ASCSU hosts city council, community members in annual round table event

Jonathan Matheny

The Associated Students of Colorado State University community round table event was a little different this year.

In an attempt to move conversations further than previous years, ASCSU and the Center for Public Deliberation teamed up to create a more comprehensive discussion on six issues pertinent to CSU and the Fort Collins community, according to communication studies professor Martín Carcasson.

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“This is a great event,” said Karen Weitkunat, mayor of Fort Collins, in her opening comments. Weitkunat spoke about the common ground shared by CSU and the Fort Collins community and praised the event’s organizers for a complete and thorough agenda.

The six issues discussed were parking, CSU in the community, student housing, homelessness, public safety and legislation concerning underage drinking.

Parking:

“Good luck finding parking on the street because there isn’t [any],” said Lora Elliott, ASCSU assistant director of community affairs. “I think I drove around for about 20 minutes yesterday looking for a spot.”

The discussion about parking issues on and around campus focused on the parking plan that was recently approved by the Fort Collins City Council which requires residents to pay for permits to park on the streets in the neighborhoods surrounding CSU. The hope is that this will help encourage students to use alternate forms of transportation, according to Aaron Fodge, CSU transportation manager.

“It’s a matter of convenience,” Fodge said. “If its convenient enough to bring a vehicle, to park a vehicle, then you bring a vehicle.”

According to Fodge, the newly implemented Around the Horn and MAX buses have been implemented to further decrease the need for cars on campus.

CSU in the community:

“CSU students have more to offer than just parties,” said Madison Gruber, ASCSU deputy director of community affairs.

The discussion on CSU in the community focused around how the community views CSU students.

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“If the community is engaged they are going to be supportive of everything,” said Kelly DiMartino, an employee at the city manager’s office.  According to DiMartino CSU should do more to host events in the community, such as the homecoming parade with the marching band.

Housing:

The housing discussion focused around how marketing has led to problems with housing. The problems discussed include rising prices and the perception that new housing complexes are built for partying.

“Yes, more bedrooms is really important, but if you’re marketing it as luxury that excludes a certain population of students,” Gruber said.

Housing prices in the last three years have increased from 903 dollars per month to 1,217 dollars per month for a two bedroom apartment, according to ASCSU Senator Jason Sydoriak.

“Is this marketing false advertising or is it putting pressure on housing prices?” asked Sydoriak.

In response, Mayor Weitkunat discussed the lack of available space for new housing construction as another possible reason for the increase in housing prices.

Homelessness:

The discussion on homelessness focused around the various types of homelessness and how to combat it. In particular the discussion focused on creating a locker system to allow homeless people to store their belongings during the day.

Public Safety:

The main points discussed about public safety were reporting suspicious activity to the police and getting peers to support each other to make safe decisions. In particular, the discussion focused on safe decisions regarding alcohol and drug use.

Social Host Ordinance:

The social host ordinance discussion focused on creating a more comprehensive law to determine who is at fault in cases where underage drinking is occurring.  Specifically the group discussed ways to determine who the host is, and who the ticket should go to.

Collegian ASCSU Beat Reporter Jonathan Matheny can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @JonathanMathen2.