As a West Chester University student, the intern to the Mayor of West Chester understands the stresses, crises and time-consuming activities that are ever-present in the typical student’s life. Every day, students must plan around classes, studying, homework, jobs, reading textbooks and writing essays – not to mention finding time to eat and bathe. Many must even plan their days down to the hour to ensure they have adequate time to appropriately address every one of their responsibilities.
One of the responsibilities of the intern to the Mayor is to attend Borough Council planning sessions and Borough Council meetings, each of which occurs once a month on the third Tuesday and Wednesday of the month, respectively. Initially, there was concern on the spring intern’s end about how these extra hours – about two for each meeting – would cut into homework time.
In January, the intern attended the first pair of meetings. These took place during the first week of classes, so it was not yet unreasonable to expect her to have the mental strength to listen with diligence and participate with enthusiasm. The meeting turned out to be unexpectedly positive and pleasantly surprising.
The democratic process is really a beautiful one. The intern has the unique opportunity to watch the meeting with excitement from both a student’s and an on- or off-campus resident’s perspectives.
Although the Borough Council does have an agenda of items to tackle, all meeting attendees are given the opportunity to express their concerns and ideas in an open forum format. The Borough Council takes the time to explain the background of each issue brought up for discussion for those present, who may be unfamiliar with the topic at hand.
After each council representative voices his or her own opinion, the floor is open to any community member present who wishes to comment on the issue.
In the past three months of meetings, community opinions have ranged from brief statements by citizens who had initially attended the meeting to speak on another issue to intricate presentations by groups of community members passionate about a certain topic.
This passion should be present in the heart of every West Chester University student. Every year the students come together as a student body to support certain causes ranging from university sports teams to the annual springtime celebration of bananas.
Rarely, however, do students come together to support the democratic process in the town in which they live during the majority of the months they call themselves students.
Please consider attending the next Borough Council meetings at 7 p.m. in Borough Hall at 401 E. Gay Street on April 19 and 20. Make your voices heard. Borough residents want to work alongside students to make this wonderful town the most enjoyable environment possible for all who share it.
Only through this spirit of cooperation can West Chester, West Chester University and the student experience continue to grow.
Stephanie Eckman is the intern to the mayor. She is a fourth year student majoring in Spanish and Political Science with a minor in Linguistics. She can be reached at SE662341@wcupa.edu.