Knock and Talk initiative returns, welcomes back off-campus students

Faculty, staff members to visit about 250 homes Sept. 7
Knock and Talk initiative volunteers will be giving students bags filled with information on staying safe, coupons and free items. / UW-Stout photo by Chris Cooper
Pam Powers | September 3, 2021

University of Wisconsin-Stout students who live off campus likely will get a friendly knock at their door on Tuesday, Sept. 7, the day before fall semester classes begin.

Faculty and staff members will welcome back students living in the community as part of the university’s Knock and Talk initiative, which started in 2016. About 20 faculty and staff volunteers are expected to visit 250 homes in several neighborhoods around the campus from noon to 6 p.m. to drop off about 700 welcome back bags.

“We wanted to connect with our off-campus students, welcome them back and encourage them to make safe and healthy choices, particularly about high-risk alcohol usage,” said Nate Kirkman, assistant dean of students who is leading the effort.

The reusable bags will include a variety of things: information on safety, city ordinances, student conduct policies, voting, tenant rights, and local service agencies; coupons and small gifts from local businesses and other entities; COVID-19 information including a thermometer and information on receiving vaccines.

Nate Kirkman photo
Nate Kirkman photo / UW-Stout photo

Last year Knock and Talk was moved to Johnson Fieldhouse because of COVID-19 concerns, with students encouraged to visit and pick up their welcome bags.

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

UW-Stout Chancellor Katherine Frank and interim Provost Glendali Rodriguez will be participating in the initiative.

Knock and Talk is sponsored by the Dean of Students office, the Chancellor’s Coalition on Drugs and Alcohol, University Counseling Center, Stout Student Association, Student Health Services, Memorial Student Center, the Office of Safety and Risk Management, and University Police.

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