Students and the West Haven Community

The Charger Bulletin

A few weeks ago, the College Democrats welcomed three guest speakers into their weekly meeting. West Haven Councilman-at-Large Stephen DeCrescenzo and two other councilmen won over the students with pizza and soda as they discussed increasing student involvement with the community. Together, the group brainstormed ways that the College Democrats can increase student awareness of community issues and become more involved in West Haven politics.

Getting students more involved with the community seems like a simple issue. It’s certainly been brought up in numerous different venues by numerous different organizations. However, a major increase in student concern for our surrounding community has failed to occur; at least over the past four years.

What’s weird is how oblivious we are to the city we live in for most of the year. For about nine months, we live in West Haven. Yet, how often do we consider West Haven the town we live in?

It’s a difficult situation because even though our campus is a part of West Haven, we are entirely our own community. It’s hard to care about the condition of Campbell Ave. when we need to find non-existent parking spots in time for class.

Another factor is ignorance. Did you know that we can register as voters in West Haven? Since we are residents for most of the year, we could participate in local voting. The power to vote in the city of West Haven also allows us to have a say in campus issues. Councilman DeCrescenzo pointed out that if the city doesn’t approve UNH building plans, new buildings can’t be built on campus. I think we can all agree that student voices don’t get heard here. So why not take them higher than UNH?

It may be too late for me, but I hope that the College Democrats can educate students on what they can do for the community we live in. We spend plenty of time complaining about it, but we never consider what kind of impact we could have on it. I think it’s about time we looked into it.