Building bridges as Student Wardens expand into city
Monday 28 November 2016
Student Wardens will do more to build bridges between Coventry University and city residents as a volunteer scheme is rolled out permanently across the community.
The university’s Students’ Union has extended its community Wardens programme to help prevent potential tensions and encourage young people get more out of the city where they live and study.
The scheme is led by volunteers who patrol and talk to residents about concerns over bin collections, litter and anti-social behaviour, and push campaigns such as clothing collections for homeless charity, Cyrenians.
Launched as a pilot project in January to focus on the busy student areas of Hillfields and Gosford - the Wardens are now a permanent fixture of the university and will extend further into the city in the coming weeks.
The team will also look to working with the city council and police, and recruit new Hall Wardens to take the same role into university accommodation and surrounding streets.
Nicholas Widdowson, Student Warden, said:
We do a lot, from talking about rubbish and graffiti to running campaigns to educate students. It’s a pioneering scheme but it is growing and wherever we can help we do.
“The most common complaints we hear are over bins or rubbish collections. Often it is very small things that bother people the most and our aim is to stop these small problems getting out of control.
“A lot of people think all young people are students and all students are bad, and that isn’t the case. Hopefully what we do will have a big impact to change that perception.”
Cheryl Kwan Yee Chan, vice president for welfare and community at CUSU said:
The idea is to get out in the community to ease tensions and help improve relations between students and residents, and reduce needless anti-social behaviour which can often be the cause of these problems.
“Some residents simply do not want to talk to us but we are trying to sort through those issues and encourage people to help us make the city a better place for us all.”
Josie Llewelyn, a city resident working with the Wardens said:
The Student Wardens scheme shows that the university is serious in trying to change perceptions by coming out into the community and listening more to what people are saying in order to address any concerns and potential difficulties.
“It is a positive step for areas of the city with a big student population but we must realise this is a two way process and we all have to work together.”
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