By Adam Duberstein
I love our community. The City of Orange is filled with great running, biking and horse trails, and a robust public library and parks system. Families, working professionals and retirees add to our community, as do young adults exploring their educational endeavors at a top university. Our wonderful destination Old Towne maintains its charm and character through the hard work of community members, and such organizations as Old Towne Preservation Association (OTPA).
Orange is a place where people really care about one another; where relationships are criss-crossed and interwoven; and where there is a commitment to a set of shared values, history and identity.
These are some of the reasons I, along with other homeowners, business owners and community members, founded "Respect Orange." Respect Orange was born out of the conflict between Orange residents and the negative impacts of Chapman University. We knew something had to be done to respect one another and build bridges between the community and Chapman students to maintain the sense of cohesive-ness we have come to expect in Orange. We wanted to reach out and welcome students into our community, and to provide the tools and encouragement needed, so the students can succeed out-side of the classroom. Respect Orange wants to bring everyone together to continue to make our city great.
Respect Orange believes in respecting our community through:
It’s now the time when Chapman University students arrive back in Orange to continue their studies. Respect Orange encourages the community to welcome students, and to get to know them. Respect Orange has created a “Welcome to the Neighborhood” flyer that provides students living off campus with helpful hints that are often needed when integrating into a family neighborhood, such as the trash and street sweeping days. Respect Orange has been working with Chapman and it offered to mail the flyer to students living off-campus.
Respect Orange, which has Chapman student advisors, is looking forward to continuing to meet with, and listen to, students who represent different organizations on campus, discussing how we can better our community and build bridges together. Respect Orange communicates on a regular basis with students, and was invited, this past spring, to participate in an open discussion with a variety of organizations, such as SGA, athletics and Greek life. We anticipate participating, engaging and listening more, once students are back on campus.
It was interesting to hear students’ opinions on community is-sues, especially on the expansion plans. Many students felt as if their voices are not heard, or do not matter, to Chapman decision makers. These same students want “quality over quantity,” and believe that Chapman University has outsourced social life to Greek organizations, and student housing to the community. They do not think this is fair. Respect Orange agrees, and supports students who want more activities and living opportunities on campus. Between Respect Orange and OTPA, more than 600 households in Old Towne Orange, which has an estimated 1,400 homes, are represented. With incoming President Daniele Struppa announcing he wants to add 2,000 to 3,000 students to the university population, Respect Orange questions how Chapman University can expand while continuing to maintain the character, small-town charm, and sense-of-family community that has come to define our city. If you would like to find out more about Respect Orange or get involved, visit RespectOrange.org.
Adam Duberstein is an Old Towne resident and a co-founder of Respect Orange.