ASG Affinity Fund allocates $10,000 to support marginalized students


Daily file illustration by Emma Ruck

The Affinity Fund is a collaboration between Associated Student Government’s Inclusion and Justice Committee and Finance Committee.

Alex Perry, Print Managing Editor

Associated Student Government’s new Affinity Fund will financially supplement organizations that support students who hold marginalized identities and build minority representation in student organizations. 

ASG offers two specific grants aside from the new Affinity Fund: Wild Ideas and Community Building. While both fund student organizations, neither is allocated specifically for students holding marginalized identities.

Finance Co-Chairs Weinberg senior Cristina Rackley and Weinberg junior Rebecca Huang both campaigned on using the office to support marginalized students and spaces on campus that house them. 

“We are aware of the impact that these affinity groups have on the Northwestern population,” Rackley said. “And we want to make sure that they’re as successful as possible when creating community for these marginalized groups.”

According to Rackley, the idea for the Affinity Fund arose from observing how long-standing organizations such as Dance Marathon and Mayfest were able to use their “years and years of presence” at Northwestern to lobby for more funding. 

Seeing the recent inception of multiple affinity-based student organizations like the Black Mentorship Program, Rackley and Huang said they felt there was a gap in access and funding newer groups received.

“With the emergence of a lot of affinity groups popping up at NU, they’re not able to get access to the amount of resources that a lot of other clubs have had in the past,” Rackley said. 

After realizing how closely their goals aligned, Rackley and Huang worked over the summer to build a framework for the specialized fund. Throughout the process, which continued into Fall Quarter, they consulted Executive Officer of Justice and Inclusion Karina Karbo-Wright on strategies to increase the initiative’s effectiveness. 

Karbo-Wright, a Weinberg senior, also noticed the same gap that historically had financially disenfranchised newer, more diverse organizations on campus. They said they view it as a systemic issue where the current hierarchy for student organization funding is not equitable. 

“If you think about it, (NUDM and Mayfest) were on campus before there were large amounts of marginalized people on campus,” Karbo-Wright said. “Before there was a sustainable amount of Black and brown people, or poor people or openly queer people.”

For Karbo-Wright, this initiative is not a permanent solution, as more work is needed to integrate equity into how ASG distributes student organization funds. They added the Affinity Fund is merely a stepping stone to revamping the system.

The Affinity Fund is endowed with $10,000 and is accepting applications on a rolling basis. Huang said the funds are a line item under ASG’s Special Events and Projects Fund. 

Applications will be read by a team of ASG’s Affinity Fund Committee, which includes four people from the Finance Committee and another four from the Justice and Inclusion Committee, before applicants are invited to interview. 

“After seeing how successful it is for this year, we’re going to definitely try to rework some things, depending on how much we distribute, and how many applications we get this year,” Huang said. 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @WhoIsAlexPerry

Related Stories:

ASG meets to approve Fall Quarter funding allocations

ASG’s new amendment promotes inclusivity of all students

ASG moves forward with diversity and accessibility initiatives this fall