With the start of a new school year, ASG convened Wednesday night for a brief introductory meeting and updates on the developments from the previous schoolyear and the summer.
ASG President Julia Watson and Executive Vice President Erik Zorn discussed their goals for the upcoming year, placing great emphasis on developing accessibility for students at Northwestern with varying range of socioeconomic status, as well as addressing the issue of sexual assault. Working to make developments dealing with the issue of sexual assault, ASG is actively promoting the “It’s on Us” campaign.
Kevin Harris, community relations vice president, gave brief updates on upcoming events, particularly Big Bite Night, which is to take place on Oct. 5 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. with 36 participating Evanston restaurants. Harris also touched upon the annual Light and Safety Walk in order to address “any broken street lights or particularly dark areas off-campus."
The business of the meeting also included a proposal of the Wild Ideas Fund. Members of the Executive Board presented the Wild Ideas Fund to Senate as the initiative to “serve as an alternative source of funds on campus for creative ideas,” and ensure that students’ ideas become realities. The Wild Ideas Fund has a budget that was approved in the spring as a part of the ASG budget.
“Students don’t have to be affiliated with a student group to apply for funds to develop a creative idea,” said Serene Darwish, vice president of student activities. “Previous models don’t really allow for new and upcoming events to receive funding. The idea of this fund is to support spontaneous and creative ideas, giving them funds with as minimal ‘red tape’ as possible. We wanted to set money aside quarterly, as opposed to within the entire year, to avoid funds running out.”
Instead of there being a $10,000 limit request, grants will be based on the merit of the idea, evaluated by a committee, who will rate the idea and allocate funds to adequately support the event or request. ASG sees this approach to funding as a much more flexible way to help students who aren’t comfortable with the Northwestern bureaucracy.
“We want people to feel that they can take charge of an idea that they have,” Watson said.
Later, announcements included the Environmental Day of Service. Registration for the event will go live a couple of weeks, giving NU students “the opportunity to volunteer at sites around Evanston,” Cilento said.
The meeting continued with a recruitment exercise to discuss the most efficient way to promote ASG and gain new members for the 2014-2015 school year.
Speaker of the Senate Noah Star adjourned the meeting by advocating a more inclusive atmosphere to create a welcoming environment for new senate members, trying to reduce barriers of participation.
“These are two very small things for us to do to make new members feel comfortable in the chamber for the first time,” Star said.
Star also stressed the importance of avoiding the use of acronyms in senate discussion.
“We want to be a welcoming and inclusive body not only for senators but for student groups, as well as being efficient,” Star said. “We have to make sure that there is a value added for attending the senate meetings. It is important to establish these new relationships and aid students in learning about how to make our university better.”