Students, staff, Evanston residents and police gathered to discuss Northwestern-Evanston relations, as part of a series of “Community Conversations” organized by Dean of Students Burgwell Howard.
These discussions, which began more than nine years ago, are meant to create face-to-face dialogue among students, the university and residents, Howard said. “It has been a good year overall,” Howard said. “There was a little rumble in the system in the fall, but students and neighbors have responded in a positive way. I’d say we’ve progressed – we’re in a good trend.”
Mayfest co-chair Chase Jackson and Director of University Relations Josh Wasserman addressed residents’ concerns about noise, trash and safety on Dillo Day, May 28.
Efforts will be made to mitigate noise once Dillo Day events end, but Evanston residents should still expect high foot traffic around 10 p.m., Wasserman said.
Residents are most worried about the high concentration of parties on certain blocks in the neighborhood, long-term Evanston resident Matt Doherty said.
“What is concerning is that these students host parties off campus and many of them don’t even make it to Dillo Day,” Doherty said. “But [Mayfest, the university and the police] have done a good job. They’ve hit all their marks. I was impressed last year. Yes, the partying was intense, but they responded well and took care of it before it got out of hand.”
At least one dining hall will be open at night, allowing access to any student with a valid WildCard, Wasserman said. This, and a shuttle system running from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., should slow the “onslaught” of students walking back to their apartments, he said.
Before Dillo Day, NUPD will send out a “power shift” of officers to contact off-campus students to remind them to not be unruly, and also that all activities of interest will be on the lakefront, so that is where they should be on Dillo Day, not in their apartments, said Lieutenant Ronald Godby.
About 33 Northwestern police officers will be deployed to regions west of campus, on the lakefront and other areas on campus. Some officers will be on foot and others on bike, which is effective in catching “miscreants who are doing things they shouldn’t be doing,” Godby said.
The university police command center will be in the Allen Center, which overlooks the lake. Video cameras will also be set up to help monitor behavior, Godby said.
The university will distribute door hangers to off-campus housing next week to remind students about alcohol and guest policies, said Assistant Dean of Students Betsi Burns.
Noise will be strictly enforced after 10 p.m. and residents must collect all trash by 10 a.m. May 29, Burns said. To ease the cleanup process, the city will provide trash bags and gloves that will be picked up the same day.
Mayfest will also provide a refillable water station for the first time on the lakefront to reduce plastic bottle litter, Jackson said.
Dumpsters will be placed throughout the neighborhood surrounding campus to minimize sidewalk trash during Dillo Day, graduation and move-out, Burns said. The receptacles will arrive May 27 and remain until after commencement. Other issues addressed at the meeting:
- Burns reminded students that the “three unrelated” ordinance is still in place, and housing arrangements should be made with the rule in mind.
- Evanston police officer Ronal Blumenberg II encouraged student bikers to avoid the sidewalk when riding south of Clark St.
“It may seem silly but it’s a big concern to the police department and residents,” Blumenberg said. “It’s something we worry and talk about often.”
- Howard announced to residents that Northwestern is undergoing a transition phase. Patricia Telles-Irvin will replace Vice President for Student Affairs Bill Banis, who is retiring in July. Telles-Irvin is the president-elect of NASPA, the association of Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, and currently serves as vice president for student affairs at the University of Florida.
- Joey Rodger from Peaceable Cities Evanston announced that she will be organizing a dinner matching between students and town residents in the fall. “The students are amazing, the residents are amazing, so let’s all be amazing for each other over free food,” Rodger said.