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Knock and Talk volunteers to go into neighborhoods, welcome off-campus students

Faculty, staff plan to visit about 250 homes Sept. 5; other events celebrate return of students

By Jerry Poling, UW Stout

Menomonie, Wis. — Hundreds of University of Wisconsin-Stout students who live near campus will get a special welcome to the fall semester on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

Faculty and staff volunteers, including Chancellor Katherine Frank and Provost Glendalí Rodríguez, plan to knock on the doors of about 800 students in 250 off-campus homes, covering about 50 city blocks near downtown Menomonie.

The volunteers will welcome students back and remind them to be safe and healthy during the 2023-24 academic year. They also will drop off reusable bags filled with flyers about campus resources like Student Health Services, the Student Counseling Center and Stout Student Association; and Menomonie service agencies, like Bridge to Hope and Arbor Place.

Provost Glendalí Rodríguez, left, and Chancellor Katherine Frank stop during Knock and Talk 2022 at the home of students, from left, Hannah Hinker, Taylor Schmidt and Eli Dupslaff. / UW-Stout

The bags also will have information about health and safety, city ordinances, student conduct policies and tenant rights, as well as coupons and small gifts from local businesses and other entities.

Other events welcoming back students include the annual Blue Rah celebration for first-year students in the evening Sunday, Sept. 3, followed by comedian and magician Nick Diffatte at 9:15 p.m. in the Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center; and the Backyard Bash featuring 150 student organizations from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 5, on the lawn south of the Memorial Student Center.

Classes begin Wednesday, Sept. 6.

Nate Kirkman / UW-Stout

Assistant Dean of Students Nate Kirkman, who coordinates Knock and Talk, isn’t aware of another UW System school that organizes a similar door-to-door initiative.

“We want to connect with our off-campus students, welcome them back and encourage them to make safe and healthy choices, particularly about high-risk behaviors involving alcohol and controlled substances,” Kirkman said.

“We care about our off-campus students and want them to be involved in the Stout community,” Kirkman said. “We encourage Stout students to be positive bystanders and take care of and look out for their fellow Blue Devils.”

He believes UW-Stout is unique in that the student neighborhoods are adjacent to campus.

The 800 Knock and Talk welcome bags are being stuffed by volunteer students participating in the Stoutward Bound program.

UW-Stout is Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University, with a focus on applied learning, collaboration with business and industry, and career outcomes. Learn more via the FOCUS2030 strategic plan.


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