Escort Service funding top priority, according to UBPC and students

Elizabeth Campbell

More vehicles and funds for Escort Service crowned the list of recommendations the Undergraduate Budget Priorities Committee presented to administrators Tuesday, committee members said.

Improving Escort Service was an “overwhelmingly identified” desire, said Jonathan Marino, UBPC committee chairman and a SESP senior.

“Going from waiting an hour for Escort Service to 15 minutes makes a very big difference in the daily lives of students,” Marino said.

The committee recommended the university purchase two new Escort Service vehicles. Service groups, such as Northwestern Community Development Corps, could also use the vehicles, said Whitney Gretz, committee member and Weinberg junior.

The top three priorities presented by the committee were “right at the top” of student responses to UBPC’s online poll last week, Marino said.

Students used a new point system to rank items under consideration. More than 1,400 students completed the online survey, said Marino.

Seed-funding for a program that would fund summer internships for undergraduates was the committee’s number two recommendation.

“It’s a guaranteed paid internship for students, but also it creates new internships in non-traditional fields,” said Gretz, Associated Student Government student services vice president.

The committee asked for $20,000 to fund ten internships. Northwestern Alumni Association and ASG are working together to develop this initiative, Marino said.

Although the UBPC does not have power over university curriculum changes, committee members want administrators to know there is student interest in finance courses. The committee recommended different options for creating finance courses for undergraduates. One suggestion was using Kellogg School of Management doctoral candidates as teachers. The UBPC said it would cost about $85,000 to add eight new courses.

The committee took student input seriously, said Marino.

“Since it’s not a scientific poll, we can’t take it as binding,” Marino said. “But it’s the most helpful tool we have to help us make our decisions.”

The recommendations come at the end of a process that began this fall. Committee members met with student group leaders and administrators to determine how students want money spent. A preliminary poll went on HereAndNow in early January that allowed students to offer suggestions to the committee.

Marino said the committee’s research also made its presentation well-received. No administrator who attend the presentation could be reached for comment.

“There was no proposal that everybody seemed very against,” he said. “Every one of them has a chance.”

Other recommendations include increased study abroad financial aid, improvements to the Music Administration Building and crosswalk safety.

Renovations to Norris University Center, the creation of a South Campus cafe and making co-curricular transcripts available to students were addendums the committee submitted with their recommendations, Marino said.

All of these initiatives had student support, Marino said.

Reach Elizabeth Campbell at [email protected]