Campustown Action Association hires new director

Audra Kincart

Campustown Action Association recently hired a new director and can expect to see more spontaneous events in the district.

“She had a great fit and great energy,” said Anne Taylor, past president of the Campustown Action Association and owner of Dogtown University. “We’d like to get a wide variety of opinions, not just necessarily our membership.

With over a dozen applicants, from varying locations such as Texas and Ames, in the end Campustown Action Association hired Rebecca Olson as its new director.

A committee of four filtered the applicants and narrowed the search to three interviewees. Two separate committees then conducted the interviews.

Past director of the Campustown Action Association, Kim Hanna, was the director for three years before resigning this summer. 

During her tenure as director, Hanna changed the purpose of the position.

“It’s a lot more face to face, one-on-one visiting in the area as well as different residential areas on campus and more outreach,” Taylor said.

Olson received her bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University in sociology and has worked at Smithfield, one of the world’s largest hog producers, in Ames, as well as the city of Ames for the planning department. 

“It seemed relative to exactly what I want to do with my life, which is making the world a better place,” Olson said.

The goals of the Campustown Action Association include making Ames a destination for students and the community, creating more business diversity and improving the visual appeal and cleanliness of Campustown as well as addressing transportation issues and furthering business relations.

Of the goals described, Olson is focusing on transportation as a priority.

“One of the biggest things is getting people to use the Intermodal Facility,” Olson said.

As she becomes director, Olson has to connect with businesses and is doing so through a grassroots approach.

“The character of Ames, we have so many things here that are a grassroots beginning,” Olson said, adding that Campustown was built and is sustained using a similar approach.