With classes set to start Sept. 30 at Oregon State University, university officials went before the Corvallis City Council on Monday to advise councilors of some of the changes that they have planned for the 2013-14 school year.
Associate provost Susie Brubaker-Cole, Kris Winter, director of new student programs, substance abuse prevention coordinator Rob Reff and Steve Clark, the vice president for marketing and university relations, spoke before the council in a 23-minute presentation.
Cole focused on the first-year experience program, which mandates that first-year students live on campus in the fall. Cole stressed the positive outcomes that come with such an approach.
“We know that attaining a college degree leads to greater prosperity, health, wellness and civic engagement through (a person’s) lifetime,” Cole said.
Cole and other presenters noted the importance for students of getting off to a good start in that first year.
Reff discussed the problem of “high-risk alcohol use” and credited the Collaboration Corvallis project with helping to address the issue.
Reff, who served on the project’s neighborhood livability workgroup, said that alcohol problems “negatively affect students and their coursework and can cause problems with livability in the neighborhoods.”
“I’m just one guy, I can’t solve the problem,” Reff said. “Every thing was in pockets before. We weren’t connecting all of the pieces together.”
Reff noted that the university has hired new staffers in its student conduct office as well as Greek life and plans a third hire to deal with community outreach and student behavior off-campus.
“We are going to have boots on the ground so we can directly address these things,” Reff said.
Clark handed out copies of a new guide for off-campus living, which will be distributed on campus and in the community.
In other action, the council approved 8-1 a change in the time of meetings from 6 to 6:30 p.m. Councilors wanted a later start time to make it easier for families to participate, and to make for better coordination with public hearings, which generally start at 7:30 p.m.
Ward 1 Councilor Penny York voted against the plan because she felt the relationship between council start times should have been more explicitly integrated with public hearings and executive sessions.
Contact reporter James Day at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-758-9542. Follow at Twitter.com/jameshday or gazettetimes.com/blogs/jim-day.