City Watch: The City-NU capital swap

Megan Crepeau

Seriously, Evanston needs to get the picture. Northwestern isn’t going to give the city any money no matter how nicely it asks. And aldermen know it, so they should quit asking.

Of course, there have been rumblings that if the city can’t get its hands on our money, it will settle for the next best thing: our brains.

Yep, “intellectual capital” is the new buzzword about town. NU, the argument goes, has an obligation to use its formidable brainpower to help out its host city. They allow us to have the land here, or something, so how dare we not give anything back? You know, besides all the business Evanston gets in rent, retail and restaurant patronage. Come on, NU students, get on the ball.

If there is any hope of keeping town-gown relations amicable during these fiscally trying times we must be prepared to give of ourselves.

But in all seriousness, it’s a valid idea. Properly implemented, it could be a win-win situation where Evanston can scratch NU’s back and we can scratch theirs like in every other college town on the planet. So here are some friendly suggestions, fellow students. Consider my civic duty fulfilled.

Kellogg has just the thing for any cash-strapped residents: Have business students with clipboards stand in high-traffic areas, gathering e-mail addresses from any Evanstonian willing to participate in short research studies for some quick bucks. Once word gets out that you can get $5 for spitting into a tube, you can kiss your large-scale salary woes goodbye forever!

And besides, with so many big econ brains kicking around on this campus, there’s got to be some kind of financial genius who will sort out all your money problems just for fun. It’s not like they’re busy or anything, scrambling around worrying about how to fix this whole “worldwide financial crisis” thing.

Music students could volunteer at homeless shelters and soup kitchens – it’s practically career prep for an oboe major!

And you theater types, don’t think you’re off the hook. Evanston has an illustrious tradition of protesting social injustice by putting on a nice play.

A little while ago, the local thespians produced a play protesting gentrification in Evanston and Rogers Park – the characters represented local streets having a friendly squabble. Eventually they all hugged and made up, an attractive ending for our more utopian-minded theatre majors.

I’m sure Evanston will need sets and lighting and eager young things to help out with their next piece about anthropomorphic roads.

Political science majors could try their hand in the cutthroat world of Evanston municipal politics. Come winter, there will be plenty of aldermanic and mayoral candidates needing campaign managers, speechwriters, baby-kissers … There’s got to be plenty of Josh Lyman wannabes around here. Or, hey, is there a Bartlet in the house? Evanston needs a new mayor! Don’t all jump up at once.

As for McCormick … yeah, even I’m not entirely sure what they do up there.

And our esteemed journalism school has already done its part – thanks to Medill, all of Evanston gets to read snarky, poorly-thought-out columns telling you how to fix all your problems. What, you think that insight like mine just happens?