News / London

Western University students out to be good neighbours

Many Londoners have students as neighbours, and those students are trying to be the best neighbours they can.

That was the message from Western’s University Students’ Council president Pat Whelan as he explained the ongoing Good Neighbour Campaign.

The idea is to show the value of students to London, and one of the first steps was to mobilize teams to clean up the streets after last weekend’s homecoming celebrations.

“It was just a way to put a dent in some of the mess that was caused by homecoming,” said Whelan. “It was part of a broader strategy that we call the Good Neighbour Campaign.

“It was one way of building relationships with the community and giving students a warm introduction to the city.”

He continued: “It’s designed mostly in response to some behaviour by students that has upset London community members and in response to (the police department’s) Project LEARN.

“Our approach is to have to be more proactive in the community. The goal of the Good Neighbour Campaign is to provide more education for the community that shows students have every right to be here, just like any other London citizens.”

Last weekend’s arm of the good neighbour campaign came as national headlines captured Western students butting heads with city officials.

Cheerleaders were slapped with a $140 ticket on Saturday as students took over Boughdale Avenue — a street near campus — during a homecoming party, which police said was spiraling out of control.

The ticket, one of 270 doled out that day, was written because an impromptu performance by the cheerleaders hindered officers’ ability to clear the street, police said.

Many people, including cheer coach David-Lee Tracey, were outraged, but police have said the ticket will stand.

Being a good neighbour

— Amir Eftekartour, vice-president of external relations for Western University’s University Students’ Council, said more cleanups are planned, including one after celebrations on St Patrick’s Day.

— There are also plans to visit schools and encourage students to go on to university or college.

— Every new student at Western this year received a book called London Calling, containing a welcome from Mayor Joe Fontana and information about London and, importantly, its bylaws.

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