Promoting fire safety among college students: The Nick Project | #schoolsaftey

DECATUR — While paying tribute to the older brother she barely got to know, Sophie Schwalbach is also helping promote fire safety for college students.

Schwalbach is the younger sister of Nick Schwalbach, a 1997 Edwardsville High School graduate who died in a fraternity house fire on the campus of Millikin University in June of 2000 at the age of 21.

Schwalbach is the founder of the Nick Project, which has provided fraternities, sororities and off-campus students at Millikin with fire safety equipment to help students plan to be safe.

The Nick Drive, meanwhile, refers to the specific annual event where students receive the equipment.

Schwalbach started the Nick Project in the fall of 2015 when she was a freshman at Millikin.

“I was going to college and having fun with my friends, and I realized how reckless so many students and young people were when it came to fire safety,” said the 26-year-old Schwalbach, who earned her undergraduate degree in Millikin in 2019 and completed her MBA there in 2020. “Their lack of knowledge didn’t come from a place of malice, but they didn’t have the awareness, the understanding or the education about it.

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