02/16/05 - Members of the University of Rhode Island-Narragansett Coalition
are making changes so the committee will be more student-friendly.
"All everybody wants is just a good place to live," Narragansett resident Tony Branca said.
URI senior Jon Frederickson was appointed the first moderator for the coalition meetings. He will serve as moderator until the end of the semester.
"I really appreciate them giving me the opportunity to be a student and being an administrator in such a powerful position for the coalition," Frederickson said. "I think it's really a step forward."
The steering subcommittee said the moderator position would rotate after Frederickson's term, and would not be reserved only for students.
"I don't think they are going to be student based," Frederickson said, "but I'm sure they'll open it up again to any other student that is qualified."
Narragansett resident Paula Santos was also hired as the coalition coordinator.
"She can be objective," Narragansett Police Chief J. David Smith said. "She's doing it because she's a member of the community."
Smith also said that the communications subcommittee recognized that there is a negative connotation for the coalition.
"We're here to recognize there are problems," Smith said. "We're really here to work in a positive way."
Smith said that he believes some students are tired of listening to a "gripe session" when attending coalition meetings. Subcommittees have been created, he said, so that students and residents can concentrate on one problem in the subcommittee meetings, and not have all concerns voiced together in the general coalition meetings.
"By having them in groups, they can stay small, they can stay focused and they can be productive," Smith said.
Smith will also speak at tonight's URI Student Senate meeting to motivate more student involvement in the coalition.
While students were the minority at the 36-person coalition meeting, there are students who are working to solve problems in the community.
Senate External Affairs Committee Chairwoman Clarissa Nault said that students are initiating a solution for alternative transportation to local bars and parties.
"It's good to see students taking initiative to solve that problem," Nault said.
The next URI-Narragansett Coalition meeting will be held on March 22.