While most University students spend four or more years living in Ann Arbor, Susana Jara, an LSA junior originally from Ecuador, said there”s another side to the city that students rarely get to see.
“When the students are here, there are lots of activities, but when students are gone you see little things the nature, the buildings,” Jara said.
Jara said Ann Arbor is a city which accommodates University life well.
“It”s a nice little city,” Jara said. “It”s starting to get warmer so you can walk around and absorb things.”
The city, with a population of more than 100,000, is also the temporary home of 35,000 students who live and study in Ann Arbor throughout the year.
Jim Kosteva, the University”s director of community relations, said the city and the University have a mutually beneficial relationship when it comes to the student body.
“There is no question that there is a relationship between the quality of life of the community (and the University) it brings quality faculty and students to the University,” Kosteva said. “And the atmosphere of the University makes a contribution to the quality of life in Ann Arbor.”
Ann Arbor ranked 52th on Morgan Qunito”s 2000 list of the safest cities which is compiled from FBI reports. This is up from 74th in 1999, yet lower than the 11th place ranking it received in 1996.
Ann Arbor Police Sgt. Michael Logghe said the city of Ann Arbor ranks low in violent crimes, a little higher in property crimes, and overall is “a very safe city to live in.”
Logghe said a contributing factor is the community policing efforts.
“People assist us in the reporting of crimes and there is a perception of safety that comes from the officers in the neighborhoods,” Logghe said.
Logghe added that though the University “adds to the vitality” of the city, it lures a high number of larcenies.
“Any time you have a University, you are going to have a lot of undesirables that prey on students,” Logghe said. “Students usually have things such as TVs, stereos … and are not as safety conscious.”
Elwood J. Holman, president of the Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce, said the University students contribute to the success of the city.
“When you have a major university with the stature of Michigan, it helps to create a citizenry that is active and very involved in the community,” Holman said.
He added that between the University and the city there are more than 450 groups that deal with social issues or the arts, and another 400 nonprofit groups.
“We”ve got close to 900 groups that aren”t for profit,” Holman said. “There are a staggering number of people in Ann Arbor that are extremely concerned in expressing their views it attracts the type of people who want to be active and involved.”
Holman added that the city offers a number of jobs for students.
Ingrid Sheldon, who was mayor of Ann Arbor from 1993 until last November, said when the University came to Ann Arbor in 1837 it was the economic engine for the city but has since “taken on its own personality.”
“If the University didn”t have a community that valued such things as the environment and natural spaces, it wouldn”t be as attractive,” Sheldon said. “We have a wonderful population that is continually challenging itself.”
Rajiv Haque, an engineering freshman, said Ann Arbor has been a good place to study but sees the relaxing everyday atmosphere of the city becoming routine.
“People sometimes get tired of the same old thing all the time which may happen to me, but I like it so far,” he said.