More school cooperation
Agreed A2...I think that the town and the university are more reliant on each other than either would like to to admit.
That being said, when I moved here for graduate school 3 1/2 years ago, I did start to notice a very real "ivory tower" perception of the university from the rest of SM citizens. I know that the TSU administrators are not guilt free when considering the source of this disgruntlement. This general view may be part of the reason that the high school has such poor graduation and continuation to college rates. Usually in towns with universities, you get the exact opposite. Based on my experience, people in college towns generally grow up expecting to go to college because it just seems like the natural next step.
I love the Bobcat Build program and think that is a valuable step in the right direction. I can think of so many more things, though. For example, in the city in Kansas where I got my first degree, my department (Biology) jumped at the opportunity to cooperate with the middle school teachers to have a fun science field day for 7th and 8th graders. It was first organized when I was a junior and still, every spring, the middle school students are bussed out to a plot of tallgrass prairie land that is owned and managed by the university biology department for one day. Professors, grad students, and undergrads volunteer their time to set up and lead different science-related stations (e.g. GPS, animal track casts, physics rockets and sound waves, etc) that the students visit in groups throughout the day. The students have a blast and are reportedly left with an improved interest in science. This also leads to friendly relations between the community and university because parents and kids appreciate the attention and opportunities. I could totally see something like this working here with the River and Aquarena Center biology faculty and students. Also, my old university regularly invited grade schoolers to come to campus for various activities (e.g. library "fun" days, plays, planetarium shows, museum viewings, etc.). I think this type of interplay is essential to building a solid, amiable relationship between the community and university.
Here's to hoping the university can start engaging the town...