ASG to connect student groups with community, mayor’s office


Leeks Lim/Daily Senior Staffer

The lighthouse gleams in the sunlight. Associated Student Government will launch a coalition connecting civically engaged student groups that want to work community organizations.

Samantha Handler, Assistant City Editor

The Associated Student Government committee for community relations is slated to launch a coalition centered on community engagement, which will have its first meeting on Tuesday.

ASG’s vice president for community relations, Michael Deneroff, said the committee will implement new partnerships this quarter in an effort to connect civically engaged groups with the city. The Community Engagement Coalition, an association of student groups working with residents and organizations in the Evanston and Chicago area, will bring civically-minded groups together so they can share ideas.

Later in the quarter, a task force will create a liaison between the mayor’s office and student associations.

Community relations committee member Alex Moore said they expect 15 to 17 groups to attend. Moore said the groups all have a similar goal in mind — giving back to either the Evanston or Chicago communities.

“Growing up in Evanston, I saw the gap between the Northwestern and Evanston communities,” the Medill freshman said. “This coalition will help to bridge that gap by encouraging more meaningful and lasting relationships with the community.”

Deneroff said the coalition will be a collaboration between student groups that engage in service or work directly with organizations in Evanston and Chicago. The coalition will meet once or twice a quarter to share information and best practices as well as plan collaborative events.

He said the coalition will be a collective effort among ASG, the groups and the Office of Leadership Development and Community Engagement.

Groups will also be able to apply for grant money from Northwestern. Derenoff said $5,000 has been allocated for the pool, though the details of the grant and application process have not been finalized.  

Deneroff said though grant money and resources from NU will help benefit the missions of the groups, the most effective part of the coalition will be groups working with each other to improve their collective impact.

“The biggest thing is getting a handle of the potential that these groups have,” the SESP junior said. “I actually think the information sharing and the collaboration between the groups will be the most beneficial part of the coalition.”

The committee will also set up a specific way for student groups to communicate with the mayor’s office, Deneroff said. The Mayoral Task Force, which Deneroff expects to start by the end of the quarter, will serve as a mechanism for the mayor’s office, community partners and other city officials to share resources and opportunities with students.

He said the idea grew out of a need for a formal process that connects student groups and community organizations looking for more student involvement.

Mayor Steve Hagerty said he sees the task force as a way for the city to receive feedback from students and share ideas that will better their experience in Evanston.

While Deneroff said they are still in the process of formalizing their plan for the Mayoral Task Force, Hagerty said he hopes he will meet with them once or twice a quarter to talk about issues going on in the city.

“It’s important because the students are as much residents of Evanston as a child here in this community or a senior in this community is,” Hagerty said. “They have a voice, and I want to hear that voice.”

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