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Welcoming Youth Back to UW

What employees need to know about the presence of youth on campus this summer

Summer is almost here which means more excitement and new people on our UW campuses- namely kids! This summer will mark a return to in-person activities for many UW youth programs that have been operating virtually for the past two summers. 

Bar graph comparing the amount of youth UW serves versus the number of students and employees
Did you know that the UW, on average, serves 319,595 youth under the age of 18 per year?

This summer we will see at least 71,000 youth visiting UW campuses and other properties. 

As we see more youth return to our locations, it is important for the UW community to be prepared, cautious and mindful of these young visitors. Every adult plays a role in creating a safe and welcoming campus community for our young visitors and participants. 

The Office of the Youth Protection Coordinator serves as a central resource for youth programs and champion of youth at the University. Below you will find reminders and suggestions about how to appropriately respond to and interact with youth you may encounter on campus this summer.

Youth Transportation Awareness

Youth will be arriving and leaving through all modes of transportation. Older students may come in waves by light rail, bus or car. Many younger students will be dropped off by a parent or guardian, either in a parking garage or adjacent to campus buildings.

Vehicle Safety – Slow Down and Look Around

Slow Down and Look Around – Campaign Graphic

When you are driving through campus or parking in a garage, be sure to ask yourself:

  1. Might there be anyone around that I can’t see?
  2. Are there cars stopped to pick up kids?
  3. Are both sides clear before driving forward? 
  4. Am I driving too fast? (The speed limit on most campus roads is 20 mph.)

Always beware of your surroundings when driving on or around campus. Both parents and youth may be unfamiliar with the campus streets and drop-off locations. Make sure you are taking the time to slow down and look around for any potential dangers. These dangers could be:

  1. Youth not looking while crossing the street or parking lot.
  2. Cars stopped on the side at a designated drop-off spot.
  3. Traffic lines where youth are present.

Taking the extra time to be aware of your surroundings can help promote traffic safety on campus. 

Helping a lost child

See Something, Say Something

The University is a big place, and youth can lose their way. If you see a child alone on campus who appears lost or otherwise upset, safely approach them, introduce yourself and ask if there is anything you can do to assist them. Consider asking:

  • Are you a participant in a UW youth program? 
  • Do you have a way to contact a parent, teacher or counselor? 

Make every effort to get them in touch with their responsible adult as soon as possible. Contact campus security if you or the child need assistance in locating their responsible adult. 

All employees and volunteers are mandated reporters of child abuse or neglect

This is a good time to refresh your knowledge of the required steps to take if you suspect a child is in danger. Review these steps to make a report:

If you are concerned about the immediate safety of a child, call 911. 

For additional support, guidance and help, contact UW SafeCampus at 206-685-7233

and/or email the office at

A Reminder to our Youth Programs

Youth are excited, recharged and ready to take on this summer with full energy! As youth dive into the summer, please take time to encourage quiet voices in the hallways and remind youth that there are other UW members using the buildings. 

To promote clear communication between your youth program and other UW partners, give your contact information to building coordinators if staff or faculty need to voice a concern. Be sure to notify building coordinators when youth programs will be present. 

Be Prepared – Have a Safety Plan Ready & Beware of Surroundings

As our UW campuses continue to rebuild and expand, active construction will continue, which can pose a risk to everyone, including youth. Please make sure youth have access to safe walking paths to get to their destination. The amount of construction on campus can challenge way-finding and situational awareness. Check in with Transportation Services to learn about different routes youth may take and to designate specific pick-up and drop-off locations for your program. 

Review the youth program safety planning tools and have a safety and emergency plan in place for your youth program. Take into consideration exposure to hazardous materials, sharps and vehicle safety, and physical safety while on campus. Additionally, please make sure your youth understand the importance of being aware of their surroundings and how to respond to suspicious or harmful behaviors. In case of an emergency involving violence, have an emergency plan that can be acted upon to ensure the safety of youth and reunification with their families. 

If an emergency were to occur at UW, parents and guardians may check the UW Alert Blog for updates and more information.For more guidance and support when making a plan, please reach out to us at and we will work with you to make sure your program has the appropriate information to give to your youth and their guardians.

Slow Down and Look Around Campaign Graphics

We encourage you to use these flyers to ensure vehicle safety around the campuses. Please click on the image to download.

Flyer with slogan saying "Slow Down and Look Around"