On April 6, the AMS will host its second annual Community Development Summit.
An AMS press release said the Summit aims to evaluate the University District Safety Initiative (UDSI). Key goals will also include developing a better understanding of the issues surrounding the UDSI, committing to addressing binge-drinking culture, and assessing the current state of student-community relations.
Through this event, the AMS hopes to evaluate the issue of large unsanctioned street parties.
“The UDSI is an unprecedent[ed] approach to addressing the issue of safety arising from large unsanctioned street parties,” Søren Christianson, the AMS commissioner of municipal affairs, wrote in an email to The Journal. “Considering that many Queen’s students may be affected, it seemed appropriate as student advocates to help lead the discussion surrounding this initiative.”
The event will bring together key stakeholders including Mayor of Kingston Bryan Paterson and representatives from Queen’s, KFL&A Public Health, Frontenac Paramedics, Kingston Police, and By-Law Enforcement.
These stakeholders will come together in a structured panel discussion which will look at what’s currently being done, and how different members of the community can work together to better address the issues associated with Queen’s drinking culture.
“We also hope to ensure a foundation for the ongoing evaluation of this initiative,” Christianson said. “This will include quantitative measures, to monitor the issue going forward.”
The AMS seeks to lead future data-driven evaluations of the UDSI. Christianson added the Society has made considerable and sustained efforts to contribute to the Kingston community through outreach programs, student accommodation programs, and joint efforts with the City.
“We are members of this community, and we feel responsible for ensuring ongoing and harmonious relationships with all of those in our community,” Christianson said.
The AMS hopes to ensure that safety is upheld and students feel welcome in the Queen’s and Kingston community.
The Summit will also feature Mark Gerretsen, Member of Parliaments for Kingston & the Islands, as keynote speaker. Gerretsen will provide historical context to the discussion surrounding the ongoing town-gown issues. His experience as a former Mayor, Christianson said, is an asset.
The Summit will incorporate data from the University District Survey, which was completed by students in February and spoke to the UDSI.
Students and other interested parties can register for the event online.
“Student participation in this evaluation is key,” Christianson said. “Having students attend and take part in these conversations is critical to forging strong relations in our community.”
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