If elected, what approach would you take in promoting a positive and collaborative relationship between Wolfville's permanent residents and students?
The Acadia community, the Town of Wolfville, and Wolfville residents are all promoting positive interactions. The newly ratified student code of conduct, signed by Wolfville, the ASU, and Acadia administration, was many years in the making. Now it’s time to roll it out. Positive examples include long-time residents introducing themselves every year to their student neighbours with cookies and a conversation, and introductions in student areas with residents and the president of Acadia. Most students are taking Covid-19 restrictions seriously. That’s a good step in maintaining trust. Living close to Acadia and downtown, most of the time I love the relationship between our student and permanent resident populations.
I have been a resident for 17 years and I have found over the last ten years that the communication/ relationship between the Town and University has broken down significantly. There doesn't seem to be a consistent dialogue between the parties. Students need to know there's more to Main Street than Tim Hortons and the Anvil and I think the town can help better educate about what's so special here for them. I would love to be a liason for the residents and students, maybe through on- campus talks, working with the Grapevine or Ath newspapers, social media blitzs from the town, townspeople guest speakers in the classroom or online. Lots of opportunity.
Our neighbourhood has a growing student population. I have been following the advice of more experienced residents to meet and get to know incoming students. It seems to me that building linkages is natural and proactive.
If elected, my priority would be to expand on our relationship with Acadia. When you enroll at Acadia, you become apart of our community. Fall is always so exciting, as the streets are bustling with young adults starting the next chapter of their lives, and its exciting to be a part of it. We need to have stronger communication and consultations with both administrations, to deal with collective issues.
My husband Thomas and I live in what will soon be the last family home on Linden Ave. Over the years, we have found that direct communication with students, as well as communication with landlords, town staff and RCMP, has generally not resulted in a relationship that reflects the expectations both students and residents have of our community. As a town, I believe we need to work consistently and continuously with all stakeholders to further integrate the role students play in our community, and invite students to participate in community affairs whenever possible. As well, students need to reach out and introduce themselves to their neighbours and recognize the effort we all need to make in order to maintain neighbourhood harmony.
Similar to Acadia University’s SMILE program, I would encourage the town to collaborate with Acadia to develop an ‘app’ in order to socially engage young and older adults in the community. These virtual or in-person, where possible, interactions would provide a forum to build supportive relationships between those segments of the community. By engaging the university-age cohort with adults 50+ years, both parties will gain a greater appreciation for the communities most valuable resources. In addition, I encourage a mechanism for high school and university students to collaborate and create entrepreneurial ventures to support municipal strategic outcomes.
I will move to establish student positions on all Town committees. Including students in the decision-making of the Town will help them to feel more connected to the community by ensuring their voices are heard on municipal issues. With students coming here from so many different backgrounds - and in such large numbers - it’s naïve to think that the current level of student engagement on Town committees is a sufficient representation of the student population. Students are an integral part of Wolfville’s fabric, and giving them a seat at the table will serve to demonstrate that.
With any relationship – communication, understanding, respect, responsibility and accountability are paramount. These relationship qualities need consistent attention.
Two essential components for community harmony are:
· Residents who open their doors and welcome students
-Students who communicate and take responsibility while also being accountable for their actions
Ensuring our Compliance Officer has a dual role – one that contributes to Community Harmony is essential. Someone who collects the data and is constantly monitoring and nurturing this relationship will add a great deal of consistency and value.
The same approach that council has been taking. I was delighted to have been an integral part of the writing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the University, the Town and the Student Union and while we have done quite a bit over the last several years to improve the communication and collaboration amongst all three, I look forward to further discussions, initiatives and decisions in order to continue to grow this relationship – from improving the sense of community (i.e. off-campus student parties) to celebrating the many accomplishments and contributions that our students bring to our community.
Nicholas Ken Jin Tan
It's no secret that many of Wolfville's permanent residents have problems with students. Whether it's noise or litter these people just want to live in peace. The fact is that the university is a part of our community. The biggest measurable difference between Wolfville and any other town in the Annapolis Valley is Acadia. It's one of the main reasons our little town is a community full of life. These students bring energy and money to stimulate our economy and overall community. We must have a compassionate understanding of each other's lives. We're all in this together.