Town-gown meeting aims to improve campus, community relations

The Department of Off-Campus Living hosted its first town-gown meeting on Wednesday Nov. 14 meant to foster communication between the student body and the Geneseo community. Open to both students and town residents, the town-gown gathering is an informal meeting aimed at establishing long-lasting connections between the two groups.

Members of the Geneseo administration and University Police were present, including Vice President of Student and Campus Life Robert Bonfiglio, Alcohol and Other Drug Program Coordinator Sarah Covell and Chief of University Police Sal Simonetti.

Coordinator of Greek Affairs and Off-Campus Living Wendi Kinney hosted the meeting and led the open discussion. Kinney began the meeting by discussing the upcoming Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development workshops designed to answer student questions regarding off-campus living. She also discussed various programs and off-campus services available to both students and village residents.

Officer Jeffrey Szczesniak of the Village of Geneseo Police Department then spoke on the status of the fall 2012 semester and security in town.

“We’ve had a good semester,” Szczesniak said. “The number of calls we’ve received are the same, but the types of calls are less severe.”

Szczesniak added that the college invited him to the town-gown to give the Village of Geneseo police a chance to spread necessary information about certain laws and policies to students.

“Binge drinking is still a problem, and there are a number of young people going to the hospital because they’re at the point where they’ve had too much to drink,” he said. “We want to get a lot of info out to as many different groups as possible.”

Junior Sherry Leung and sophomore Caroline Goldschein, members of Alpha Phi Omega, were also in attendance. Leung said that she attended the meeting because her organization offers “a great way to volunteer” and Goldschein said that she wanted to see “how the community views the students.”

Meeting discussion focused on ideas for improving connections and interaction between Geneseo students and the community.

“We’ve been working with [the Parking and Transportation Services Office] to try and get a dedicated main entrance for the school,” Kinney said, regarding parking spaces dedicated to community members who wish to attend events on campus.

“In a recent study, a majority of off-campus students surveyed said that they wanted to know more about community events,” Kinney added.

Various attendees also proposed and supported establishing a liaison between campus and Geneseo community organizers to create a comprehensive list of events for both areas. Attendees discussed utilizing existing media, such as student email, to inform students of upcoming community events. Several individuals also said that they supported the creation of a public list of campus opportunities that town residents could take advantage of.

Attendees also suggested utilizing The Lamron as a possible avenue for making the connection between all members of the Geneseo community, as students, faculty and residents have access to the newspaper.