NI Guide expansion offeres more


Junior physical therapy transfer student Adam Schuler Jr. is helped by members of Phi Kappa Psi during Move In Day Aug. 19 in the Rec Center parking lot.

By Faith Healy

DeKALB | In 1997, a new tradition started at NIU, the NI Guide program. The NI Guide program is a student volunteer group that helps new freshman and other students move into residence halls in the fall.

Before 1997, the NI Guide program was small scale and unorganized, said Phyllis Dupre, NIU event and marketing coordinator. It was started by Admissions and was at first run by Chris Porterfield and Greek organizations, Dupre said. Volunteers and Greek organizations would show up and help students move in on Opening Day, though the amount of volunteers was underwhelming.

Then, 14 years ago, Dupre inherited the NI Guide program.

Dupre expanded the program. She added golf carts in order to help students move their items from their cars to the residence hall doors. She also managed to recruit 180 student volunteers in her first year. Now the NI Guide program recruits around 300 student volunteers each fall, including Greek organizations, Dupre said.

“Sometimes we are a little under [with volunteers], and sometimes we are a little over,” Dupre said.

Students in the NI Guide program can move in two days early, on Aug. 16 from 9 a.m. to noon. As long as students participate in the two-day training program, the move in is free.

According to the NI Guide website, volunteering for the program also offers students the opportunity to build their résumé, improve their social skills and gain leadership capabilities.

“The overall benefit [for students] is it makes things convenient,” Dupre said. “[Students] get reconnected to friends and establish a social network where they feel like they are Huskies, and they feel like this is home. They know more people and more people know them.”

The website stated during the two-day training period, NI Guides are given an overview of the upcoming Opening Day and Welcome Days schedule, customer service tips, communication skills, tips on being an ambassador of NIU and leadership development. NI Guides will also utilize teamwork with activities planned throughout the training period.

For students who wish to get more involved in a leadership role, NI Guide also offers another opportunity called LEAD guides. These positions require students to work closely with NI Guides, be in charge of Opening Day and help market Housing and Dining, the website stated.

The LEAD guide application process is stricter than NI Guide sign up due to extra responsibilities. Instead of signing up and getting accepted, LEAD guides go through an application screening process which will be judged for the thoroughness, presentation and grammar, as well as the student’s GPA and judicial record.

If a student’s application is found acceptable, a 30 to 45 minute interview will be scheduled with Dupre.

The NI Guide program is open to all students.