Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Email Newsletter

Sign up to receive our email newsletter in your inbox.



Northwestern commits to funding Dillo Day and Blowout, frees up funds for student orgs

Daily file photo by Seeger Gray
The change frees up approximately $230,000 to redistribute to other student organizations.

Northwestern has agreed to fund the anticipated costs of Dillo Day and A&O Productions’ Blowout for the upcoming academic year, Vice President of Student Affairs Susan Davis announced Sunday in an email to the NU community.

According to the email, the Office of the President is partnering with the Division of Student Affairs and the Associated Student Government to provide the additional funding.

The change freed up approximately $230,000 for ASG and the Student Activities Finance Committee to redistribute to student organizations for use in the 2023-2024 school year, according to ASG Co-Presidents Donovan Cusick and Molly Whalen. They said the additional money was redistributed to student groups through the rules utilized by the Student Activities Finance Committee in Spring 2023 and that affected organizations have been notified.

“Fall Blowout, Dance Marathon and Dillo Day are campus traditions that help make Northwestern a special place and create lifelong memories for our students,” University spokesperson Hilary Hurd Anyaso told The Daily in an email. 

Cusick and Whalen said talks between ASG and NU administration about the school funding student organizations began last fall. The pair said the gap between available and needed funding was consistently growing.

After working with student organizations to determine how much funding the groups needed for the upcoming year, Cusick and Whalen submitted a proposal to administration. The University approved the proposal with a total commitment of greater than $600,000 in July 2023. 

The funding commitment allocates approximately $102,000 for A&O productions, about $479,000 for Mayfest and about $30,000 for Northwestern University Dance Marathon, according to Cusick and Whalen.

“Our events could not happen without (the University’s) willingness to discuss and to help us bring diverse entertainment to Northwestern without compromising our core values, including financial accessibility to all students,” Weinberg senior Janitza Luna, Co-Chair of A&O Productions, said in a statement to The Daily.

In the email, Davis said the University is actively working with NUDM to plan this year’s event. Executive Director of NUDM and Weinberg senior Grace Dyer said the organization is grateful for the partnership.

The University attracted criticism in the spring after Mayfest’s executive board published an open letter in The Daily calling on administrators to provide more funding and support for Dillo Day.

“Mayfest’s executive board appreciates the efforts of ASG and of the administration in securing our funding for this year,” Mayfest Co-Chairs Darya Daneshmand and Alexandra Kahn told The Daily in a statement. “We’re grateful for the support in navigating rising costs and inflation and for having the necessary components of the festival covered financially to help us bring the best possible experience to the student body without compromising on our organization’s values.”

The University did not specify whether Mayfest’s April op-ed impacted decision-making related to the changes, nor did it provide information about any donors for funds being allocated to these events this academic year.

Cusick and Whalen said while the University has not yet committed to providing support to student organizations in future years, ASG is having ongoing conversations with administration about ensuring future support for student groups.

“They’ve definitely been willing to come to the table with us,” Whalen said. “We put together a multi-page proposal, and we were working with a lot of different administrators about this issue. I think especially after additional advocacy from student groups, they really felt the urgency from other student groups to address this issue.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @jacob_wendler

Related Stories: 

Opinion | An open letter from Mayfest Productions

ASG votes to not change MENA Student Activities Finance Committee funding

ASG Senate allocates about $29,000 to student organizations

More to Discover