UO, students and community come together on Welcome walk

Warm welcomes and drier-than-expected weather were the orders of the day Sept. 30 as UO and community leaders welcomed students back to neighborhoods near campus.

Coinciding with the first day of classes for the new academic year, the 2013 UO Community Welcome walk included UO President Michael Gottfredson, Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy, ASUO President Sam Dotters-Katz and dozens of others who went door to door in near-campus neighborhoods, meeting students and sharing tips on keeping them and their belongings safe.

Welcome walk participants also stressed a key message: It's important for students to be good neighbors.

Started in 2009, the Community Welcome creates neighborhood relationships and provides information about respectful and safe off-campus living. During Monday's event, participants greeted students and campus neighbors and provided information to 2,000 residences about crime prevention and rental rights and responsibilities.

Students were encouraged to get to know their neighbors, manage parties responsibly, know the law and to protect themselves and their belongings.

The event started at Central Presbyterian Church, 555 E. 15th Ave., at 4 p.m. After an orientation, volunteers headed out in groups comprised of university, student and community representatives that covered roughly 70 city blocks.

President Gottfredson enjoyed his first Community Welcome event, and took the opportunity to welcome students to the area and to encourage being good neighbors.

Afterward, the walkers returned to the church for pizza and debriefing. In addition to the annual walk, the university offers a number of resources for community relations.

- by Julie Brown, UO Office of Strategic Communications