oNe Northwestern debate tackles uncomfortable issues

    Criticism dominated at McCormick Auditorium Tuesday evening as more than 30 students joined the oNe Northwestern team in an informal discussion about students’ happiness at Northwestern.

    Facilitated oNe Northwestern chairwoman Claire Lew, the discussion kept its promise to “engage every student in an honest conversation about the common benefits and drawbacks of being a Northwestern student,” as the event Facebook page says.

    The project was conceived on the back of a napkin in September and has blossomed into an organization with roughly 30 members and almost 600 people in its Facebook group. According to Lew, oNe Northwestern is a “collaborative project that looks to bring the community together by highlighting and celebrating what Northwestern students share.”

    As discussion opened, participants jumped to identify the common stereotypes of Northwestern students. In an attempt to catalyze the discussion, the audience criticized Northwestern for falling behind the Ivies in academics and to the Big Ten schools in sports.

    Apathy, reluctance to take risks and lack of social skills stand out among Northwestern students’ biggest weaknesses, according to many in the audience. Participants in the discussion also took digs at the school for its lack of a social hub on campus, absence of interaction between student groups and North-South Campus divide.

    Others preferred to be constructive, suggesting that joining clubs and organizations, voicing concerns to ASG or just giving Northwestern another chance might alleviate individual and common disconcert.

    “You’ll always be able to find a niche if you remain proactive,” Weinberg freshman Nancy Dong said. Dong, a Bobb senator, added that she appreciated the honesty of the audience and the variety of people who came together.

    Not all students enjoyed the event, however, as some participants hit out at ASG members for dominating the debate and “manipulating students” with the discussion.

    “I’m not really happy that I came,” SESP sophomore Kyrsten Brown said. “At times during the discussion I felt frustrated and patronized, and the event didn’t meet my expectations or make me feel better.”

    According to Lew, the event aimed not only to discuss and consider problems, but also to address the next steps of this conversation.

    “The goals of oNe Northwestern are community, student happiness and tradition,” Lew said. “We [should] never cease thinking, talking, writing and showing who we are and what we do.”


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