Town-and-Gown efforts honored with 2017 Larry Abernathy Award

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
Office of Media Relations
February 9, 2018

SAN MARCOS – Texas State University and the City of San Marcos received the 2017 Larry Abernathy Award for Excellence in Town and Gown Relationships for the Achieving Community Together (ACT) San Marcos program.

The award, named for former Clemson, South Carolina, Mayor Larry Abernathy and his passion for collaboration between cities and universities, was awarded during the International Town and Gown Association (ITGA) annual conference in Eugene, Oregon.

ACT San Marcos began in 2008 as a police problem-solving effort to reduce noise associated with large gatherings. The city and university cooperated to develop a comprehensive noise response plan with an emphasis on education and community influence. A key foundation was establishing a cooperative relationship with property owners and managers to take follow-up action when police handled a noisy event at an apartment or house.

The relationship between the city and university was further strengthened through ACT Ally, a program of ACT and the Department of Housing and Residential Life. ACT Ally connected students with the rental housing industry to better prepare them for living off campus. The initiative educated students on good neighbor practices and considerate hosting of gatherings, along with topics such as handling lease issues, roommate quarrels, landlord disputes and maintenance concerns.

Since 2008, noise complaints have dropped 27.3 percent despite a 33.5 percent increase in police calls overall, and a 33.5 percent increase in student enrollment. The reduction in noise complaints has been accomplished without the need for writing tickets or making arrests. From 2008-2016, citations and arrests have decreased by 73.1 percent.

Previous awards for ACT San Marcos include the TML Municipal Excellence Award, ACUI Collaborative Program of the Year and international recognition as a finalist for the Herman Goldstein Problem Oriented Policing Award.

About Texas State University

Founded in 1899, Texas State University is among the largest universities in Texas with an enrollment of 38,694 students on campuses in San Marcos and Round Rock. Texas State’s 181,000-plus alumni are a powerful force in serving the economic workforce needs of Texas and throughout the world. Designated an Emerging Research University by the State of Texas, Texas State is classified under “Doctoral Universities: Higher Research Activity,” the second-highest designation for research institutions under the Carnegie classification system.