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Neighborhood welcome walks provide resources, encourage communication

ASU, Tempe Police visiting with Tempe resident
August 19, 2014

With the new school year beginning and students returning to campus, Arizona State University has partnered with the Tempe Police Department and the City of Tempe to welcome back returning students and provide resources to residents of the Tempe campus’ surrounding neighborhoods.

For the first time, representatives from each organization kicked off a three-day campaign Aug. 18, called Welcome Back Walks, aimed at proactively engaging residents and students by going door-to-door in several neighborhoods to provide resources and information to improve public safety and the well-being of the community.

"This is the first opportunity we’ve had for ASU and the City of Tempe to work together to let the community know we care about them,” says Kevin Cook, ASU dean of students for Tempe, who participated in the walks. “A successful community ensures successful students, and vice versa; one feeds the other.”

Monday’s walks began in Tempe’s Daley Park neighborhood, where undergraduate student body president Cass Possehl joined in to help represent her university to local residents. Possehl saw the Welcome Back Walks as a great way to “open the lines of communication” between students and the community that surrounds them.

“When they told me about the project, I thought, ‘What a neat thing to be a part of, to try to get a relationship off on such a positive note,’” Possehl says.

Many residents of the Daley Park neighborhood were happy to see the ASU and Tempe police departments as well as university staff and students working together to engage the community. One resident, a retired professor, says he had students living on either side of him and was always impressed with the efforts of police in the community. Another said he and his family had lived in the neighborhood for a couple years and really enjoyed it – “The students are great,” he says.

ASU Police Sergeant Dan Macias said it’s important that students feel they are part of the community, and that they feel a sense of responsibility to that end.

“Looking forward to the school year, we hope that we can make a really good environment for the students to be successful, and for the community members to have positive relationships with the university,” Macias said.

The Welcome Back Walks provide an opportunity for Tempe residents and students to positively interact with student leaders, City of Tempe and ASU officials, and Tempe and ASU police officers. Campus support services for off-campus students information is provided and potential issues, such as how to entertain guests while being respectful of neighbors, is stressed. Neighbors are also given information on where to seek support if problems arise.

The daily Welcome Back Walks continue through Wednesday, Aug. 20 from 5:30 to 7 p.m.