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Marcy Homes Neighborhood

I am apart of a Fraternity that lives in the Marcy Homes Neighborhood. Over the past five years or so one of our graduates, Mark, has been fighting for our house and other students in the area trying to change ordinances and local policy. The reason he has been doing this is because the members of the Marcy Homes Council hold monthly meetings to discuss and vote on policies and ordinances that affect the Neighborhood more importantly benefiting themselves and family owned houses, while trying to reduce student living in the area. The reason they get away with doing this is because there is no representation by students living in the area. The number one reason for this lack of representation is that no students vote in the area or even send delgates to be on the board. Therefore, Mark goes around giving speeches for our house and other student groups to make people aware.

The reason I thought about this was that all the years Mark has been fighting these issues I myself never took it seriously. As we have been reading Bowling Alone and going over those statistics on politics and democracy, made me realize that these problematic issues Putnam raises such as the declijne in voting. In which, he showed that the U.S. ranked 23 out 24 democracies. is really happening especially on the local level. I guess my question to you would be is it possible to make a change and hit these issues head on? If all one has to do is vote yes or no on a local policy which would take less than 10 min to accomplish. Then why such a decline? What are the major factors associated with this? Lastly, If these policies directly affect the students in the area to which it could affect student houseing or make houseing harder to come by why still no action over at least the 5 years I have been living here?


This is a great case and offers a nice contrast to the point Amelia made in class on Tuesday: in some ways being involved is easier while in college (the proliferation of campus organizations, etc.), but for other types of participation, like those you point to here, it's harder. Neighborhood residents generally don't like students moving into a neighborhood for many reasons (noise, property values, lack of student involvement in the community, etc.), and students tend not to be involved for good reasons (they're not long-term residents, they're mostly renting and not home-owners, their "community" is the U and other students and student organizations, not their neighborhood. This is a really good example of how this can lead to conflict between two groups.