Last semester, the Student Government Association and Residence Life developed an agreement for residents that would be living in the Village in the fall. The agreement, which was drafted to improve communication between residents and foster a better living environment in the Village, took effect on Monday.
The agreement, officially known as the Village Stairwell Community Standards Agreement, was implemented because Public Safety was receiving many calls from residents reporting problems with their fellow neighbors without confronting them first.
“Each stairwell will have a liaison from Student Government that will help facilitate this discussion and hopefully assist in forming a consensus,” said Vinny Guinta, SGA president. “With this consensus and discussion taking place, we are hopeful that residents will work together to form a community and increase their levels of communication among each other.”
Guinta said SGA hopes that as a result of the agreement, students will be able to talk with each other if a problem occurs. It gives students an opportunity to take responsibility and handle a problem without Public Safety being the first to respond.
“I think it is a great idea with a little room for improvement,” said Caitlyn Bolduc, Area Residence Director of the Village. “I know even before the stairwell agreement, I have had residents come to me and ask to exchange information. So if students choose to do it, they will do it, and it will be successful.”
However, the new agreement does not supersede Ramapo College policies. The community standards are suggestions for how residents may communicate with each other if a problem occurs in their respective living environments. It is meant merely to reduce calls to Public Safety when issues arise that may be solved between the residents themselves, working in conjunction with Residence Life policies, not against them.
“In many cases, if residents text their neighbors to tell them to quiet down, or go knock on their door, unnecessary violations could be avoided. However, without a willingness to form a community, this cannot happen,” said Guinta. “The biggest concern I have is in regards to attendance, which to a certain extent is out of our control.”
“My only real concern or worry is that people will not follow the agreement and just call Public Safety anyway,” said SGA vice president Lauren Fuhrig. “SGA is doing this to help them and show that there are other, better ways to go about handling a disruption than immediately calling Public Safety.”
Essentially, the program’s success depends on the willingness of residents to participate.
“I believe this program is a fantastic way to build a stronger sense of community in the Village,” said Heather Darley, a junior currently living in the Village in the Sustainable Living Facilities. “It will be interesting to see the results, and it will be a great opportunity to say hello to our neighbors.”
“I am hopeful that this program will be successful enough that we can pursue it again next year,” said Guinta, “and that the concept of a greater sense of community can spread to other areas of campus.”