New website looks to get city’s students more involved

Hey, students, you might want to listen up.

Created by students, for students, Your London Calling is here to help you settle into a comfortable, informed and involved postsecondary experience in the Forest City.

The website and its contents represent a partnership between the City of London, Western’s University Students’ Council (USC) and the Fanshawe Students’ Union. It offers postsecondary students information on settling in, getting around, getting involved, earning money, having fun and even completing a ‘bucket list’ over the next four years.

Your London Calling launched this month, in time to welcome postsecondary students to London.

“What happened, I think, was the city realized at the Town and Gown Committee that they were really not communicating with students in the best way possible,” said Jen Carter, vice-president (external) with the USC.

“The city website itself is not mobile friendly. In terms of having a centralized space for students to get information about the city – that was fairly non-existent. What came together was a need for students to be able to gather information about the city in one place, for commonly asked questions that were difficult to find the answer to before Your London Calling.”

The idea for the website came up this past spring – it went to council and was passed with a budget allocated for its development. Over the summer, an ad hoc committee came together with representatives from the city, Western and Fanshawe, working with students to determine what information would be featured on Your London Calling, Carter explained.

Everything you see on the website was done in consultation with students, she added.

“This is a start. One of the things I’ve learned as a student leader over the years is, if an idea comes up and it won’t hurt anyone, it won’t be controversial and it won’t be expensive, then it’s worth a try. I think that’s what you’re seeing here,” Carter said.

“I’m really excited for the possibility to have a centralized hub for information and I am idealistic that it can help students,” she continued.

“My experience personally – information on how to deal with a landlord is something that we really need to communicate better with students. That piece is definitely on here. Whether or not the site will actually be an effective way to change how students communicate with the city is part of a broader issue. I hope it can help.”

What she hopes to see happen, and what she expects, is an increase in traffic to the website leading up to the municipal election next month, Carter said. In fact, she hopes to see the website become a tool for greater student engagement and involvement in their community.

“The USC has a massive ‘Get Out To Vote’ initiate going on and the website is extremely timely in terms of the upcoming election. We’re really focused on trying to connect students to services the city does provide – obviously LTC (London Transit Commission) is one of the most massively used student services provided by the city – and we’re working to try and communicate that if students can band together and vote, and make transit a massive priority in the city, change can happen,” she explained.

“I understand the logic that one vote might not matter. But in this case, 33,000 do.”