Administrators and city welcome students to off-campus living

Saturday, September 3, 2016 - 2:40pm

University of Michigan leaders and city officials teamed up to provide students with off-campus living resources and information during the move-in process this weekend.

Local law enforcement, volunteers and neighborhood ambassadors went door to door at a number of off-campus locations to greet students in houses and apartments, as well as distribute resources like off-campus living guides, annual security reports and bus schedules.

Beyond the Diag, an off-campus housing program within the Dean of Student’s Office aims to improve off-campus safety and education resources, helped host the event along with the UM office of Student Life.

Dean of Students Laura Blake Jones stressed the importance of Beyond the Diag’s work in the community and their efforts to improve upon a prior lack of resources and support for students as they transitioned away from on-campus living, as well as the work of the Ann Arbor Police Department and the University’s Department of Public Safety.

“We really weren’t doing much in a concerted effort to reach our students off-campus, and we were hearing from students that once (they) left the residence halls, (they) didn’t have all the resources that were there,” Blake Jones said. “The folks were feeling a little disconnected.”

Molly Labrousse, Beyond the Diag program manager, said the event aims to promote safety and well-being, especially during busy times like the first week of move-in.

“We’re encouraging (off-campus residents) to be healthy, but also be good neighbors as they are moving into their off-campus neighborhood,” Labrousse said.

Labrousse aemphasized that the program is entirely student driven, and run by ambassadors who are students living in the neighborhoods they work with. Throughout the year, Labrousse added, ambassadors will host educational events such as a “Halloween Hootenanny” and bystander education events with the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center.

2015 campus-wide sexual misconduct climate survey showed that among UM undergraduates who reported sexual misconduct, 41.2 percent said it happened off-campus.

Blake Jones said overall, she hoped that students living off-campus will be responsible citizens in the Ann Arbor community, but also continue to feel connected to campus. 

“You’re sending a really important message about what it means to be in a community, in our community, and to welcome our students to be part of that,” Blake Jones said.