathy Howard, vice provost, Division of Community Engagement.
Any questions or concerns regarding neighborhood issues can be sent to email@example.com.