A response to 'The Best Neighbours On Campus award launches'
While the idea of rewarding students for good behaviour in popular Newcastle suburbs may sound like a very wholesome and positive concept for everyone involved, in reality how practical and effective is this campaign going to be?
The university keeps continually advocating the advantages of this scheme, its logistics and practicalities seem to have been somewhat neglected.
Will local households care about nominating students for an award with no actual benefit for themselves?
Newcastle University’s representative states that non-student households will be made aware of the campaign through the distribution of leaflets and information of the city council’s Facebook page.
But is there a limit to how successful this distribution can actually be? Even if residents do manage to be made aware of this campaign, will local households really care about nominating students for an award with no actual benefit for themselves?
Also due to the nature of the award relying on nominations built on personally subjective opinion, it could be vulnerable to exploitation or manipulation, with neighbours pressured or asked to nominate households for the scheme or nominating based solely upon individual bias rather than community.
The scheme may create an unhealthy power dynamic, putting neighbours in a position of judgement and superiority over surrounding students.
The campaign doesn’t seem to specifically state how the distinction is drawn between students and ‘permanent residents’.
Do students from other universities like Northumbria University count as residents? Do non-student tenants living in a rented accommodation not?
And if other students are classed as residents from the perspective of the campaign, there could be the opportunity for bias, as peers in the area simply nominate friends in for the award without cause.
It seems unrealistic that busy residents will have time or event care about giving students a ‘pat on the back’ for not keeping them awake
And while the initiative aims to improve the relationship between students and permanent residents, it could also be argued that the scheme may possibly create an unhealthy power dynamic, putting neighbours in a position of judgement and superiority over surrounding students.
It seems unrealistic that busy local residents will have time or even care about giving students a ‘pat on the back’ for not keeping them awake till 4 am or putting their litter out properly.
Or that busy students will put lots of effort into community project in the name of a slim chance of being nominated for an award that their neighbours may or may not have heard about.
While this initiative may be a very nice idea, and looks great on paper for the university and their attempts to combat student disruption in local areas, its ability to actually have a serious impact on the inevitably terse relationship between students and locals is ultimately questionable, and remains to be seen.