New Wildcat Welcome programs spotlight campus safety resources

Amy Whyte, Reporter

A new Essential NU that focuses on campus safety will be part of a handful of changes to Wildcat Welcome coming this fall.

In addition to the Mental Health ENU that was announced in January, new students will attend orientation programming that focuses on campus safety. Patricia Hilkert, director of New Student and Family Programs, said the program is being developed in coordination with University Police. The ENU is intended to familiarize new students with the safety resources and services available to them on campus.

Previously, the responsibility for educating new students about campus safety was left to Residential Life, but Hilkert said she thought it was important to implement an education program as part of Wildcat Welcome.

“In light of all the crazy things happening in the world in general as well as in Evanston, I think it’s important that students feel secure and safe, that parents feel secure and safe and that everybody’s aware of what resources are there to support them,” Hilkert said.

While the presentation itself is still in the works, Hilkert said topics will include dorm safety and making students aware of safe ways to travel alone at night, such as SafeRide.

UP Chief Dan McAleer said the new ENU is a needed addition to orientation programming.

“We need all of our incoming students to understand that you’re living in the first suburb north of one of the largest cities in the United States and that crime does happen and that you have to play a role in your own personal protection,” McAleer said.

Another new component of Wildcat Welcome is the Family Ambassador program. Family ambassadors will be responsible for assisting with move-in and answering parents’ questions, as well as informing them about and leading them to parent orientation events. About 25 students will be selected for these new positions, and they will be required to return to campus a day before move-in starts to attend training.

Weinberg junior Emily Weiss, a returning PA, said she thought the new position will take a lot of the pressure off of PAs, especially on move-in day.

“It can be really stressful to have to answer parent questions while trying to move students in quickly,” Weiss said. “It’s a huge help to know there will be other people who are around for that purpose.”

Hilkert said the positions will be filled by students who applied to be peer advisors but were ultimately rejected.

“We’re looking at kind of who were the next people in line who would have gotten positions had we had more positions available and extending the offer to those students to see if they’re interested in doing it,” Hilkert said. “Parents should be escorted around, they should get their questions answered, just as much as our new students do with their peer advisors — this new role will help with that.”

Correction: A previous version of this story attributed a quote incorrectly. The speaker was UP Chief Dan McAleer. The Daily regrets the error.