URBANA, Ill. – Lt. Joan Fiesta was honored this week as one of International Student and Scholar Services’ 2018 Outstanding Campus Partners.
Lt. Fiesta now serves as the department’s daytime patrol supervisor, but over the past year she oversaw the crime prevention unit. International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) has been a key partner for the police department over the years in developing safety and crime prevention resources for students who come from abroad.
Lt. Fiesta also traveled to China and South Korea during the summer to present during the university’s in-country orientations for new students who reside overseas.
The award nomination lauded Lt. Fiesta for her efforts to make students feel comfortable in a new environment:
“When moving to a new country to study, questions about the safety of the campus and surrounding area are inevitable and students and parents come with understandable concerns about Champaign-Urbana. Having Lt. Fiesta serve as a representative of the UIPD has been invaluable as part of the University’s Pre-Arrival Orientations in China and Korea. Her kind and gentle spirit creates a calm that is difficult to achieve when discussing matters of crime and safety on campus.
“As a representative of UIPD, Lt. Fiesta impresses upon students the approachability of the campus police officers, demonstrating with her words and actions a dedication to making sure that our students feel comfortable and safe here. Lt. Fiesta also helped coordinate efforts with the ISSS Shuttle Service this fall, to ensure increased patrol presence around shuttle stops, especially for those late night drop-offs, to make sure that students were able to get to their accommodations safely.”
International students and scholars face unique safety challenges because they are generally not native English speakers and they are not necessarily familiar with cultural norms or safety protocols in the United States. The partnership between ISSS and the University of Illinois Police Department aims to identify the areas where international students and scholars may be more vulnerable and to provide resources to help them protect themselves.
“I am honored and humbled to be recognized for this award, as our first priority at UIPD always is the safety of all of our students,” Fiesta said. “International students and scholars account for a large percentage of our student population, and our partnership with ISSS has been very valuable in helping us to reach out to those students with safety resources and crime prevention strategies.”