International Students Face Challenges



Luiz Rodrigues| Lindenlink Contributor

Jacqueline Lazzarotto arrived at LU in January from Brazil and since then, two tornados warnings were issued by Rave.

Lazzarotto said those experiences filled her with fear. She had no information about how to proceed during the warning.

“Nothing compares to this crazy weather; I didn’t even know that we should stay away from windows during the storm,” she said.

Lazzarotto said she got really scared during the tornado warning earlier this month.

“ Luckily, I was calmed down by my roommate because she is from Missouri and knows how to deal with severe weather,” she said.

The Business and Administration major lives in McCluer Hall and said nobody knocked on her door to tell her about the warning.

She could have had access to this safety information during the Freshman Experience class, but as a transfer student, she never took the class.

Currently, Freshman Experience classes include information about life on campus, institutional policies and procedures and very little regarding safety procedures. Adding security information to the sessions would make them a lot more relevant and would probably increase attendance.

Consider that 1,066 students at Lindenwood are from outside of the United States – not to mention the U.S. students aren’t from the Midwest – and have never experienced a tornado outside a movie theater.

Add to that freak weather occurrences, like the 14-inch snowfall last month, and you can see why some students might be little frightened by the area’s unpredictable weather.

Scott Queen, the director of community and public relations at Lindenwood, said he learned this year that international students didn’t have a clue about what tornados are and what to do in case of such an emergency.

The office of International Students & Scholars is seeking a closer working relationship with the Campus Task Force formed in October, and hopefully administrators will agree to meet the concerns of these students.

In addition, LU should enhance its services to transfer and graduate students and make sure they are aware of safety procedures and policies. An entire semester of classes wouldn’t be necessary, but a few sessions on topics like self-defense and what students should do in the events of fire, tornadoes or floods, would be well-attended.

Lindenwood’s new director of Public Safety and Security, John Bowman, said he is working to train people to serve as coordinators for each building in an emergency. He also notes that the security department is becoming more proactive and trying to improve communication through the Rave system.

These are all welcome measures, but Bowman and others need to make sure that students are included in the process and allowed to give feedback since they are the main reason for the procedures in the first place.