Collaboration is defined as the action of working with someone to produce or create something. Weber State University is collaborating with Ogden, and they discovered the several mutualistic benefits they get from working together.
“We need to get Weber State off-campus,” said Mike Caldwell, Ogden’s mayor. “We’ve worked as kind of islands with Weber State up there and us down here, and we’ve been independent and doing our own things. We haven’t really made a good effort or push to get ourselves together.”
The WSU Student Association has a year of collaborations planned.
“A lot of us ran on the platform of more community involvement — at least I did,” said Andrew Gardiner, student body president. “I was super passionate about it. If we get the cities and counties involved in what we are doing, we are going to have more resources and more people involved with WSU.”
Collaborations between WSU and the surrounding community have already been put into action. Previously this summer, they put together Damian Day. Hundreds of students, alumni and community members attended. The gathering was to celebrate former WSU point guard Damain Lillard’s NBA draft announcement.
“With that (collaboration), Ogden City will get more pride in our athletics and what they’re missing if they don’t go to the games,” Gardiner said. “With Damian Day, we saw a lot of people regretting they never saw Damian play.”
Events like Damian Day are intended to provide excitement for Ogden and a better environment for its citizens.
“People take pride to live in Ogden in ways we haven’t seen in a long time,” Caldwell said. “We have a unique experience in Ogden we couldn’t duplicate. We have a small community in Ogden, and we see friends and family around, and people don’t get marginalized.”
Jerry Bovee, WSU’s athletic director, said they want to help encourage the pride citizens of Ogden have to live here.
“We want to provide excitement for Ogden,” Bovee said. “That is what the mayor and city council is trying to do. They want to create a better environment for citizens to live. We want to be a part of that discussion, and we feel responsible to do our part.”
Students volunteering in the community can be beneficial to both parties as well.
“People want to get involved, and volunteering is a great way to do that,” Caldwell said. “I really recognize that it’s the people that are getting out there. All the groundwork and passion are from the people in the community.”
Caldwell also said he got into his career path by serving the community and showing up with a good attitude.
“Things really start to build quickly, and people start to get involved in their community and do great things in it,” Caldwell said. “Volunteering is a real key way to do that. I still have that excitement and enthusiasm, but I also recognize it’s the people out there that get much of this done.”
Gardiner agreed that one of the main benefits the community will get from collaboration with the university is the pride of its citizens and an economic growth.
“You can’t do what a college should do without collaborating with the city,” Gardiner said. “It goes again in relationship with students getting more pride in the city and spend more money there, and that helps economic growth. In time, students are going to want to live in Ogden.”
There was a time when Utah wanted to give Weber College back to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Ogden Chamber of Commerce and other community groups overturned that act and kept it as an institution, said Bruce Davis, vice provost of the Davis campus.
“It’s a very critical relationship that the university has always had with the community,” Davis said. “They’ve been there for us all the time. When we needed four-year status back in the 1950s or when we went to university status in 1991, it was the community, the community leaders, the Chambers of Commerce that really helped make that happen.”
Davis said collaborations are critical because of the strength each party receives from the other.
“It’s critical for us because we help strengthen them, and they help strengthen us,” he said. “It’s very symbiotic.”
Bovee said collaborations help both parties get their stories out.
“I think that, from our standpoint, being able to interact with the community is good,” he said. “It helps both of us get a conduit to tell our story.”