Northwestern student groups apply for ASG Community Engagement Grant

Jeanne Kuang, Reporter

Friday marked the deadline for applications to a new initiative by Associated Student Government that aims to build upon town-gown relations.

With the goal of funding community service projects that connect Northwestern to the Evanston community, the Community Engagement Grant will give $500 to one winning project or split the money among several ideas. SESP freshman Chris Harlow, an ASG senator who co-wrote the grant, said ASG received 14 submissions detailing ways NU students can improve the school’s relations with Evanston.

Mike Morgan, an off-campus senator and member of the community relations committee, thought of the concept for the grant.

“I had the idea for creating a grant for student groups to do some kind of community service off campus,” the Weinberg junior said.

Morgan worked with Harlow, who is also on the community relations committee, to draft and introduce a proposal. ASG voted to pass the grant in October.

Morgan said the applications will be reviewed by a selection committee comprising three ASG senators, off-campus life director Anthony Kirchmeier and Adelita Hernandez, Evanston’s citizen engagement coordinator.

Morgan and Harlow said selected projects will be notified March 1 and must be carried out during Spring Quarter. The student groups must then report to ASG about the project’s success.

Harlow said allowing students and student groups to come up with project ideas themselves was “a little more grassroots, a little more student involvement.”

Morgan said he felt that the University did not have enough grants within student groups to help them reach out of the “Northwestern bubble” into Evanston.

“Sometimes there are Chicago trips, but those are even few and far between,” he said. “The purpose of this grant was to pop that Northwestern bubble and get students off campus, working with the community, working with their neighbors.”

Happiness Club recruitment chair Alex Lower, a McCormick sophomore, submitted an application on behalf of the group. If chosen, the club will host a spring beach day for Evanston Township High School students that would include busing, food and beach activities.

“I thought that this grant would be a cool way for Happiness Club to put on an event for the people of Evanston,” he said.

Morgan said he is optimistic about the grant and happy that students have used the opportunity to develop off-campus community service ideas. He is working with ASG and the administration to try to increase grant money for future years.

“We have a very rich variety of student groups and individuals who have ideas,” he said.