Kingston mayor promotes student-community integration
Expressing a need to foster student-community integration, Mayor Harvey Rosen addressed the topic of “Town-gown relations: today and tomorrow,” at the Queen’s-Kingston Community Breakfast, held recently at the Ambassador Conference Resort.
“Queen’s students want to be engaged by their city of residence,” said Mayor Rosen. “They want to become more involved in the life of their community, because it makes them feel more attached to this place and less transient.”
Drawing from a survey conducted by the City of Kingston, Mayor Rosen stated that the majority of students are pleased with their experience as citizens of Kingston. However, he identified key issues that are being raised by Queen’s students, including concerns about waste and snow removal, student housing and economic development. These issues are shared by both students and other residents of Kingston, said Mayor Rosen.
A survey conducted by the Monieson Centre at the Queen’s School of Business, to be released at the end of the year, supports these findings, the mayor continued. The Monieson study also reveals that both current students and alumni feel employment prospects offered in the city are limited. Of the 900 students and 3000 alumni surveyed, 78 per cent had not even considered Kingston for post-graduate employment.
Mayor Rosen stressed the importance of developing employment opportunities of interest to Queen’s graduates. He credited initiatives such as Queen’s Innovation Park and KEDCO projects for encouraging partnerships between academic and industry research and promoting the growth of new businesses.
“Over the long term I am confident that there will be an increase in employment prospects,” he said.
Referring to the unsanctioned Aberdeen Street party as an “antisocial pilgrimage to Kingston,” Mayor Rosen also commented on the association of Queen’s students with the annual party. Quoting police statistics, he noted that at least 75 per cent of those facing charges after the street party were not Queen’s students or alumni. The mayor believes that the university’s Spring Reunion will deter a repeat of the events witnessed on Aberdeen Street in previous years.
Mayor Rosen concluded that the Kingston and Queen’s communities are “up for the challenge of mending the tear in town-gown relations. The tools are at hand, the will is present and strong,” he said.