NU Nights to host first late night event

Jillian Sandler

NU Nights is pairing up with A&O Productions to host its first event, a 1920s-themed night throughout Norris, on Friday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. The evening will feature a free screening of “Chicago,” jazz and Charleston dance lessons, vintage photography, a raffle and free food, said NU Nights President Andrew Christy.

The Weinberg sophomore said NU Nights, which was founded Fall Quarter, aims to fill a gap in nighttime programming by bringing free weekly events to campus.

“We’re lacking that late-night slot,” Christy said. “There’s just a gap where it can be filled in with really fun programs and things that bring people together. Our mission statement is just to foster a better community by holding more of these events … It brings the campus together more.”

The group has chosen an executive board, along with committee members for public relations, weekly programming and special events, and is now planning other events. Christy said NU Nights will hold a 1990s-themed bingo night May 4. The group also plans to provide food for the outdoor Dark Side of Oz event sponsored by A&O and Mayfest on May 25, the night before Dillo Day.

NU Nights’ special events Vice President Ellyn Pena said the group hopes to make bingo a bi-weekly event with different themes and also hopes to include other events frequently.

“Bingo is something we can have that people know is there every week, but we’re also planning on doing other things to vary it up,” the SESP freshman said.

Though Associated Student Government has not yet recognized NU Nights, the group has received money from the Division of Student Affairs to support one quarter’s worth of programming and the aid of a graduate assistant. Christy said the group will assess whether it will seek ASG backing after holding this quarter’s events.

“If it attracts more students, we’ll definitely go through with that,” he said.

ASG Vice President Brad Stewart said a senate resolution supporting NU Nights passed during Fall Quarter. While Stewart, a Medill junior, could not say whether the organization would receive funding if its members decide to apply, he said the group’s events would rectify various issues within NU.

“I think they’re going to add a lot to campus,” Stewart said. “We have met extensively over the past five months with Kirstin (Nordhaus, a SESP senior and the group’s president during the spearheading process) and Andrew and are big fans of the projects. I think it will do a lot to … provide alternative programming that will help with alcohol safety issues and alleviate potential community issues that could arise because we keep students on campus instead of them (being) off campus.”

Communication freshman Katherine Scott echoed Stewart’s sentiments and said NU Nights functions would be a good way to unite the NU community.

“I think it’s a great way to have substance-free events, to give that alternative to students on campus, and I think there’s a lot of potential to have some really exciting events depending on how creative and involved they are,” Scott said. “It’d be good for bringing different sorts of people together who don’t normally hang out in the same social scene.”

The group’s graduate assistant, Carina Kak, who is enrolled in the master of science in higher education administration and policy program in SESP, said she has researched late-night programs at other universities and has found them to be well-attended.

“I’ve been extremely impressed at the ability of these late-night programs to draw a percentage of the student body at these schools,” Kak said. “The students really seem to enjoy these events.”

Kak said she could not speak to why NU had not previously implemented such events but said NU Nights won over the Division of Student Affairs with the proposal it presented in November, which garnered approval during Winter Quarter and outlined the many potential benefits of the program.

The group hopes to hold most of its events on weekends because this time is more convenient for students, Christy said.

“We’d definitely be open to having stuff on weekdays … but we’re spending money on these events so we want to make sure it’s worthwhile for campus,” he said.

Scott said she would be interested in attending functions put on by NU Nights.

“If it was a topic that particularly interested me or if they were showing a film that I liked or offering food that I liked, I would definitely go,” she said.

According to Christy, NU Nights has struggled somewhat to get its name out to students, but he said administrators and Norris personnel have helped make the process “as easy as it can be.”

Kak said she believes NU Nights will cater to students’ late-night programming desires.

“Northwestern students express that they would really like to have other places to go and things to do late at night and that they’d like to be able to do it on campus,” she said. “Evanston is not necessarily a place that will have a lot of fun late-night stuff going on, and Northwestern has the resources and now the opportunity to support that now that NU Nights has come to fruition.”

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