Sep. 20—By Kavya Kannan
Editor's Note: Kavya Kannan is a senior at CU Boulder and is currently serving as one of CU's student body presidents. She was given the opportunity to testify in one of City Council's listening sessions as well as the public open hearing this past month with regards to CU South. The Daily Camera wanted to share her testimony.
When considering the state of Boulder today, there is a large discrepancy between the students, faculty and staff that can comfortably afford to live here and those that are forced to live here uncomfortably to spare themselves of long-distance commutes across the state.
This divide, though accounted for by a multitude of factors, is partly fueled by the housing crisis faced by our Boulder community members.
Many students, faculty and staff are left no other option that to pay exorbitant rent prices in order to engage with the incredible academics and opportunities offered by CU Boulder. As one of CU Boulder's student body presidents, I have personally seen and experienced first hand the stress that settles into students who are unable to find affordable housing in this area and must jeopardize their academic success to find employment opportunities that will help cover their rent.
However, community members should not be forced to give up on the school of their dreams simply because there are no affordable housing options. It is up to Boulder, as a city and a community, to acknowledge and respond to these very needs. This starts with making more affordable housing options.
The CU Boulder South annexation agreement has tangible impacts on affordable housing, which must be heavily considered when making the decision to support it. Annexing CU South hinges on the idea of accessibility and affordability for many of our students, faculty and staff that create the community we have at CU Boulder today. It is not a surprise to many that affordable housing options in Boulder are scarce, but what is alarming is that numerous prospective students and other community members are continuing to decide not to attend CU Boulder for the sole reason that housing is too expensive in this area. Simply put, students, faculty and staff do not just want more affordable housing options — they need them. CU desires creating a more diverse student body while maintaining its prestige through attracting Nobel-winning faculty and staff, however none of this is possible without listening to these very constituents who are saying that they cannot afford to live close to campus.
CU Boulder South also addresses one of the most pressing problems we have in society today — climate change. Our world is in a climate emergency. Transportation is the leading source of CO2 emissions in Colorado and represents nearly one-third of all emissions within our state. When considering how many CU faculty, staff and students commute into Boulder daily because they can't afford to live here, or there's not enough supply on the market to accommodate their family, that adds up to a lot of unnecessary carbon emissions. Building more CU housing closer to campus is one of the most effective ways to combat climate change and reduce CO2 emissions from vehicles while supporting our community members.
CU Boulder South represents the single biggest commitment to housing for students, faculty, and staff in a generation. It is important that we support this initiative to show all of our community members that we want them here and also because it is consistent with our city's efforts to further sustainable practices. Thank you all for your time and consideration today.
Kavya Kannan is a CU Student Affairs Student Body President.