The line, which is accessed through the campus security line (402-559-5111), was designed with UNMC students in mind, but any international visitor to the Omaha area is welcome to use it, said Cheryl Thompson, Ph.D., assistant vice chancellor of academic affairs/student affairs.
"We will distribute a card with the phone number to all current international students and then every year to incoming students," she said. "International students may not know Omaha or U.S. culture, and as a result, they may find themselves in situations which they don't know how to handle."
The Help Line gives them a resource and an easy number to remember, Dr. Thompson said.
The idea was derived from a UNMC faculty member who formerly lived in another country and was given a similar number to an American resource for help.
International student Aditya Bade, who helped Dr. Thompson design the project, said the help line will be invaluable.
"An around-the-clock support system will be helpful in critical conditions where our students may not know how to face certain situations," he said.
"International students may not know Omaha or U.S. culture, and as a result, they may find themselves in situations which they don't know how to handle." Cheryl Thompson, Ph.D.
Cheryl Thompson, Ph.D.
For example, one of Bade's friends was in a minor car accident. Afterward, he was unsure whether to call the police, call the insurance company or call a tow truck. When he called some friends, no one was quite sure what the correct step was, either.
"The Help Line will provide guidance," Bade said.
The line will be answered by the UNMC dispatch center.
"Dispatch is staffed 24 hours a day, so that was a logical place for the help line," Dr. Thompson said.
"We have gotten incredible support from the campus security office for this project," Bade said. "I am very appreciative."
Dr. Thompson said she also appreciated the collaboration of Gary Svanda and Sandy Overman of the campus security office on the project.
"Campus security is pleased to be taking part in this effort to assist UNMC's international students to make the most of their experience on the campus and in Omaha," said Overman, dispatch supervisor.
Nice work adi.. It will really helpful...!
This is great news for all of our international visitors. Job well done!
Dear Aditya Bade, I appreciate the determination and hard work behind the program to make it a reality. Cheers and way to go. We hope for many innovative programs in future.
Great job Adi! I am sure that all new students will really appreciate all your efforts.