Northwestern gets ‘We Will’ campaign underway with Pick-Staiger celebration

Tyler Pager, Assistant Campus Editor

Northwestern kicked off its $3.75 billion capital campaign Friday afternoon at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall with support from notable alumni, students and faculty.

The event featured a video from Stephen Colbert (Communication ‘86) and Seth Meyers (Communication ‘96), and speeches from Associated Student Government president Ani Ajith, Philosophy Prof. Sandy Goldberg and some of the campaign co-chairs.

“We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern” is the largest fundraising effort in the University’s history. NU has already raised $1.52 billion, more than 40 percent of its goal. The four pillars of the campaign, based on NU’s 2011 strategic plan, are discovery and creativity, student experience, campus and community, and global connections.

(Northwestern set to unveil $3.75 billion capital campaign)

At the beginning of the event, a video was played featuring Meyers and Colbert mocking the four pillars of the campaign while sitting at the desk of the Emmy Award-winning late night show “The Colbert Report.” However, the two ended the video by chanting “We Will,” showing their support for the campaign.

“All in all, the ‘We Will’ campaign is a great way for Northwestern to carry on its proud traditions long into the future,” Meyers said. “So for all the haters out there asking Northwestern ‘will they?’ We say, ‘Yes, we will.’”

Goldberg said the campaign will have a significant impact on the community.

“‘We will’ is not merely a slogan,” he said. “It’s the expression of a certain sort of a commitment. As a philosopher, I love to think about these kinds of things and reflect on them. As a faculty member, who is a party to that commitment, I myself am extremely proud of our common goals and our shared vision.”

Ajith, a Weinberg senior, spoke about the significance of the campaign for current students.

“This is a name that will be attached to ours and associated with ours for the rest of our lives,” he said. “That’s why I think it’s important that we participate in this campaign.”

Some students chose to spur further conversation outside Pick-Staiger and voice their concerns, protesting the University’s handling of sexual assault and misconduct. About 60 students gathered before the event and some returned as attendees exited.

(Students protest kickoff of Northwestern capital campaign)

Following the event, University President Morton Schapiro told The Daily he was pleased with the turnout and excited about the positive feedback surrounding the campaign.

“There’s a lot of big donors on the campus here today and we are hoping that some of these ideas really resonate with them,” he said.

Although there is no specific timeline, Schapiro said most campaigns usually run for about five years.

Chris Combe (Weinberg ’70), one of the campaign’s co-chairs, said after the event he is most excited about the impact the campaign will have on future students. He said the construction of Ryan Fieldhouse will be the first place that allows 2,000 students to gather in one place — something only Welsh-Ryan Arena currently offers.

“I’m excited for the students because I think there’s going to be so many new facilities that you’ll be able to take advantage of,” Combe said.

Although a major component of the fundraising plan relates to athletics, Jim Phillips, vice president for athletics and recreation, said the initiatives will impact the lives of all students. He cited the fieldhouse being able to host events such as Dance Marathon as one example of the impact the plan will have.

“I think the integration of athletics and recreation into the greater campus is a wonderful and very strategic thing that we’re trying to do with this campaign,” he told The Daily.

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