USF to host town hall with Mayor Bob Buckhorn

Students will have an opportunity to bring concerns directly to Tampa mayor, Bob Buckhorn, today.

Buckhorn will appear at the Marshall Student Center Oval Theatre tonight at 7 as part of Tampa Tomorrow – a town hall forum where students and other attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and interact with the mayor.

According to a press release, topics will include Tampa’s economic development, affordable housing, community safety and job opportunities for university graduates. Vice President of Student Affairs Jennifer Meningall will be in attendance to answer USF-related questions.

Student Government (SG), which organized the event, collected potential questions from students via Twitter and Facebook

However, SG Committee on Community and Government Affairs Chairman Abdool Aziz said attendees who do not submit their questions prior to the forum can still be heard.

“You write down your questions and pass them to the aisle, and (SG) Street Team members will give it to the moderator, and the moderator will read it out to the mayor and Dr. Meningall,” he said.

Aziz said entry to the event is free and open to the general public. The forum will last an hour, with a short introduction followed by about 40 minutes of questions and answers. A reception outside the Oval Theater will follow with snacks and refreshments and the opportunity for a meet-and-greet with the mayor, if his schedule permits.

“The overall goal is to get the USF student body engaged in local government and to understand that we may not all be born and raised in Tampa, but we do contribute,” Aziz said. “We buy stuff here, we work here, we drive here – our decisions, our opinion does count when it comes to the decision making here in the city of Tampa.”

Any USF student who submits a question to the mayor on SG’s Tampa Tomorrow Facebook page at or on Twitter at #TampaTomorrow prior to the event will receive a free shirt. As of Sunday night, about 30 questions had been asked on Facebook.

Susan MacManus, a political science professor, said she looks forward to moderating the event.

“It’s important for students to realize government is not some remote entity and mayors are real people,” she said. “This mayor, of course, is really interested in USF.”

MacManus said she is interested to hear what job and internship opportunities the mayor can call student attention to and predicted students will be particularly interested in opportunities related to the 2012 Republican National Convention, coming to Tampa in August 2012.

“I’m sure students will be interested to know what kinds of jobs will be available for the national convention in town in August next year,” she said. “Regardless that it’s a Republican convention, there will be media from all over the country and lots of interest groups and businesses who will obviously want to hire USF students, again, regardless of their party affiliation.”