Approached on campus? You don't have to engage.
There has been an increased presence of unregistered religious groups and other organizations approaching students in both indoor and outdoor campus spaces at Northwestern.
Just because an individual or group is in a campus space does not mean they are authorized to recruit there.
Northwestern takes student wellness and safety seriously. Through a few simple steps, you can determine whether an individual or group is a member of the Northwestern community.
What to Look For
- Individuals or groups who approach you outside or in campus buildings.
- Questions about personal information like your phone number or where you live.
- The inability to prove their affiliation with Northwestern.
- People who appear friendly and try to gain your trust.
What to Do
- Protect your privacy and personal information. Don’t share details like where you live, your phone number, or your religious beliefs.
- Reject freebies or handouts if you are not interested.
- Ask for their Wildcard, if their group is on Wildcat Connection or who their Northwestern staff advisor is. Be wary of vague answers like “we’re in the process of applying.” Don’t provide information on the registration process or offer to help the group get registered.
- Distance yourself if the interaction is unwanted. Avoid attempting to investigate the individual or group yourself by engaging with them further or following them.
- Report the interaction online or to a Northwestern advisor, staff member or faculty member.
Who is allowed to recruit on campus?
Northwestern student organizations must register with the university annually, complete annual requirements, and/or be sponsored by a Northwestern department. Wildcat Connection is the directory of active registered student organizations, fraternities, sororities, and competitive sports teams. All organizations listed include student officer and advisor contact information.
Where does RSO recruitment tend to occur?
- SOA manages organization fairs every fall, winter, and spring as an opportunity for students to learn how to get involved with registered student organizations. Student organizations will also build their presence by recruiting with event reservations at the Rock, Norris University Center, and other high-traffic areas of campus.
- Religiously Affiliated Registered Student Organizations will never approach you on campus sidewalks, ask for your phone number to text you, or approach you in your classroom buildings to ask you religious questions.
Where on campus do unregistered organizations typically approach students?
Based on accounts from students, recruiters from unregistered organizations and religious groups have approached students in common spaces of Norris, along Sheridan Road, and on the Lakefill among other locations.
How can I report this interaction to Northwestern?
Reporting can be as simple as alerting a peer, advisor, or faculty member immediately with details of the interaction. Try to include details like the individual’s appearance, specific phrasing, and the time and place of the occurrence.
Students are encouraged to immediately report the time and location of the interaction and a description of the individual(s) to the nearest facility manager. For incidents occurring outdoors but on campus property, individuals can contact NUPD. It’s likely that if the unauthorized recruiter suspects authorities are being contacted, they’ll exit and hopefully be discouraged from future activities.
You can also report details of the interaction online by submitting a General Concern Report.
What should I do if I suspect I am or someone I am concerned about is involved in an unregistered organization or religious group?
- Northwestern takes threats to student wellness seriously, and peers can assist with keeping our campus safe. Submit a general concern about a past or ongoing incident through the Office of Community Standards. Reports may be submitted anonymously, though Office of Community Standards states they have found more success in interventions as needed when the individual submitting shares their identity.
- If you are uncomfortable with someone approaching you claiming they are from a religious group, please make a Community Concern Report or contact Religious & Spiritual Life for a confidential meeting.
How can I get involved in a Registered Student Organization?
- For students looking for opportunities to get involved in registered student organizations, Student Organizations and Activities (SOA) plans several in-person organization fairs, manages digital resources, financial resources, and more. Students can filter specifically for ‘Barrier-Free’ organizations along with specific interests or organization categories in the Organizations directory of Wildcat Connection.
- Visit the Involvement Resources page on the SOA website for more information or contact SOA to arrange a private consultation to help you navigate opportunities to get involved.