In their bid for re-election, Mayor Bobby Hopewell and Commissioner David Anderson face the challenge of retaining Western Michigan University student involvement downtown despite the city’s financial woes.
Running in a joint campaign for re-election, most of Hopewell and Anderson’s efforts will be concentrated on battling continued expenses and falling city revenues.
Hopewell, who has been on the city commission since 2007, spoke at the Western Student Association, a non-partisan organization, about why WMU is essential to the Kalamazoo community, said Anna Salvaggio, the public relations chair at WSA.
“No matter the budget, I still think they will make an effort to be part of student’s lives,” said Salvaggio.
“He is always willing to share his appreciation for the student community.”
Hopewell and Anderson believe that keeping streets safe and maintaining parks and public spaces are crucial for attracting students to Kalamazoo’s downtown.
“I believe that we need to seek new ways for downtown Kalamazoo to provide those services,” said Anderson, who has been on the city commission since 2005.
With communication and awareness, students will realize Kalamazoo is a great place to live, said the candidates. Their goal is to have the younger generation become more involved in community events and share the city commission’s passion of making Kalamazoo a desired town to live in.
“We have to make sure that Kalamazoo is a place where young people want to stay and create their dreams,” said Anderson.
Hopewell and Anderson have dedicated their efforts to learning what will get students more involved in the community and maintain strong relationships with future career leaders. Hopewell will be working tightly with WMU student leaders and faculty over the next couple years to get students more involved.
Hopewell recently joined WMU’s efforts in the sustainability project. Hopewell is partnering with WMU over the next two years and partaking in a study on how to make the city of Kalamazoo and WMU more environmentally friendly, said Austin Hoyt, the political affairs chairman at WSA.
“He is a big supporter of a lot of student issues to make the community and the university better,” said Hoyt.
Hopewell and Anderson want to have an impact on ensuring the proper tools are accessible to students to help them engage in their own community.