Borough ABCs The Perfect Opportunity To Provide Student Perspective

Elissa Hill

It doesn’t always feel like students have a true voice in the State College Borough, though town and gown relations seem to have improved under Mayor Don Hahn’s administration.

The only student to run for Borough Council in recent memory, Rylie Cooper, lost in the 2017 primaries. Winning an election is no easy task, after all.

But that’s where State College’s ABCs — associations, boards, and commissions — come in. From the Design Review Board to the Planning Commission, these groups are where a lot of the decisions affecting State College are truly made. And they have openings for membership.

“In addition to being a great opportunity to see how local government works, it is a great way for you to get your voices heard,” State College Mayor Don Hahn said. “As students, you will be able to present a fresh perspective to these commissions.”

The following ABCs have openings for this year:

  • Community Development Block Grant Citizen’s Advisory Committee (CDBG CAC)
  • Design Review Board
  • Planning Commission
  • Real Estate Advisory Committee
  • Rental Housing Revocation Appeal Board
  • Zoning Hearing Board

While term periods are different for each ABC, the Borough is generally flexible to allow students to sit on them even if they anticipate graduating before their term would officially be up. (Seniors, though, may be out of luck.) Many of the groups only meet monthly, so the time commitment shouldn’t be too much of a strain on your schedule.

“The Authorities, Boards, and Commissions help shape our community to better our day to day lives. As students in this community, our voices should be heard and we need a seat at the table,” student Borough Council liaison Tom Dougherty said. “Too many decisions have been made on ABCs without a student’s voice being heard. The time commitment is not demanding and you can gain great experiences while working on them.”

You can see a full list of vacancies online here and fill out the application to serve on an ABC online here.

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About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa was the managing editor of Onward State from 2017-2019. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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