6,000 people who live in or around the
University of Minnesota's Minneapolis
campus might finally meet their
University District -- most of the
East and West Bank campuses, and
surrounding homes -- is the last
remaining unorganized neighborhood in
university alum Ron Lischeid is hoping
to change that.
years, people have overlooked the need
to organize [the University District]
into an established neighborhood,
because people kept thinking it was
just the university," Lischeid
he moved in as a student in 1966, it was
just the "U" to him. Like
many of his neighbors, he left soon
after graduation. But after having
moved in again two years ago, it's
if he and his neighbors can prove to
the city that they see a value in
organizing, the University District
would be eligible for $100,000 from
the city's Neighborhood Revitalization
would buy the University District
Improvement Organization office space
to have a community headquarters, web
space to communicate with residents
and resources to use for improvement
projects important to neighbors.
director Bob Miller said all that
neighbors have to do to prove to the
city that they want to be organized is
to elect a board of directors, have
community meetings and put together
has already done a lot of the
paperwork. He has registered the
University District as a nonprofit
organization and has compiled a set of
he needs now are neighbors to back him
-- which may take a little work.
biggest hurdle we have is that 98
percent of the people that live in the
neighborhood are age 18 to 21 with
raging hormones and classes to
attend," Lischeid said.
"It's been like herding
Gophers is more like it.
the help of Paul DeBettigens, an alum
of Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity with
strong roots in student life, Lischeid
is hoping to dig up some support.
to Lischied, 95 percent of the
residents live in student housing:
5,560 in residence halls and
apartments, and 400 in fraternity
houses. The area also includes part of
the Stadium Village business district
and a sliver of Dinkytown.
most of the students are gone for the
summer, DeBettigens and Lischeid are
trying to rally support from liaisons
in the residence halls and fraternity
houses to reach out to students when
classes start in September.
pitch the organized neighborhood as an
opportunity for civics and political
science majors to get community
experience, for students to hook up
with nonprofit organizations for
volunteering opportunities and as a
forum for students to voice their
issues to City Council officials who
would attend the meetings.
would be an opportunity for Greek
students to work alongside non-Greeks
and the Stadium Village Business
Association toward shared goals.
not about the dollars,"
DeBettigens said. "It's about
what the neighborhood can do."
the self-proclaimed oldest resident of
the University District at 57,
Lischeid says the fact that students
are mostly concentrated in dorms and
Greek houses may make it easier to
reach them in the fall and to gain
enough momentum to get organized.
of the young residents are hooked up
to the Internet, and the fact that
they all have high school diplomas and
are working toward a college degree
makes the University District one of
the most educated neighborhoods in
will they be able to organize?
already done most of the difficult
things," Miller said.
"They're halfway there."