Town & Gown Committee 2013 – 2016
Mayor Costas appointed me to the Town and Gown Committee for Valparaiso University in 2013. This group included the University President, the Mayor along with the top brass from both groups along with a few community members. We met quarterly and discuss the long-term strategic plans of both organizations. For many years the city and university worked in parallel and plans never crossed but after Jon Costas became mayor, not only did the conversation begin, the planning started to work in tandem. One of my favorite parts of the committee was the way the city was able to adapt and cater to student needs in such a short time. For instance, one semester, many international students came to the school just before the semester start but could only find housing on the north side of town. They also did not have effective transportation to campus. The city was able to reroute some of the V-Line buses to ensure that these kids were able to get to where they needed to be. I found this partnership between the two organization to be one of the bigger successes in how Valpo was able to build a stronger, better community. Given that Valparaiso has been predominately white for a hundred years and the university has grown its diversity in a big way, such a partnership has really helped the community become more welcoming to students and integrate the community in a bigger way.