Danielle Rivard

Equinox Staff


The office of Residential Life created a new position this semester, better yet, an available resource for current off-campus students, soon-to-be off-campus students, landlords, and the community of Keene. Allison Riley is the new Coordinator of Student and Community Relations. Riley previously worked as a part-time floater for student affairs and began her new position in January.

“I’m a contact person for people who live off campus or are getting ready to move off campus as well as a contact for the larger city of Keene community.” Riley said. “I’ve already been getting calls from parents who are concerned and looking for more information about off-campus living.”

Kent Drake-Deese, director of Residential Life and Housing, said  Riley’s position should prove to be very helpful at KSC because about 40 percent of KSC students live off campus.

In the beginning of March, Riley invited landlords who rent to KSC students as well as officer John Stewart, the Keene Police Department liaison, to a meeting which fixated around enhancing communication between KSC and landlords. Twenty-eight landlords attended the event and asked questions about campus policy, while Stewart talked about how the college and his department handle off-campus student behavior.  Riley also gave information about her position.

“The outcome of the meeting was so that the landlords are more informed about what our policies are and the college is more informed about how landlords run their operations,” Riley said.

In a conversation between Riley, Drake-Deese, and Associate Director of Residential Life Jim Carley, the idea for an off-campus student organization emerged.

“We came up with the organization because we decided that this is the direction we want to head in. We want to pay attention to what off-campus students need,” Riley said.

Drake-Deese said it was strange that such an organization didn’t already exist. “The off-campus organization is an important association to have. It’s bizarre we don’t have one already because of the number of students who live off campus and the number of issues that occur. Things can’t be addressed and voices can’t be heard without one,” Drake-Deese said.

An interest session for the off-campus organization was held Friday April 8 at 12 p.m. Although no students attended, Riley had a list of several students who are interested in taking part in the organization.

One of those students, junior Jill Murphy said the off-campus organization initially appealed to her because she felt her voice and the other off campus students voices weren’t being heard.

“I think it’s great that Allison Riley has started the off campus living student organization. It’s very necessary for the voices of those living off campus to be heard,” Murphy said.

“Over the past year, I’ve felt like the school didn’t have their off-campus students’ concerns in mind when it came to weather-related cancellations. There were more than a few instances this past winter when I drove to campus for an early morning class and nearly ran off the road due to dangerous conditions. Then, classes would be cancelled around noon. It’s one thing to have to walk from a dorm to an academic building. But when you live off campus, it is a lot harder to make it to class in winter conditions. That was my main concern,” Murphy said.

Furthermore, Riley held an off-campus living workshop last week on Friday, April 8, which 25 people attended. An attorney spoke at the workshop about lease agreements and discusses tenant rights and responsibilities, as well as how to find a place to live off campus. Stewart and Director of Campus Safety Amanda Warman talked about student behavior and three current off-campus students shared tips and answered students’ questions.

Riley modeled her workshop after an existing work shop at the University of Vermont. UVM also has a coordinator of student and community relations.

“It was a good pilot program. I hope to have another work shop in the fall and spring next year,” Riley said.


Danielle Rivard can be contacted at drivard@keeneequinox.com

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