Committees aim for more intergroup programming

Becky Bowman

Members of ASG’s Executive Committee, Student Activities Finance Board and Northwestern’s Campus Activities Office met together on Monday for the first time in more than three years, beginning what group members hope will be a healthy relationship that will improve student group communication.

This year members from the three committees will work together in triads to better advise their groups, said Srikanth Reddy, ASG executive vice president. Although the details are not finalized, group advisers, account executives and group executives plan to hold monthly meetings and share copies of all e-mails concerning student groups, said Reddy, a McCormick junior.

The three committees all are directly involved in student group programming, and their offices are located next to each other in Norris University Center. But relations between the groups have been less than perfect, leaders said.

“All three rarely talked at once,” said Paul Wolansky, ASG adviser and Campus Activities associate director. “It was always one-on-one communication.”

Leaders of ASG and Campus Activities said they hope increased communication will help utilize resources and lead to better programming.

ASG leaders said they will encourage student groups to share events this year through co-sponsorships and co-endorsements. Working together to program events increases the number of resources available to groups and encourages higher attendance at events, Reddy said.

“It helps build bridges between groups of people that don’t usually work together,” he said. “It only helps groups.”

Co-programming, the collective term for co-sponsoring and co-endorsement, has become a buzzword for group executive platforms, said ASG Treasurer Edwin Chan, a Weinberg senior. Although the idea sounds great, Chan said it does not always work as planned.

“It doesn’t happen that way, unfortunately,” Chan said. “You need good communication for it.”

As with past relations between ASG and Campus Activities, a lack of communication has created downfalls with co-programming and has given the concept a bum rap, ASG leaders said.

When the Bisexual, Gay and Lesbian Alliance and College Republicans co-sponsored a speech by former Wisconsin Sen. Steve Gunderson, a breakdown in communication led to a scheduling conflict: Gunderson had to speak on the same night as the Women’s Coalition’s annual “Take Back the Night” march.

BGALA had difficulties in attaining a response from Gunderson’s agent, said BGALA Co-President Conci Nelson, a Speech sophomore.

When the agent returned BGALA’s call, it was too late to submit a contract for Winter Quarter, and the groups had to appeal to the ASG Senate to have funds rolled over to Spring Quarter, said James Strong, former president of College Republicans.

Gunderson attracted about 60 students, but Nelson said the situation still was disappointing.

“Is it difficult to attract people to such an event? Well, yes,” Nelson said. “It’s more difficult when you have lots of communication problems during the process.”

But some groups have no problem working out details together. When Students for Israel and the Japan Club co-hosted their Yamalkimono last year, everything was kosher, said Dan Golden, former SFI treasurer.

Golden said NU needs “more fun cultural events that are for everybody, not just like a Hanukkah party or sushi social, but mixing things up. It’s really easy to get sucked into your own crowd.”