Skip to main content

Notice to Students on NATO Summit

Following is a note to students from Patricia Telles-Irvin, vice president for student affairs, in advance of the NATO Summit.

Later this week, on May 20-21, 2012, the City of Chicago will be hosting the NATO Summit in downtown Chicago - the first city in the United States to host NATO outside of Washington, D.C..  Having the NATO Summit so close to our Evanston and Chicago campuses provides all of us with an outstanding opportunity to learn about global challenges through summit-related events.  This is a wonderful opportunity for Northwestern students to see first-hand one of the largest diplomatic forums in the world.  Several thousand international dignitaries will be present, as will the large international press corps. 

As you consider the activities you would like to attend, I encourage you to keep the following safety recommendations in mind. With many visitors coming to downtown Chicago and the Chicagoland area, please be cautious on and off campus, so your NATO Summit experience is a safe and positive one.

  • As members of the Northwestern community, you are expected to uphold all policies and procedures of NU.  Please refer to the NU Student Handbook for specific information about your student responsibilities.
  • Carry your WildCARD at all times. Having your WildCARD will identify you as a member of our community. This is especially important if you are participating in classes or activities on Northwestern’s Chicago campus.
  • Should you have a cell phone, keep it charged and with you at all times. 
  • Protect your valuables when attending events and/or traveling to and from the various NATO Summit event locations.
  • Remember to keep friends and parents aware of your plans during the dates of the NATO summit, to reduce unnecessary anxiety if there are media reports of issues in and around the city.
  • When part of a large group gathering, pay attention to your surroundings and identify an exit plan just in case you decide you are no longer comfortable being in the crowd and wish to leave.
  • Travel in groups of several people or more, especially during the evenings. NU Shuttles (except for the May 19 Chicago Express) will continue to be in service. Visit the NU Transportation website for more information on possible delays.  You may also use the NU Shuttle Tracker mobile application for tracking information on the shuttle routes.
  • Travel in and around the NATO Summit location has the potential to be significantly delayed at key times between May 18-21.  Chicago is relying on the “Notify Chicago” system to keep residents updated on traffic issues.  You can sign up to receive the free Notify Chicago text, email, or phone service alerts on-line.
  • If you rely on public transportation, please make sure you allow extra time, particularly using the CTA or Metra services in or around McCormick Place. Please check the CTA and Metra websites for the latest information on train and bus service.
  • While we do not anticipate a large protest presence on Northwestern campuses, please be aware that protesters may be present.  If you are aware of any activity that raises a safety issue, contact emergency response personnel immediately by calling 911.  Additionally, if you are asked by visitors about staying with you during the summit, make sure you follow appropriate safety precautions.  If you are an on-campus resident, recall you are expected to follow all visitor protocols as established by Residential Services.

Having the NATO Summit in our area is an exciting chance for our community to learn and participate in an international diplomatic experience.  In addition to the summit itself, there are many related activities open to the public. The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the official Host Committee Site for the Chicago NATO Summit both have information on these events.  A link to the Host Committee site is available on the NU NATO Conference Preparation Site for your convenience.

I encourage you to take advantage of the summit, but to do so in a positive way.  Please consider engaging in summit-related activities, and have a safe, engaging, and enjoyable experience.  

Back to top