Riverside pushes for college representation

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The College Council of Riverside plans to make Riverside a true college city through unification and change.

CCOR is comprised of selected students from California Baptist University, La Sierra University, Riverside Community College and University of California, Riverside.

CBU students William Byers, Dawson Young and Sarah Trout are members of the council and representatives for CBU.

CCOR was formed by the Mayor’s Office. Their mission is to promote Riverside as a community of colleges and universities, enhance student affinity and engagement, foster economic development through cross-campus collaboration and build on opportunities as knowledge capital, including the creation of a highly skilled workforce and creative community.

Their biggest goal is to make Riverside a college city and make it a place where people will want to build their families, careers and lives.

According to Trout, between August and May, there are 60,000 college students within Riverside that come every year and only a small percentage of them stay in Riverside to start their careers and post-graduation work.

“Our job is to find out what students want and what the city can do to keep students here,” Byers said. “Whether that is providing internships, more jobs, helping businesses connect with students and making it more safe and fun. The city wants to know the students’ voice and that is our job to find out.”

Since this is the council’s first year of operation, a survey is in the works to be made. The survey will help them find out the students’ wants and needs before they can accomplish anything. Their hope is to conduct a trial run at CBU.

“This is a chance for what they want to get done,” Byers said. “If you tell us, then it will get done. The survey will only take about a minute to fill out and it is simple. Just spending two minutes to fill it out can make a big difference.”

Byers and Trout explained that there are things the city can do that colleges and universities cannot necessarily do due to funding. The city has a lot more resources and leverage when it comes to getting something done for things that are community driven.

If the students want something and there is an overwhelming majority, then the city can make that happen. If the city sees that as a viable option to keep students around, they have the resources to do so.

“For example, there are internet hot spots throughout the city and you can get free internet,” Trout said. “That is something that they have done in order to aid college students because Riverside is a college town. If students see a need like that, we want to know what their opinions and ideas are because we have the ability to do that.”

Their other goal is to increase cross-campus collaboration.

“We also want to unite all of the colleges,” Trout said. “When La Sierra has an event, we want CBU students to be able to attend. If we have an event, we want RCC and UCR students to come.

We want to connect the colleges within Riverside so that they are not doing community college work and then leaving. They are just being transferred right into a Riverside college. That is one of our biggest goals.”

Currently, the council is developing a website and a Facebook page where students can find information about club meetings, how the council members are affecting change and events throughout the Riverside campuses.