ASG’s Wednesday meeting featured the introduction of “NU in Chicago” programs, the first Posse Plus retreat on social movements and passed two resolutions, supporting trans* students and the Affordable College Textbook Act.
Associate Director of the Center for Civic Engagement Rob Donahue introduced the “NU in Chicago” initiative aiming to connect Northwestern to Chicago civic resources and create engagement opportunities. NU in Chicago will provide a “new space for us to better connect your experience to Chicago,” Donahue said.
The initiative, in partnership with ASG, the Office of Student Engagement and the Division of Student Affairs, is working on two projects. First, the initiative is starting to plan a fall orientation day of engaged learning for 300-500 incoming freshman shortly after September classes begin.
NU in Chicago will also hold periodic campus-wide engaged learning events with civic themes for students to connect with Northwestern resources in the city, expand academics and explore careers, according to Donahue. The events will seek to provide more than field trips, Donahue said, opening up students to a behind the scenes perspective on the city.
The first event from 1 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. on Mar. 1 will feature three thematic tracks, each facilitated by a staff or alumni leader and at least two stops. Students who sign up will have the option of exploring Sustainability and Conservation, Chicago History and Culture and Experiencing Art.
In the spring, the initiative will hold a global immersion language day with tours of Chicago neighborhoods given in the related language.
Director of Campus Inclusion and Community Dr. Lesley-Ann Brown and three Posse scholars discussed the 2014 Posse Plus Retreat, scheduled for April 4-6.
The Posse Foundation provides scholarships to foster a support group for the students entering Northwestern and make the university more welcome by initiating conversation on campus. Northwestern currently has ten Posse scholars.
Northwestern’s first Posse Plus retreat will feature activities and discussion around the theme of “Social Movements in the 21s Century” by examining past movements’ strategies and new techniques in the 21st century, such as social media. Posse aims for the retreat to facilitate conversation about issues students in Posse and a variety of members in the Northwestern community are passionate about.
100 students, in addition to faculty, can attend the retreat at the Lake Lawn Resort in Wisconsin.
“It’s like Sustained Dialogue on a specific topic for two and a half days,” Brown explained.
ASG passed a resolution supporting trans* students, an idea largely a product of the Association of Big Ten Students Conference, pledging to reach out and listen to the concerns of the community. The legislation defines trans* as an umbrella term for people whose gender identity or expression differs from the sex assigned at birth.
Noting the high costs of textbooks, especially at Northwestern, ASG passed a resolution in support of the Affordable College Textbook Act. The legislation, sponsored by the Illinois Democratic Senator Richard Durbin, seeks to lower the cost of textbooks through a grant program incentivizing the expansion of open educational resources.
The program aims to increase competition in the market for textbooks, explained legislation authors Lauren Thomas and Isaac Rappoport.
ASG also introduced new legislation to help student groups in a new position, Vice President for Student Activities, which centralizes student group advocacy and resource development. In two weeks, ASG will also vote on codifying the university student advisory board, a resolution supporting bankruptcy protection for students, another supporting exemption of state student loan programs and a third supporting an end to sequester cuts on higher education.