SGA held a Town Hall meeting Thursday night that featured Town of Elon Board of Alderman member Emily Sharpe and Assistant Town Manager Pam Graham. The Town Hall centered on the relationship between Elon University students and town residents and was moderated by Elon News Network politics editor Maggie Brown.
Both public officers expressed interest in students engaging with town officials and hearing their input on issues. Graham addressed student concern about being represented in town government, assuring students that they are a part of the Town of Elon as well.
“There’s always a student body and — yes it’s a sizable proportion of our population — so I certainly don’t think things are ignored,” said Graham.
The public comment period of town meetings is just one way these officials want students to interact with the government of the Town of Elon to address the concerns that they have.
“Instead of signing a petition you could come and share anything on your mind,” Sharpe said in regards to a student-formed petition against the noise ordinance.
As the university continues to expand and the town develops, Graham and Sharpe want the relationship between students and other residents to improve. New businesses, cooperative spaces for all residents and biking paths were brought up at the Town Hall.
With the shooting and burglary that took place in the town of Elon on Wednesday morning, safety was one topic that students addressed in the Town Hall. Graham suggests communicating with Town of Elon Chief of Police Kelly Blackwelder and the Town of Elon police department about safety concerns.
Junior and senator Katherine Klinger, who brought up safety between students, other town residents and the surrounding population outside of Elon, found the Town Hall to be a productive meeting between students and town officials.
“The town of Elon representatives — as I at least expected them to be — were very open, receptive and definitely value the voices of the students,” Klinger said.
Klinger suggested that other students should address town officials with the concerns they have.
“Students have complaints so make them heard because these people were willing to listen,” she said.