Slippery Rock borough mayor Jondavid Longo announced the creation a new borough council committee with the goal to strengthen the relationship between the university and the borough.
The University Relations Committee will feature Longo, council president Russ Karl, councilman Denton Zeronas and student representation from the university. Longo mentioned he would like to see leaders from the Student Government, College Republicans, College Democrats, Greek Life, or even someone from the University President’s office.
“Our first action would be to invite all those who are invested in strengthening the bond between the townspeople and the student body,” Longo said.
The announcement of the committee came on Feb. 6 via mayor Longo’s twitter page, stating the committee’s creation, along with its current members. Longo mentioned once the committee finds student body representation, more details about the committee and its function will be released to the public, which he hopes will be soon.
When it comes to challenges the committee might face, Longo mentioned the obvious scheduling and students finding that extra time, but Longo also mentioned the more intense challenges that will come down the road.
“Of course there will be opposing ideas and viewpoints, the generational gaps between participants is what will be most challenging,” Longo said. “Convincing some permanent residents that the student body is a part of our community and not apart from our community will pose a challenge too.”
Longo believes that the key to the success of strengthening the relationship between the community and the university will have to be done through the students at The Rock, which he was once part of.
“It’s imperative that we work together,” Longo said. “As a borough homeowner of six years and a two time graduate of SRU, I see both sides of the equation. I see a great resource in the student body that our town can use to its benefit and I see a beautiful town that wants faster growth and move into a new era.”
Zeronas, who is currently part of the student body as a secondary education major, and who is the first Slippery Rock student to have a voting position on the borough council, believes student involvement is what the committee needs before they can take any action.
“I feel that JD’s and my campaign showed that students were capable of doing things bigger than they think possible,” Zeronas said. “So I also think that students don’t believe they have as big of a voice in government, especially the place they call home for four years. So this committee is important to me because it can allow students on different political spectrums to come together with ideas to make the borough better.”
Student involvement is very important for the committee to function, so for any student who wishes to get involved, they can contact Zeronas at firstname.lastname@example.org, or simply attend the weekly borough council meetings on Tuesdays from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the borough building at 306 East Water Street.