ASG incoming leadership proposes stipends to peer educators like SHAPE


Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

The Center for Awareness, Response and Education. ASG president-elect Izzy Dobbel and vice president-elect Adam Davies are hoping to provide stipends for peer educators in organizations such as CARE.

Josiah Bonifant, Assistant Campus Editor

Associated Student Government president-elect Izzy Dobbel and vice president-elect Adam Davies have recently proposed providing a stipend to support peer educators within groups like Sexual Health And Assault Peer Educators.

This idea, Davies said, was one aspect of the platform of “justice” the duo ran on. They both view organizations dedicated to sexual education and violence prevention as underappreciated and distinct from other student organizations.

“We’re trying to remove a barrier for low-income students who may need to work other jobs and may not have time to do as many workshops and presentations,” Davies said. “By decreasing those barriers to access, we hope to allow the students who are really passionate about this work to do it and be fairly compensated for the work they do.”

Davies described the idea as a “fee for service,” meaning organizations that request workshops and presentations with a group like SHAPE would pay them directly from their budgets. Davies said ASG was hoping to imitate the precedent that exists with stipends for peer inclusion educators.

Davies said their proposed system is a “sliding scale,” since smaller organizations with less resources would pay less than larger and more well-endowed groups like Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association, whom SHAPE has traditionally partnered with.

“The main thing we do for Greek life is teaching consent, since incorporating that into the culture is really important,” SHAPE executive director Sam Berston said. “Beyond that, we’ve been working with coalition building with student groups that emphasize students of color to learn more about how we can support them and also provide programming that directly affects marginalized students.”

Berston said the other focuses are important since minority communities are more “vulnerable” to a lack of sexual health education. The SESP junior said SHAPE also emphasizes sex positivity, with weekly meetings on such topics hosted through the Center for Awareness Response and Education.

Katherine Conte, ASG’s vice president of analytics, said an alternative solution to Davies’ plan would be to suggest increased funding for CARE, specifying some of those funds specifically to SHAPE. The SESP sophomore said this solution would ensure that Northwestern wasn’t favoring specific student organizations, but could still allocate funds to peer educators.

“What might be possible is to suggest increased funding to CAPS and CARE, who then might allocate it to SHAPE,” Conte said. “I know from the survey in the past that one of students’ main priorities is to increase funding to those offices.”

Berston said the proposed stipend would be appreciated by SHAPE, but it’s also important that ASG was supportive of their work and understood the time and emotional labor involved.

“The stipends are a possibility, but it’s not necessarily a focus for their platform and campaign,” Berston said. “I’m thrilled about Izzy and Adam being the new ASG presidents, since they really care about student wellbeing and especially issues of survivorship and sexual health.”

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