Five student groups selected for ASG Evanston Engagement Grant

Benjamin Din, Web Editor

Five Northwestern student groups received ASG’s newly renamed Evanston Engagement Grant to fund projects that directly impact the local community.

A total of $1,300 will be given to the International Gender Equality Movement, Lending for Evanston and Northwestern Development, Purple Crayon Players, Academy of Music and Arts for Special Education and the Society of Physics Students.

This year, the selection committee reviewed 13 applications requesting more than $6,000 in total. Applicants ranged from student groups to undergraduate or graduate students.

“There was a ton of interest,” said Kevin Harris, Associated Student Goverment’s vice president for community relations, who served on the committee. “It was exciting to see so many ideas from a diverse group of students.” 

The grant, which was previously known as the Community Engagement Grant, was renamed this year to reflect ASG’s desire to focus the grant on Evanston.

“We changed it to Evanston-focused just because we think there’s so many opportunities here in Evanston pretty locally,” Harris said.

The change in focus is reflected in this year’s selection committee, which included Charliese Agnew, one of the city’s community engagement specialists. Members of ASG’s Community Relations committee and Tony Kirchmeier, the University’s director of off-campus life, also served on the committee.

“We wanted to look for projects that had a direct impact on the Evanston community,” Harris said. “We really went out of our way to look for those direct connections.”

The grant application timeline had been moved up this year, so recipients would receive their funds for Spring Quarter. In the past, recipients have had issues with implementing projects before the year ended, and money would be rolled over into the next academic year, Harris said.

Originally $600 had been set aside for the grant, Harris said, but ASG was able to increase the amount due to a surplus in funding from charging landlords for attendance at this year’s housing fair. ASG wanted to put that surplus back into the Evanston community and the grant does that, he said.

Weinberg junior Vivien Hastings, one of the co-founders of  iGEM, said the group will use the grant to help fund its second leadership summit devoted to educating local middle school girls about global issues.

“We’re hoping that the money will be able to expand our efforts to reach that greater number of people and also be able to attract more students of color and a population of participants that’s more representative of Evanston as a community,” Hastings said.

Chris Harlow, LEND’s director of fundraising, said the group plans to use the funds to host a business and microlending workshop for the community in collaboration with First Bank & Trust.

“We see a lot of benefit and only good things from Northwestern and Evanston becoming more closely connected,” the SESP junior said. “I’d love for Evanston residents to not just see me as one of those students who’s drunk down Sheridan Road at 2 a.m., but rather that we have something to contribute and provide to them as well.”

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