Website approach positive

Six Queen’s students launched the website saveourghetto.com on Monday, aimed at highlighting students’ contributions to the Kingston community.

The site will work with student and Kingston groups to discuss students’ community efforts and highlight opportunities for students to get involved.

Joanna Pleta, one of the six creators, said the site aims to improve Queen’s reputation to outsiders. The students said they want the site to eventually become the face of the student body.

But if saveourghetto.com wants to become the face of the student body, it needs to rely heavily on student input. Student groups should, as encouraged by the creators, sign up for free space on the site.

It’s also important for the site to recognize that some students continue to misbehave and financial and other charitable contributions don’t excuse their actions.

Arguments in the past have falsely relied on students’ economic boost to the city as a means of justifying their rowdy behaviour.

But, by focusing on instances where students collaborate with the community to perform charitable efforts, the site has the potential to create a more positive, less confrontational discussion between Queen’s students and the larger community.

The site managers need to focus on making the site inclusive and sustainable. If the creators want the site to succeed in the long term, they need to plan for its viability after they graduate.

There may need to be discussion on handing over partial responsibility to a larger body for oversight and accountability, to ensure that the site is fulfilling its mandate.

The name Save Our Ghetto suggests the site’s looking at ways to improve the student living area, but the site content appears to focus predominantly on volunteer activities.

Because the site portrays students as Kingston community members, it should also address student housing concerns and ways to improve the neighbourhood.

The site’s grassroots approach may encourage more student involvement.

The site sends an important message to the University that students think it’s time to look seriously for solutions to town-gown issues.

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