Have a Heart helps mend a broken relationship

If you have taken a late-night shuttle downtown this year, then you may have been handed a heart-shaped chocolate and an accompanying flyer with a children’s illustration on the front.The Have a Heart Campaign is attempting to raise awareness about late-night student noise and improve the relationship between students and Burlington residents by handing out flyers and hosting meetings, Gail Shampnois, a director at the UVM Office of Student and Community Relations (OSCR), said.”While large parties are no longer that large of a problem … late-night walk-by noise is still very troubling,” Shampnois said.The Have a Heart Campaign is trying to improve the relationship and bridge the gap between the Burlington and UVM communities so that they don’t only interact when there is a problem such as noise or trash, she said.”The heart of the work is community development and creating opportunities for students and community members to work together,” Alicia Taylor, coordinator of off-campus services at OSCR, said.One opportunity to get involved is attending monthly potlucks for long-term Burlington residents and UVM students, Shampnois said.These potlucks allow community members and students to work together on shared problems, strategize toward common goals, and get to know each other on a personal level, Shampnois said.In addition to the potlucks, student volunteers are also helping to build a community garden, a student-neighbor liaison program, and a community coalition, Alicia Taylor, another director at OSCR, said.These programs allow for “a greater sense of connection” between students and the children, elderly and other residents living within the Burlington community, Shampnois said. The Have a Heart Campaign has high hopes for campus and town relations for future years, she said.”When students and neighbors come together to do meaningful work, change can happen,” she said.