A few weeks ago, I took a class with a number of my colleagues on our Council and other council members in a few other cities and municipalities across the country. The class was organized by the International Town and Gown Association (ITGA), that mainly focuses its activities to improve relationship between the University and the long time residents in the city.
College Park, being the home of the University of Maryland, is not quite different from any other university town in the country. It has the same kind of challenges, such as noise, public safety, trash / litters and other code enforcement related issues that other college towns are facing.
At the end of the course, we were divided into groups and were assigned to work on real world project that they want to work on. Our group comprised of council members / officials from the City of College Park, Prince George’s County, the University of Maryland and the Prince George’s Property Owners’ Association (PGPOA). After several days of brainstorming and discussion we cam up a project that we named “One Community, One Vision”.
First, we identified the stakeholders in this project. The list is long:
- Long term residents
- Community Associations: Berwyn, North, Wood, Lakeland
- Non profits: MNCPPC
- Associations: PGPOA
- Local, County and State Government
- Public/Private Schools
- Faith Based Organizations
- Local Community Leaders
- Students on and Off Campus
We also planned to to form small focus groups in order to see input from larger communities from these larger groups.
We also identified programs and Activities to showcase this project. The include
- College Park Day
- Good Neighbor Day
- College Park 101 – A course we proposed new UMd students to take in the Spring Semester. This includes a brief history of College Park, Cultural and Recreational Sites, Services for the community
- Produce a few multimedia (videos) Here and here are two sample YouTube Videos:
We also planned to produce a brochure / pamphlet for the new students, titled “Practical Guide for Living Away from home”. This will include How to find information:
- Where to find the services:
- How to behave and be a member of the community:
- How to serve on the community
We also planned to have an annual survey among the parents, students, and residents.
The group intends to work on this project in the coming weeks and months. I will let you know as we make progress.