The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Local students join new city commission

Guilford College. University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Greensboro College. Guilford Technical Community College. Bennett College. Elon University School of Law. North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

Greensboro’s seven colleges and universities have joined with the City of Greensboro to create a new commission of students from each of the schools. The Greensboro College Commission will advise the Greensboro City Council about issues relevant to college students, among other things.

“I don’t know of any other time when we’ve been able to unite all the seven colleges and universities on one platform or one thing,” said Wade Walcutt, interim director of Greensboro Parks and Recreation, who oversees the commission. “I’m not sure how many college commissions in the country actually exist this way.”

Each institution selected two applicants from their student body for the commission. Guilford appointed sophomore José Oliva and first-year Caleb Anderson.

“I want college students to feel at home in Greensboro and have all the opportunities they need to grow in the professional fields they choose,” said Oliva, president of Community Senate and Bonner Scholar, in an email interview. “I want to participate in making the college experience better.”

Anderson hopes that by serving on the commission, he can make a difference as well.

“It looked like a good opportunity to do something outside of the Guilford bubble,” said Anderson, a member of Community Senate and the men’s cross-country team. “It looked like something that could benefit the entire city of Greensboro and something I would definitely want to be involved in.”

The new commission fills a gap in the city’s programs for younger residents such as the Greensboro Youth Council, targeted at middle and high school students, and Action Greensboro’s synergy program, targeted at young professionals.

“We have all these college students in town, but we never really capture any of them while they’re in town and allow them to help us guide legislation in Greensboro,” said Jamal Fox, City Council member, former adjunct professor at N.C. A&T and liaison to the commission. “It was one of the things that I said we had to do when I ran for office in 2013: really engage the college students, give them a voice and allow them to advise council on what it is we need to do to keep them in town.”

The commission held its first meeting on Jan. 27. Because it was the first meeting, the commission devoted most of its time to orientation, but Fox says commissioners could not wait to get to work.

“There were people already putting forth resolutions,” said Fox. “It was great to see the excitement, great to see the folks who are the founding members of this commission really going and setting the pace for what it’s going to be in the years to come.”

Although the city has given the commission a lot of leeway, one item that may fall to it is a new internship program called the Ambassador Program. According to Fox, the commission would select college students to participate in an internship with the city government, giving students invaluable experience with local politics.

Other things the commission may do include developing events for college students and advocating for students in the area on issues such as public safety and transportation.

“There could be all kinds of different issues that we could look at,” said Walcutt. “It’s really going to be up to the commissioners. Then we’ll help guide them.”

Although the commission will dedicate most of its first months to creating bylaws and a brand for the commission, it has already excited people throughout the city.

“There is a lot of energy,” said Walcutt. “At our first meeting, the manager’s office was there supporting us and several deputy chiefs from the police department were there.”

The commission will hold public meetings on the fourth Tuesday of every month at 6:00 p.m. at the Parks and Recreation headquarters on 1001 Fourth St.

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