Most University of Arizona students return to Tucson next week. Many of them live off-campus and are not only students, but members of those communities.

One of those neighborhoods is West University, where Henry Werchan has lived for almost 30 years.

We didnt have a fence before at our house, and our first introduction was we woke up on the first day of school and our backyard was filled with cars, said Werchan. Students just looking for somewhere to park. They parked in our backyard.

Since then, Werchan has been happy to co-exist with the students in his neighborhood.

He represents West University on UArizonas Campus Community Relations Committee, which has been around since the 80s.

Neighbors from the 10 adjacent neighborhoods meet monthly with university and city representatives.

Its been a really valuable opportunity for the neighbors to let us know what theyre experiencing with university students living in the neighborhoods, said Julie Katsel, Assistant Vice President of Community Relations for UArizona. But its also been a really important way for the university to share with neighbors whats happening on campus, what were doing to address any concerns they might have.

Those concerns come up in meetings or through the universitys neighborhood hotline: 520-282-3649

The most frequent are issues like parking, trash and noise.

A lot of the noise violations, were hearing less from neighbors, Katsel said of the past year. I think that weve been really in the last few years on this education piece.

During COVID and during the pandemic, neighbors were acutely concerned about large gatherings. And it wasnt just a nuisance at that point, they were concerned about health and safety issues. And so we responded in a really aggressive way by spending a lot of time out in the neighborhoods and talking with students where they live. Not just where they go to school, but we would go out and talk with them where they live as well.

Committee members like Werchan knock on their neighbors doors when problems come up.

Usually if you talk to them, usually its okay, he told KGUN. Ill be honest, for instance, the high rises that were built over here [have] been a little bit more of a problem there because, first off, its so big you dont get to know everybody We know our neighbors kind of by first name. We usually dont have issues.

Most of the time theres a mutual respect between neighbors in these communities and the students, who Werchan is used to seeing and hearing in his neighborhood.

Got so used to the university and all, like, over the Christmas holidays, it gets so quiet, cant sleep at night cause its just too quiet, he said with a laugh.