By Emily O’Connor, Senior Staff Writer
The Welcome Back Walkabout volunteers greeted students by going from door to door with cookies, smiles and brochures.
This is part of an effort to make students more aware of the broader Oxford community, in hopes of improving their behavior, according to the city’s website.
Volunteers included community members, Miami faculty, staff and students and they visited numerous off-campus student residences Sunday and Monday.
They talked with students about Oxford city ordinances, local services and community expectations of responsible and respectful behavior.
Packets of information were given to the residence of student houses. Students received helpful tips about fire and safety prevention, property maintenance and parking in Oxford.
Junior Mandy Sollenberger said she and her housemates benefitted from the walkabout.
“[The volunteers] were really nice, and they gave us a lot of information we didn’t know,” said Sollenberger. “We had no idea that we could only park on the street for 72 hours.”
Volunteers also stressed the importance of locking doors at night.
Ben Wright, capacity building coordinator, said Oxford had a total of 102 burglaries in Oxford last school year. They hope the Walkabout will help bring the number down in coming years.
Other material included a 2015 Miami football schedule, a BCRTA route schedule, university and local emergency information and a list of Oxford Community Arts Center upcoming events.
The program is a partnership between the Campus Outreach Office, Office of Student Wellness, City of Oxford, Oxford Visitors Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce.
Bobbe Burke, coordinator of off-campus affairs and Miami tribal relations, was in charge of beginning Walkabout in 2002. She wanted to build a stronger connection between the community and university students, Wright said.
The coordinators at the event said they try to partner one community member with one student, so the groups are as diverse as possible. The teams do not visit any apartment complexes.
Steve Dana, a member of the Oxford community, volunteered this year.
“I do feel the walkabout helps,” said Dana. “It definitely brings together community members, faculty, Miami staff and Miami students. That’s a good thing because we want there to be a feeling that we are all connected.”
Dana said he enjoys the event because he likes the mutual recognition between community members and students.