UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Student governments form council in Tallahassee

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. _ An ordinance that limits the number of unrelated household members living in one house.

A need for more student-sensitive politicians, but low turnout at university polling places.

What’s a Tallahassee college student to do?

Organize, said student government officials at Florida A&M University, Florida State University and Tallahassee Community College. The trio is creating an alliance _ the Tallahassee Student Concerns Council _ to educate students on local issues, provide student input on city ordinances and coordinate student service to the community.

The group held its first meeting Thursday evening at City Hall. “We’re all one community,” said Larry Rivers, FAMU student government leader. “We all need to work together … If we have the line of communication at the time they’re making the ordinances, it won’t look like we’re arguing after the fact.”

The idea for the council originated with Joshua Cossey, outgoing director of legislative affairs for FSU’s student government. He said during his early years at FSU it seemed as if students would organize a march every time they wanted to complain.

He wanted to start a constructive group that could be at the table as soon as issues surfaced, instead of reacting to decisions that had been made.

“We need a different kind of relationship with the community,” Cossey said.

The executive board will consist of two representatives from each school. The initial six who are all student government leaders are: Farhood Basiri and Chris Timmons, TCC; Aziza Bowser and Tisa Holley, FAMU; and Dan Jenkins and Patrick Sullivan, FSU. Under Cossey’s initial plan, the board will appoint four committees: consumer affairs, community involvement, ordinances and initiatives and civic awareness.

Among their possible tasks, educating students about the importance of voting and where to cast ballots and recruiting student volunteers to help the city clean up after parades and other events.

“You’re taking the first step to connect town and gown,” Mayor Scott Maddox told the board. “You should have a voice because you’re an important part of the community.” He asked the group to provide him with students he can consider for appointments to various city committees.

A college student on average contributes $10,000 a year to the city’s economy, Cossey said. Students at all three colleges generate $550 million a year and provide countless hours of community service for Tallahassee, he said.

“We’re someone to be heard,” said Sullivan, vice president for FSU’s student body. “In the past, we’ve definitely been overlooked.”


(c) 2002, Tallahassee Democrat (Tallahassee, Fla.).

Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.