Editorial: Wildcat Welcome day of service important addition

The Daily Northwestern Editorial Board

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For the first time in NU history, Wildcat Welcome Week challenged new students to give back to the Evanston area through community service as part of their first week on campus. Last Sunday, over 2,200 freshmen and transfer students were sent off on buses to volunteer at sites in Evanston and Chicago, as detailed in The Daily’s story Monday. We commend the event’s organizers for coordinating such a large-scale service initiative. We believe it sets an import precedent for student service in the future.

Planning for the service day started last October, when assistant dean of students Betsi Burns proposed the idea in an effort to foster camaraderie between students and their Evanston neighbors. Burns collaborated with then-Associated Student Government president Claire Lew to rearrange the move-in schedule so that incoming freshmen would arrive a year early. Austin Young, then programming chair of the Wildcat Welcome Week board, also had a part in the planning.

Though many NU students performed community service in high school, many of them discontinue that commitment after arriving on campus. The Daily hopes that the newly installed day of service at the start of the year will send a message to current and future students that community service is a meaningful part of being an NU student. This year’s program was a pilot for a continuing tradition, and though it may not have gone off perfectly the first time, we hope it will grow to be successful in years to come.