At BYU, the slogan is, “The world is our campus,” but there is a running joke amongst certain Provo residents that, in reality, the saying should be “the campus is our world.”
According to BYU’s enrollment numbers, there are currently 29,672 students enrolled in daytime classes as of 2014.. Many, like Provo resident Mykle Law, wonder if it’s realistic to integrate the greater student body into the Provo community.
“BYU is basically too big to manage much in the way of cultural integration– the students have connections to family, or they have connections to friends’ families in the area,” Law said. “Such connections often trump neighborhood connections, more distant community connections, and even ward connections, especially in married student wards and the like.”
Although certainly not the case for everyone, many students don’t take full advantage of what Provo has to offer them and instead rely on the campus and their own wards for entertainment.
“As a BYU student and Provo resident, I think my favorite thing about the city was living within walking distance of such a vibrant and unique downtown,” James Francis said. “I’m in Orem now, and I can’t walk anywhere without taking forever.”
Provo City officials and residents have worked really hard to develop downtown Provo as a central hub for entertainment, food and commerce. Many community members have pushed to make Provo more easily accessible through projects such as the lite-rail project known as BRT.
If you’re interested in learning about what is going on in downtown Provo, a great starting resources is DowntownProvo.org.
There you’ll find a list of various events offered each and every week in the city.
There are also a multitude of music venues offering a variety of musical genres.
If the arts don’t interest you, there a wide variety of outdoor activities as well.
Provo has a massive number of parks which can be used for a variety of outdoor events.
Of course, it’s impossible to talk about outdoor activities in Provo without mentioning the mountains.
Many students may want more than just a fun time out of their years living here in Provo.
If that’s the case, maybe you would find more satisfaction pursuing community service in Provo.
Community Action Services and Food Bank, Food and Care Coalition, The Center for Women and Children in Crisis and many other organizations could benerfit from extra helping hands as they try to lift up those in need locally.
Many residents suggest that students who plan on staying in Provo for any length of time should involve themselves in local politics to better understand what is going on in the city.
“First of all, follow what is being discussed on Facebook, attend city council once in a while, know who the candidates are in city elections, be able to talk intelligently about the pros and cons of polices currently being looked at by the city and the long term residents,” Provo resident Alex Grover said.
There are series of boards and city committees that Provo residents can join. Even if you don’t want to take on a board membership, you could still attend meetings and volunteer your services when reasonable.
According to recent census data, Provo has a population of 114,801. Even if just a fraction of BYU’s 30,000 students became politically involved, it would have a massive impact on local politics.
The only warning some residents had to students joining Provo’s political community is that they can be taken advantage of if they do not research the various cause thoroughly.
“Students, singles, short-term residents, what ever you want to call them, are enormously important to this community,” Provo activist Melanie McCoard said. “But their circumstance (being here for a limited time) makes them vulnerable to misunderstanding. I have seen students abused, used and manipulated for political ends. It is rare to find students who are willing to put in the time to understand the issues.”