NCDC applications see sharp increase

Stephanie Yang, Reporter

A surge in applications for the Northwestern Community Development Corps has shown an increasing interest in students seeking volunteering opportunities.

NCDC saw a 40 percent increase in committee applications this year, as well as a 70 percent increase in applications for its trick-or-treating event, Project Pumpkin. Committee applications were due Friday at midnight.

Weinberg senior and NCDC co-chair Amalia Namath said the majority of applicants for Project Pumpkin were freshmen. Previous members also reapplied for committees. However, students reapplying likely did not impact the increase, she said.

The number of committee members selected would be decided by the heads of each committee, Namath added.

“There’s a lot of intense discussion, just because we really want every committee member to be heavily involved in what they’re doing,” she said.

With larger committees, Namath said, members were not always working on something all the time.

“This year, the committees are a little bit smaller for each of the different divisions, which means the selectivity will be a little bit higher,” she said.

Despite the increase in applications as well as selectivity, Namath said the organization wants to include everyone who is interested in NCDC.

“We as an organization don’t really like the idea of having to cut off someone from being involved at all in NCDC,” Namath said. “All the committee applicants we don’t end up selecting for general committees, we’re going to ask them if they want to volunteer, be a site leader or get involved with Project Pumpkin.”

Namath said NCDC is seeing several changes this year, including some restructuring of committees and a shift in focus for advocacy and the Living Wage Campaign. She said the organization is looking to focus on something very pertinent to NU students.

“With everything that NCDC does, our biggest project this year is making sure that we really are addressing the students’ concerns, bringing speakers that students want to hear on campus, and really promoting the idea of volunteering as a continuous action,” she said.

Sheena Desai, a chair of NCDC’s special events committee, said she has already selected members for her committee, which consists of just more than 50 members.

“A lot of what we did planning-wise, special events started earlier,” the Weinberg junior said.

She said because the school year started later, the special events committee had to start planning and coordinating right away, especially with Project Pumpkin.

When reading applications, Desai said she looked for applicants who seemed interested in NCDC and willing to put in effort for the organization.

“When people apply, we just want to make sure they will be committed,” Desai said. “We don’t really have time to be super restricted on who we pick.”

Weinberg freshman Kylie Pulkownik said she heard about Project Pumpkin from upperclassmen who recommended that she apply.

“Project Pumpkin sounded like a really fun thing to do,” Pulkownik said. “I wanted to be a chaperone for it, because I love kids.”

Pulkownik will be a chaperone for Project Pumpkin and she said the increase in applicants this year is a positive sign of NCDC’s presence on campus. She said it could be because of increased awareness of NCDC and its projects.

“People obviously loved it last year, so they wanted to come back,” she said. “That makes me more excited to participate.”