Community Liaison: Program History
In 1997, the City of Fort Collins and Colorado State University partnered to examine issues of town-gown relations in Fort Collins and formed the University-City Liaison Committee. This group of University and City leaders continues to meet quarterly to discuss issues of importance to both institutions. The University and City worked on a pilot program in 1999 to identify neighborhood concerns and look for ways of creating dialogue between students and neighbors. Although the effect of this program was limited, it set the stage for many of the programs that were to follow. In addition, City Council passed a Public Nuisance Ordinance in 2001 to strengthen the consequences of violating certain existing ordinances.
The University and City jointly funded the Community Liaison Coordinator (CLC) position to take the lead on implementing programs to enhance relations between neighbors and students in 2001. The CLC operates as an employee of both the City of Fort Collins Neighborhood Services Office and Off-Campus Student Services at Colorado State University. The CLC divides her time between the two offices and has a program budget that is shared 50-50 by the two offices.
When the CLC position was first implemented, a significant amount of time was spent identifying the areas of concern in areas where non-student residents and students live in close proximity. Common concerns for long-standing community members included: noise, parking, number of occupants in a single-family dwelling, and neighborhood appearance. Student concerns included: lack of affordable housing off-campus, feeling like "second class community members," and housing standards.
Since the community liaison program was established, a number of foundational programs have been implemented to address these concerns. Programs are geared at educating students about local ordinances and standards, highlighting best practices of students and neighbors, strengthening enforcement and prevention, disposing of unwanted furniture in a positive way, and creating off-campus volunteer opportunities for CSU students.
We enthusiastically look forward to the future of the Community Liaison Program. If you have suggestions for making our program stronger, please do not hesitate contact us.