Plan to improve student, neighbor relations introduced at USG meeting

The Undergraduate Student Government began its Sunday night meeting with a moment of silence for those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001.

Doug Hennes, vice president for university and government relations, was a guest at the meeting and announced a three-part plan that will help commuter students get more involved in resolving neighborhood relations issues.

Hennes said the first part will be a neighborhood litter pickup currently set for every other Sunday morning. He said the Sigma Chi Fraternity already helped with the first Sunday pickup.

“While we were out doing it this morning there was a number of neighbors that said, ‘Thank you,’” Hennes said. “They said they thought it was good that we had students out trying to keep the neighborhood clean.”

Hennes said he is in the process of finding a second organization to join and participate on the alternating Sunday.

The second part of the plan will hire students living in the surrounding neighborhood to work with other students living in the area or are thinking of moving there. The goal is to make them aware of any neighbor issues that might arise.

The third part of the plan will be called Community Ambassadors. These will be students hired as liaisons to neighbors and hear their concerns and report back to John Hershey, neighborhood liaison.

Hennes also mentioned the St. Paul City Council has approved a one-year moratorium on additional rental student housing in the neighborhood.

“What the city is going to do is they’re going to study this issue over the next year and try and figure out is there a long-term solution,” Hennes said. “I highly doubt the city is going to try to extend the ordinance to a second year or a third year, but it’s possible that they could end up doing something with the density of rental housing.”

Hennes said he hopes the St. Paul City Council can form a recommendation as to how to move ahead in the future with rental housing by spring.

Fall elections for USG positions will take place Sept 21-23. Open positions include junior class president, freshman class president, two freshmen senators, freshman residential senator, residential senator, and student diversity chair. Election packets are available outside Murray-Herrick Campus Center Room 111.

 Cynthia Johnson can be reached at

5 Replies to “Plan to improve student, neighbor relations introduced at USG meeting”

  1. Thank you for highlighting some of the new and ongoing initiatives being provided by University Relations and the Dean of Students Office department, Off-Campus Student Services, to best serve our off-campus students.

    In addition to the new Community Ambassadors, our new Neighborhood Student Advisor (NSA) Program has students planning programs for and doing outreach to neighborhood students. The events are geared towards off-campus students, including workshops on renter’s rights, cooking programs, and personal finance management.

    Additionally, our Fall Neighborhood Walkthrough was last Thursday. Our students talked with about 30 groups of students living off-campus about a variety of issues, and visited over 250 student properties providing information about living in the neighborhood (to see the brochure, visit these links:, We’ll be conducting our snow emergency drive in the winter to ensure students are aware of snow emergency regulations in St. Paul.

    These are just a few of the many programs and services we offer to off-campus students. For more information, visit our website or follow USTOffCampus on Twitter or Facebook (the only way to learn about where the free bagels will be each month for Bagel Wednesday.

  2. Excellent plan. I wish St Thomas neighbors would do something positive. Seems all they do is; whine, use the campus to walk dogs, troll for swag and tell UST what to do with it’s land.

  3. TJ: Conversely, some neighbors think that all UST students seem to do is swill beer, stagger about the streets, swear loudly and pee in inappropriate places. So there’s room for everyone to play a more positive role in neighborhood relations.

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