In an effort to highlight the city’s massive economic benefits from students in the community, student government will host an official “one night boycott” of Old Town tonight.
The main event will be held at the Ramskeller at 8 p.m., and activities will extend into the Lory Student Center Commons. The event is a last chance for students to write letters to City Council members and sign a petition promoting changes to the city’s occupancy ordinance 3-Unrelated.
The letters will be mailed directly to the council members’ homes.
An economic impact study done by the office of CSU President Tony Frank reported earlier this year that students spend an estimated $168 million in the community annually – an amount that creates 628 jobs, not including university positions.
Because of this impact, Director of Community Affairs for the Associated Students of CSU Courtney Sullivan said students should be taken into consideration when decisions that effect the entire population are being made.
“We are an economic force,” Sullivan said.
This demonstration is the coup-de-grace of ASCSU’s efforts to push reform before the two-year comprehensive review of U+2 that prohibits more than three unrelated people from living in the same home, she said.
Shaun Reed, the assistant director of Community Affairs, said the letter-writing will begin at 1p.m. and go until 2 a.m. and aims to add 500 letters to the current total of about 1,300 letters.
Aside from petition signing and letter-writing, attendees will play Guitar Hero and Wii Sports Center, sing karaoke or just hang out in the Ramskeller where KCSU will be DJing.
General manager of the Ramskeller Geoff Valdez said he is unsure if the bar will offer any special deals on beverages or appetizers but said he is excited about the ASCSU event and thinks it will bring more business than a typical Friday night.
“The exposure’s great, and we love being here for the students,” Valdez said.
The department’s promotion of the event on Facebook has more than 600 confirmed guests, Sullivan said, and is its best gage of how many students will attend.
She said the reason the department chose Old Town on a Friday night is not because students are a “drinking population” but because students spend a large amount of money in a short amount of time in that concentrated area of town.
“We’re trying to make a statement, not an attack on Old Town,” she said.
Nick Leibbrand, an Avogadro’s Number employee of three years, said Friday night is when the bar and restaurant is the busiest and that between the two entities the business brings in between $4,000 and $5,000. Avo’s has its regulars, and he doesn’t think it will impact the business in particular, he said.
Leibbrand said the businesses that attract the younger crowd could take the hardest hit, those being:
Washington’s Sports Bar and Grill
East Coast Bar
Stonehouse Grille, and
The Aggie Theater.
Reed said the demonstration establishes the worth of CSU students and isn’t aiming to lower rent costs in Fort Collins but to show that a specific demographic of Fort Collins is being alienated and the city is governing “modern day society with an outdated law.”
“We wouldn’t stand for that in any other situation, and just because it’s on a local level doesn’t make it right,” Reed said. “We are value to this community, we are 168 million.”
Senior Reporter Kirsten Silveira can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.