Listserv launched exclusively for off-campus NU students

Elaine Helm

When about 1,600 Northwestern students received an e-mail last week welcoming them to a new listserv just for off-campus dwellers, many might have been confused.

But only about 10 called or e-mailed the list’s administrator. Another 20 or 30 people unsubscribed from the listserv immediately.

Catherine Whitcomb, assistant to the vice president for student affairs, said she hopes most students actually wait to see how useful they find the four to six newsletters she plans to send out on the listserv this quarter before unsubscribing.

“I would like to give people the opportunity to know what the information is before they decide they don’t want it,” she said.

Whitcomb said she started the listserv to keep undergraduate students informed about issues related to living off campus — such as landlord problems or the recent garbage workers strike.

The Office of Student Affairs has had a small staff dealing with off-campus issues for a number of years, Whitcomb said, but it has not been very active.

“(Students living off campus) have very different needs than students who live on campus,” Whitcomb said. “The impetus (for the listserv) was just that we finally got organized.”

A booklet soon will be sent to students living on campus to help them prepare to move off campus, Whitcomb said, and some of the same information will be included in the off-campus listserv messages.

Whitcomb also has been working with Associated Student Government senators who represent off-campus students to start an advisory council, which she said “will begin as soon as things get organized.”

Since she arrived at NU, Whitcomb has been running workshops for off-campus students, although they have not been well attended.

She will host a workshop today titled “$mart Budgeting: How to survive living off campus” at 4 p.m. in Engelhart Hall’s main lounge. Free pizza will be provided.