The Oxford Pathways Commission wants to include student input in its board’s decision-making process for the first time.
“[Including students] would help us to see needs that people who are newer to the community would be able to see,” Commission Chair Kate Kellum said.
The pathways commission works with the Oxford Board of Aldermen to increase facilities and safety for citizens who commute without using cars.
Members of the pathways commission said they hope to receive permission from the Oxford Board of Aldermen to begin considering applicants for student positions by the Aldermen’s next meeting, this upcoming Tuesday.
Kellum said the commission wants to include one high school student and one college student. As a representative, they would provide unique perspectives on how to improve nontraditional forms of transit such as cyclists.
To apply for the position, the commission is asking applicants to send a resume and a letter of intent to Oxford Mayor Pat Patterson explaining why they want to be on the commission.
Bret Beauchamp, the newest member of the Pathways Commission, said getting from place to place in Oxford needs to become safer for both drivers and non-drivers.
As Ole Miss continues to grow, the need to improve the safety of walking and biking paths around the city grows as well, Beauchamp said.
“We are looking to make this a bike and walk-friendly town because a large part (of Ole Miss students) are commuters,” Beauchamp said. “With students in the commission, we will be able to hear from people who have been driving here forever, and people who are new as well.”
Beauchamp, along with Kellum, agreed the opportunity to get involved in local government would benefit the students as well because the two groups are neighbors.
For one student, interning in Oxford’s government has been a learning experience.
Senior psychology and Spanish major Collins Mounger began her internship at the mayor’s office her freshman year. The internship led her to the job of executive assistant to the mayor, which is her current title.
Mounger said she has acquired many valuable skills and experiences through this job including developing a good work ethic, learning more about local government and experiencing how much everyone cares for Oxford.
“Get to know the older people in your community because in a small town like Oxford, everyone has a stake in everything,” said Mounger. “My best advice is to have a willingness to be involved.”