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Good neighbor guide’ distributed off campus

John Cameron | Friday, October 1, 2010

Echoing the community relations and educational aspects of the student government’s beND campaign, Senior Class Council has concentrated on informing off-campus seniors how to throw smart and safe parties and avoid conflict with neighbors and police.

 In addition to a recent presentation by C.L. Lindsay, a panel with ResLife and NDSP and emails sent out by student government, senior class council has distributed “Good Neighbor Guides.”

Senior Class Council president Kate Clitheroe said the pamphlets were another step in the ongoing process of helping seniors minimize the risks of socializing off-campus and improving community relations.

“Most of the information we already tried to synthesize in emails we sent to seniors,” Clitheroe said. “Things like keeping the noise down, putting the ‘no drinking under 21′ signs … we thought those things were pertinent.”

While the guides contained a wide range of information about off-campus living in general, Clitheroe said she thinks the tips on keeping friendly relations with neighbors were especially important.

“The info that was most important to seniors were the tips for having good relationships with your neighbors,” she said. “We’ve talked to the police about this. The number one reason they come to a party is not because they’re driving by, but because they’ve gotten a call from a neighbor.”

Clitheroe said she thinks the guides contributed to the recent drop in citations and arrests for underage drinking.

“I would say it’s definitely a combination of the guides with emails and most importantly word of mouth,” she said. “[Seniors] have actually been doing those things. … We’ve been to parties where people have told us they’ve talked to their neighbors.”

One such student is Kent Liederbach, a junior living off campus. While Liederbach did not reach out to his neighbors until after he ran into problems, he said doing so made all the difference in his relationship with them.

“We had a party that got way too loud, so I had to go over and apologize, I gave them a name and number. … They’re okay with giving me a second chance,” Liederbach said. “A lot of it is just taking responsibility for what happened and for what students are doing at our parties. … We have a great relationship with them now.”

Liederbach contacted other neighbors as well, whom he believes were initially hesitant due to the reputation left by students of years past.

“They’ve been very receptive since then,” he said. “I think students in the past were really crazy.”

“I think they had judged us based on previous students,” Liederbach’s housemate, James Uricheck, said.

Liederbach said he would encourage other students living off campus to contact their neighbors if they haven’t done so already.

“Be proactive, tell them ahead of time if there’s going to be a party. … Make sure they have your number, say ‘If there is a problem I’d appreciate you calling me before you call the cops,'” Liderbach said. “I’ve actually gone over to my neighbors and had long conversations with them. Try to get to know them, find common ground. …They’ll be more willing to work with you.”