ASG discusses alcohol policy, approves Dillo Village

    After discussing alcohol policy and culture and passing next year’s operating budget Wednesday night, ASG senate voted to allocate $2,500 toward Mayfest’s first Dillo Village to house secondary Dillo Day performances and activities.

    An “alcohol policy and culture” working group, which formed last spring to evaluate Northwestern’s drinking rules, presented their findings and recommendations to Senate on Wednesday. The group was comprised of representatives from Students for Sensible Drug Policy, ASG, RHA, RCB, IFC and PHA.

    In a 505-student survey last quarter, the group found that among respondents who had ever sought alcohol-related medical assistance for a friend, 50 percent said Northwestern’s alcohol policy made them hesitate. Another “general theme” was a vague understanding among students of the university’s actual policies regarding alcohol, due to poor distribution of the student handbook and ambiguous language in the rules themselves, said McCormick junior and ASG vice president Alex Van Atta, a member of the working group.

    Based on the survey results and additional research on peer universities’ programs and policies, the working group outlined several “next steps,” including legislation that would require ASG executive members, senators and other ASG student groups to undergo red watch band training, as well as development of Wildcat Watch, a third-party risk management system that would hire and train students to act as objective “party monitors” in teams of four.

    The working group also recommended expansion of educational resources. A program called “Just Say Know” will host discussions and workshops about alcohol and drugs, much like SHAPE does for sexual health. In addition, the office of Health Promotion and Wellness has recruited students to a Wildcat Welcome Essential NU Committee, which will continue to improve ENU each year.

    Later Wednesday night, Senate approved the proposed 2013-14 operating budget to take effect this fall. The budget totals $61,600, a significant jump up from this year’s $46,400 budget.

    The $15,200 increase derives primarily from doubling the Senate Project Pool, a portion of the ASG operating budget dedicated to any undergraduate campuswide project, subject to Senate approval. Expansion of the pool widens the opportunity for groups that are not ASG-recognized to request funding, ASG president Ani Ajith said. Previously, Senate Project Pool cash has contributed to a variety of initiatives, including the provision of Dillo Day water bottles, Mac charger rentals at the library and, last month, pizza as part of ASG’s Get Out the Vote campaign.

    As for this year’s Project Pool, Senate approved further distribution of the money stash Wednesday night. After no debate, Senate approved a whopping $2,500 to install a “second stage” as the centerpiece of Dillo Village, Mayfest’s tentative name for a Lakefill refuge that will host activities that are not part of the main Dillo Day lineup. 

    “This will keep students on the Lakefill, keep them engaged and happy, rather than hanging out off campus,” said Wil Heintz, Mayfest co-chair and Weinberg senior. “It’ll provide more options for activities between sets.” 

    Proposed entertainment for the “second stage” includes yoga classes and performances by Second City improv students. One of the minor acts might also perform at this location, Heintz said. 

    Senate voted to allocate another $300 toward the Deering Days second annual Wildcat Welcome barbeque, Dancing on Deering, a dance showcase of performances, workshops and food. The event, a collaborative effort among 14 student groups, intends to facilitate a “sense of community among diverse groups” on campus. 

    After cutting checks to Mayfest and Deering Days, the Project Pool will shrink to about $1,400, leaving Senate “on track” to accommodate the few more funding requests that will likely come through in the remaining weeks, Ajith said. 

    Although it doled out $2,800 of the Project Pool Wednesday night, Senate elected not to contribute a proposed $1,000 toward a $30,000 “Blues and BBQ” celebration of Norris’s 40-year history. The event, planned for May 17, marks an attempt to promote Norris as “more of a center for student life,” drawing attendance from students, alumni and members of the Norris family, who will take part in a VIP ceremony to thank them for their generosity. 

    The Norris celebration will still occur despite ASG’s decision, Weinberg sophomore Dana Leinbach said. Allocation of these funds would have functioned as a symbolic statement expressing ASG’s support for a community activity, Leinbach said. 

    In other ASG news, the student group caucus elected Weinberg sophomore Petros Karahalios as their new whip, and Senate confirmed Weinberg sophomore K.C. Chilamkurti to the Student Activities Finance Committee to replace Sofia Sami, who had to resign her account executive position upon election as academic vice president. 


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