The campus and community have partnered this year in a visible effort to extend a warm welcome to new and returning Huskies. NIU officials offered Huskie welcome signs to DeKalb business owners, and they responded enthusiastically. Those signs can now be seen displayed throughout the community.
Sol Jensen, Vice President of the Division of Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communications, said the effort reflects the university’s pride that DeKalb is home to NIU, and is an example of the strong relationship between the city and campus. Jensen began his role at the university two months ago, and said he’s been impressed by that relationship and the clear desire to grow even closer.
“I think it’s really important to show that our community—and all those who have been visiting DeKalb for move-in and Corn Fest—is a very special place,” he said. “Having the signs around the city is a great way to welcome our NIU students, faculty, and staff — whether returning or new — and let them know that this entire community is their home and we’re excited for them to be here. We want this simple initiative to only be the beginning of many new and larger partnerships.”
Jensen said his department had an unexpected but good problem when they ran out of the original batch of welcome posters in just 90 minutes and had to quickly print more. His staff have been racing to keep up with demand.
“In general, we have so much Huskie Pride here at NIU and we are eager to share that with others,” he said. “With that said, we had no idea the response was going to be so strong. We’re thrilled with the support from the local community and business owners.”
Carolyn Canon, owner of MC Framing in downtown DeKalb, is one of many local business owners who offered to post the welcome signs. Canon said her family has deep roots with NIU, so the welcome effort felt natural. Born and raised in DeKalb, Canon’s parents were both professors at the university. Her husband holds three degrees from NIU, and Canon, her daughter and son-in-law are all proud NIU alumni as well.
“We hate to see the students leave at the end of the year, because things get so quiet,” she said. “We’re glad when they’re here, and so this welcome effort comes naturally.”