Each year, as the fall semester begins at Chapman, returning students are welcomed to City of Orange neighborhoods by representatives from the university’s Office of Community Relations.
The goal, according to James Gerrard, community relations manager, is to educate students – many of whom are living on their own for the first time – about how to be a good neighbor.
“Our goal is to eliminate potential problems before they start,” says Gerard. “Chapman students are eager to be good neighbors, but sometimes they just need to be taught what that means.”
The multi-pronged outreach effort includes a “Good Neighbor” mailer sent to every student household in the communities surrounding Chapman, filled with helpful information about things such as parking, trash collection and guidelines for hosting gatherings. In addition, the Community Relations team canvassed 130 student houses in the community and shared Good Neighbor materials that encourage student residents to be thoughtful and considerate, and, most of all, to get to know their neighbors.
Educating students about community expectations has the greatest impact, says Gerrard, who is overseeing the outreach for the third year in a row. Last year, complaint calls to the office dropped by almost 30%, an indicator of how effective the student outreach program has been.
Additional efforts have included meetings with all of Chapman’s athletic teams as well as the Greek Life presidents; tabling during the fall involvement fair; and a social media campaign that features videos from Orange Mayor Dan Slater and Chief of Police Dan Adams