Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Plan Could Create Dorm Dedicated To Volunteering

By Emily GlazerThe Daily Northwestern

Two seniors are looking to bridge the gap between academics and community service.

Bri Zika, a Weinberg and Music senior, and Matt Loper, a SESP senior, recently sent out an e-mail to campus leaders, urging them to pass along a survey that would gauge student interest in a civic engagement house on campus.

The house would allow students involved in community service to live with one another and participate in programming such as firesides and dorm-oriented events, said Zika, co-chairwoman of the Freshman Urban Program this year and former executive board member of Northwestern Community Development Corps.

The plan is still tentative. Zika said she and Loper have not yet written a proposal and that the house’s location and number of residents would be determined by NU administrators.

If the plan goes through, much will change depending on the ideas of residents, Zika said.

“Essentially it’ll be up to the people who decide to live there – it’ll be their house,” she said.

Zika said she and Loper plan to discuss possibilities with interested students, campus leaders and faculty.

William Banis, vice president for student affairs, said any exclusive housing arrangements must come before the Housing and Food Service Policy Advisory Committee, which would then give Banis a written recommendation.

“It’s something that just isn’t automatic and is contingent upon where things are that particular year,” he said.

Banis said that if the idea had been proposed last year, there would have been a “very high probability we would’ve already had the unit in place,” because a sorority house was vacant.

Zika and Loper created a survey to determine student interest. It asks students if they would live in a civic engagement house, about their housing availability and their interest in and experience with volunteering.

“(The administration) didn’t just want (the idea) to come from two upperclassmen who think it is a good idea and who are going to graduate,” Zika said. “They want to see that this is something that a large portion of the campus really wants.”

About 125 students had completed the survey as of Wednesday, Zika said. The survey closes Feb. 4.

“I would really look forward to finding consistent groups of people to volunteer with on a regular basis,” said Rebecca Donaldson, a Communication junior and NCDC board member. She said volunteering alone can be difficult but that going with groups is “motivating.”

Jordanna Glueckauf, a Weinberg sophomore and former FUP participant, took last year off to volunteer and said the house was a good idea.

“I know that my freshman year I would’ve liked to be able to live with like-minded people and go into Chicago more and have more community service options,” she said.

Not everyone has reacted positively to the idea, Zika said, citing resistance from students living in residential colleges.

“We’re not trying to take from things that already exist or provide competition on campus – that’s not our intention in the least,” she said.

Zika also stressed connecting academics and volunteer opportunities, which other universities have already done.

“That is why FUP is so cool – you’re engaged, you’re learning and you’re living all at the same time,” she said.

Reach Emily Glazer at [email protected].

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Plan Could Create Dorm Dedicated To Volunteering