This Week in ASG: How you pay for Dillo Day

Jeremy Yablon

Have you ever looked at your tuition bill and seen something called the Associated Student Government activity fee? Even if the answer is no, the $50-per-quarter charge is definitely there. Well, you might wonder, where on earth is that money going?

The short answer is that the ASG activity fee is used to fund student programming at Northwestern. The distribution process is slightly more complicated, though.

The bulk of the work is done by the ASG Student Activities Finance Committee, composed of 12 undergraduate students and headed by ASG’s financial vice president.

Twice a year, the SAFC looks at student groups’ applications for funding and proposes a budget to the ASG Senate for confirmation.

So how does the SAFC make these decisions? It evaluates how much a group should receive based on its past programming performance, using factors such as quality of event planning and attendance. As you might imagine, the process can certainly get contentious with so much on the line.

Still, groups recognize that the outcomes are intended to be fair and have rarely fought amongst themselves for funding in recent years.

Did you know that the funding distribution, once confirmed by the ASG Senate, is a matter of public record?

You can look at the history of funding at the SAFC website ( and see everything that this tuition money covers.

Here are a few examples of what ASG funds: Mayfest received $238,625 to put on the upcoming Dillo Day. College Democrats’ David Axelrod and Mike Murphy debate was funded $41,691. Northwestern Community Development Corp’s Project Pumpkin event received $8,350. Alianza’s Comedy Beatdown received $11,132. Alternative Student Breaks was given $8,000 for their spring service trips. A&O Productions was funded $144,341 for their Fall Blowout Concert (Lupe Fiasco and Matt & Kim).

In total, more than 100 events are funded by the ASG activity fee each year.

How is this relevant to you? For one, it should demystify a few aspects of how ASG and your tuition “work” in actuality. Secondly, it serves to highlight all of the amazing programming that NU student groups put on every quarter, much of which you probably didn’t know about. Finally, I hope that knowing where your money goes will give you a sense of ownership over these events.

If any of this sounds interesting to you, the best thing you can do is get yourself involved.

This can be as simple as going to more events with friends or perhaps even joining a student group that puts on programming.

However, you should also consider applying to join Senate or the SAFC itself.

If you want to have a concrete impact on how programming is funded at NU, the opportunities certainly exist.

Jeremy Yablon

Former Financial Vice President, ASG

Weinberg ‘12