An information session for a new initiative to improve ties between students and residents of the Milton-Parc neighbourhood was held in the Notre Dame Church Tuesday.
The McGill administration, SSMU, and the Milton-Parc Citizens Committee (MPCC) have together coordinated the Community Action and Relations Endeavor (CARE), and seek to provide a basis for collaborations and consultations between the three groups in the future.
MPCC member Helene Brissone, who made the evening’s opening remarks, emphasized the issues of alcohol consumption and McGill’s orientation week. It was a matter that dominated dialogue at the meeting.
SSMU VP (External) Sebastian Ronderos-Morgan, who helped organize CARE, stressed the importance of first-year students’ attitudes. “Frosh Week is so important because it is the biggest event that happens all year, but it’s also the first impression for thousands of freshmen who are coming in,” he said.
CARE’s framework document, presented at the session, suggested an annual schedule of meetings and recreational activities – including a barbeque and a fair – to increase contact between students and residents. Ronderos-Morgan also introduced the concept of “Frosh street teams,” which he explained might involve pairs of students and willing residents present on neighbourhood intersections to offer Frosh participants directions and water, as well as encourage good behaviour.
SSMU VP (Internal) Alex Brown remarked that it was important to teach upper-year students about showing respect to the community so that younger students might follow their example. She also noted that she was working with the University’s First-Year Office so that new workshops might teach students about the Milton-Parc community and its history.
“It’s going to be a slow education process,” Brown said. “It’s about creating a new culture, not just in the first week, but throughout the year, throughout the community.”