NUnite aims to bring student groups together

Sean Lavery

A grant project from Northwestern’s Center for Student Involvement is aiming to influence the way students work together in a meaningful way.

CSI uses the NUnite Grant to help student groups work together to create unique opportunities for the NU community. Through a competitive application process, organizations may be awarded up to $2,000 per quarter. Events can only be sponsored once, which ensures varied and fresh ideas throughout the process.

The center typically receives 10 to 12 applications per quarter, and while not every project receives funding, CSI tries to support as many projects as possible, Coordinator of Student Organizations Tracey Gibson-Jackson said.

Communication senior Shannon Oliver-O’Neil said the grant is a great opportunity for cross-community interaction.

“It can be easy to forget what amazing skills and insights students outside of our own ‘bubbles’ have to offer,” Oliver-O’Neil said.

Last spring, she used the grant to co-produce a performance project called StNUdents on Display.

The project brought together at least a dozen student groups and “explored how identity and communities are formed on campus,” Oliver-O’Neil said.

Such educational and entertaining events help realize the program’s vision of pushing organizations out of their “comfort zones,” Gibson-Jackson said.

“Many students have benefited from this program,” she said.

Oliver-O’Neil agrees the program benefits the entire University.

“One of Northwestern’s great strengths is the wide array of different communities with which students can become deeply involved. The NUnite Grant offers a financial incentive to collaborate across communities,” she said.

CSI also offers a grant for sustainability and beautification projects that enhance the University. Be the Change Grant supported the Ford solar panel project last year, an initiative to install NU’s first solar electricity system.

“That grant is where the big money is,” Gibson-Jackson said.

Unlike NUnite, the grant does not require any collaborative effort on the part of project organizers.

Applications for the NUnite grant are due Monday. Applications for Be the Change Grant will be accepted in November. Any groups that are interested in applying for either grant should visit the Norris University Center website.

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