April 25, 2005
Students tackle tough issues with Good Neighbor
By Louise Donahue
No one could accuse the Good Neighbor Initiative of ducking
the hard issues.
Kristen Townsend and Anthony Tucci play key roles in the
Good Neighbor Initiative
Photo: Louise Donahue
In its first full year of operation, the effort is focusing
on two of the thorniest problems in the town-gown relationship:
traffic and students living in residential areas off campus.
The initiative, begun last spring by then-Acting Chancellor
Martin M. Chemers and continued by Chancellor Denice D. Denton,
draws on an unusual partnership between student interns and
Chemers wanted students to be involved in efforts to improve
community relations and added two new students--biology junior
Kristen Townsend and Anthony Tucci, a second-year history major--to
his Chancellors Undergraduate Internship Program to play
Each intern has concentrated on one broad area, with Tucci
focused on the impact students have on residential neighborhoods,
and Townsend honing in on transportation issues and organizing
a community forum. Their efforts are coordinated by the Office
of Government and Community Relations, headed by Donna Blitzer.
Its been a great program for helping engage students
in how the campus and the city interact with one another,
said Blitzer. The student interns have put a face to the
students, and countered some of the stereotypes.
Debbie Elston, a founding member of the community group Santa
Cruz Neighbors, an umbrella group of neighbor organizations,
has nothing but praise for Tucci, who has met regularly with
the organization and other neighbor groups and researched community
issues at other UC campuses.
She said Tucci has been wonderful to deal with,
and that she is optimistic that efforts by the campus, coupled
with more enforcement by the city and police, will improve the
situation for neighbors.
I am very grateful that Chancellor Chemers got the ball
rolling. He opened doors for dialogue with the neighbors,
said Elston. I believe Chancellor Denton will continue
that. She seems very approachable and concerned.
Tucci is developing Good Neighbor Guidelines for UCSC, using
a set of campus-community guidelines from UC Riverside as a
starting point. The guidelines for students detail everything
from establishing friendly contact with nonstudent neighbors
to liability issues and key local ordinances.
The guidelines will be printed and distributed on and off campus.
Just being a student and trying to work out responsible
solutions, Ive found neighbors are very receptive to this
project, Tucci said.
In addition to working directly with neighbors groups,
Tucci will be promoting housing at the Village, UCSC Inn, and
the UCSC Town Center as an alternative for those who may not
want to live in residence halls or student apartments.
Tucci and Townsend are working together on an online survey
asking students about their housing preferences as well as transportation
issues, Townsends focus.
Areas covered in the survey include off-campus parking lots
with shuttle service to campus; the level of satisfaction with
Metro and campus shuttle service; bicycle use; and carpooling.
Townsend has been promoting the purchase of electric bicycles
as well as the use of parking at the Boardwalk and in church
lots to reduce congestion and parking problems in residential
areas. Flyers promoting both electric bikes and parking options
have been been posted throughout campus
Another project Townsend is working on is the Community Good
Neighbor Forum from 6 to 9 p.m. on May 12 at Harbor High School.
The forum will include three speakers: UCSC sociology professor
John Brown Childs; Scott Kennedy of the Resource Center for
Nonviolence; and Celia Rowland of the Santa Cruz County District
Attorneys Office. Following short presentations from each
speaker, the audience will be divided into 20-minute breakout
We really hope the campus and community will start talking,
said Townsend. The forum will be very interactive.
Email this story
Return to Front Page