Whether you are a freshman or an upperclassman at UC Irvine, you know all too well what it’s like to live in one of the best cities in the nation.
However, in spite of its apparent perfection, Irvine is less then inviting to its sizable student population. Driving through the meticulously landscaped city streets, you’ll notice that this place isn’t exactly the perfect college town with late-night hangouts or dance clubs.
That’s right, everything closes early and there isn’t really much to visit at night besides 24-hour drive-throughs.
Clearly, the goal of the Irvine Company and the City of Irvine is not to build a campus-friendly environment, but rather a family-friendly community complete with weekend picnics in the park for Irvine residents and a safe city.
Aside from the UCI decals stuck to some of the stores in the University Town Center, and the freeway signs telling drivers where to exit, perusing Irvine’s strip malls and shopping centers confirms that residents are all but oblivious to the college’s presence.
With 28,000 students, UCI should have a cultural influence over the city, but from what we have noticed outside campus, it doesn’t.
It would be nice to see a bit more recognition for one of the nation’s top public schools.
Furthermore, the City of Irvine and UCI are both developing at a rapid pace so why not recognize the growth of a major part of the city?
The problem is, when Irvine residents hear anything about students, it is almost always in the form of a negative caricature of ‘a college student.’
It’s worrisome to hear people constantly fuel stereotypes about UCI students being bad drivers or party animals disrupting Irvine’s placidity.
Yet, the City of Irvine does little to counteract these negative images by failing to showcase the many positive achievements of the UCI community.
The City of Irvine’s Public Information Office serves as a liaison between the city and various cultural, religious and social groups. They also produce content for their own cable TV channel, Irvine Community Television.
Although the New University incessantly receives news releases from the PIO, it has never come across one that mentions UCI or any of the events on our campus.
While we are not asking to be Irvine’s sole pride and joy, we are asking that the city do its part to convey the cultural and academic influence the school has on the community.
Doing so will not only increase the university’s achievements, research and otherwise, but will also strengthen the relationship between the Irvine community and students.
Whether it be through broadcasting a segment of UCI-related news on the cable station or helping publicize UCI’s achievements to the major media giants in the area, such as the OC Register and the L.A. Times, the city should do more to foster an atmosphere where students are welcome.
Although it is unlikely that Irvine will become a ‘college town’ in the way that, say, UCLA is, a little recognition would be appreciated. After all, we deserve it.
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Filed Under: Opinion