Student liaisons serve as bridge between UI, cities

Finally, the time has come when the community and campus can bridge the gap that has existed for entirely too long. Recently, the Illinois Student Senate appointed a campus liaison for the Champaign City Council and Urbana City Council. The Committee of Community & Governmental Affairs has been trying to enact this idea for years, but finally we have succeeded in allowing student input and presence on the floor of the city council.

It has not been a simple process, but the partnership of President David Pileski and myself over the past two years has made this dream a reality. It takes persistence in order to follow through on an idea, and we have been able to put this notion into motion. The first step was finding student liaisons that were willing to make the commitment to attend most every meeting and try to build a relationship with the city council.

Senator Matt Gold, junior in LAS, has been serving as our campus liaison to the Champaign City Council. Senator Peter Hughes, senior in Engineering, is the campus liaison for the Urbana City Council. The role of the campus liaison is to attend the meetings in order to be the ears for the students. If there is an issue that arises that needs the attention of students and ISS, then they will serve as our watchdogs.

As of now, we are entering the second phase of the process. It is time to not only continue to work with the city councils, but also ensure this position will remain at the University of Illinois for student generations to come. The ideals that the current senate holds are only as strong as the torchbearers who follow suit. To keep the momentum going, it is time to make the campus liaison an official role within the student senate and Champaign City Council.

Through the course of the year, we will continue to solidify the campus liaison position to fully represent the student body within the University of Illinois community and the Champaign-Urbana community at large. The Committee on Community & Governmental Affairs and President Pileski will not stop until the position of campus liaison is embedded into the culture of both ISS and local community. Students compose a population of 41,000, which is larger than the city of Urbana. Those voices are needed in the local community in order to create a unified environment in the 217. It is time for unity — not division — between both the cities of Champaign and Urbana with the University of Illinois.

_Shana Harrison, chair of Community & Governmental Affairs_