Nearly 400 Georgia Southern students, faculty and staff packed the Nessmith-Lane lecture hall Tuesday evening as the Statesboro City Council held their regularly scheduled meeting on campus.
The council decided earlier this year to hold a meeting on campus with the hopes of getting the students more involved in their local government. Councilman Gary Lewis said it was great to see a full auditorium and that he was pleased by the level of student interest in the meeting.
“It shows the city has a lot of love for the students here and we know that the students have a lot of love for the city of Statesboro,” Lewis said. “It works both ways - we need them and then we show them how much we appreciate them during A Day for Southern.”
GSU President Brooks Keel said the turnout says a lot of Georgia Southern students.
“You can't ask for a better opportunity for students to understand how government work unless you can see it in person and touch it and feel it - and that's what happened here tonight,” Keel said. “Obviously some were encouraged to be here, there's no doubt about that, but I think more importantly the students care about where they live. They care about Statesboro, they care about what's going on here and they're proud to be a part of Statesboro and this county. The turnout speaks to that.”
Vincent Lanceford, an operations management senior, thought the meeting was informative.
“I thought it was informative. There are a lot of young students that got to see the city government first hand for the first time. I think there are some interesting changes going on with our own Student Government Association but the council is changing as well. Maybe they're turning over a new leaf.”
GSU Dean of Students Georj Lewis said that though the turnout was very encouraging he was even more pleased with the students' level of engagement with the agenda topics.
“They were really engaged in the conversation,” Lewis said. “I think it's good for them to get an opportunity to see how city government works and also to realize that they can be active participants as well.”
Mayor Joe Brannen said Tuesday's campus meeting was a successful trial run that could be duplicated in the future.
“We said we would come here and see how things worked - it worked well,” Brannen said. “I would think we'd want to, at a minimum, hold a meeting out here on a quarterly basis to keep the students aware of what's happening in the city and to see if we can get more students engaged and involved.”