Associated Student Government’s recent resolution to halve the “freshman freeze” period, during which fraternities are not allowed to host events or advertise, is a step in the right direction for a more sensible University policy toward alcohol and partying.
We appreciate that NU is not a school like the University of Florida, where Greek life recruitment begins before classes even start. But the freshman freeze policy that initially was aimed at creating delayed recruitment at this point just creates an unsafe drinking environment for new students.
New Student Week is ostensibly a dry week. In practical terms, this is a joke. While some freshmen may be terrified enough of their new CAs to hestitate while pouring that first beer, we suspect that for the majority of new NU students, the lure of freedom from parental strictures means that unless they had previous moral reasons for not drinking, official “Wildcat Welcome” policy isn’t going to stop them. The same goes for attending frat parties.
What freshman freeze really means is that these students are now drinking in unregulated, off-campus environments that are far less safe than a frat house would be. It also creates a situation where anyone hosting the party faces such punitive repercussions for having freshmen there that they might not call for medical help when needed.
Freshman freeze is part of a larger University policy that has essentially ended the policy of having “wet” frats and put much of the Greek system on probation. These policies have led to a less safe environment for the new students they are trying to protect.
While Greek letter organizations take a lot of the bad press for partying and alcohol related incidents, in reality lots of student organizations host parties involving drinking. While we know the ASG resolution is not binding on the University, we think it’s a good first step in the creation of a better and safer NU student experience.
The Associated Student Government Senate met Wednesday to discuss a proposed revamp of the shuttle system and a new sustainability program.
Mary Desler, Northwestern’s dean of students, made a guest appearance.
As the first speaker of the meeting, Desler spoke about Dillo Day topics ranging from safety to free food offered on campus.
“Dillo Day is honestly one of my favorite days,” Desler said. “I think you’re going to have a great time at the Lakefill.”
The senate unanimously passed a bill in support of the NU Sustainability Fund, a proposal that would allow students to apply for funds for environmentally-friendly initiatives. ASG President Mike McGee said the purpose of the bill was to show ASG’s support for the sustainability proposal.
“We need to get support from the administration,” the Communication junior said. “We need to show student support behind this first.”
As of now the initiative would receive funding from various grants, though McGee said it could possibly receive ASG funding in the future.
“This is just the first step in showing our support,” McGee said.
Following up on a campaign promise, ASG Vice President Tommy Smithburg presented a proposed change to the shuttle system, which he said has been approved by both ASG and University Services. He said the main goal of the proposal is to increase ridership, which has dropped off significantly since 2006, according to statistics from University Services.
The proposal includes changes to the shuttle routes, including the addition of Campus Drive to the current Purple and Purple Express routes. Construction north of the University Library currently blocks the street, and Smithburg said construction was expected to be completed by this fall.
“We think it will definitely increase rider numbers,” the Weinberg junior said.
Smithburg said changes to the shuttle system, which also include adding GPS to shuttles, are currently undergoing testing and he expects the updates to be in place in the fall.
Senators also elected seven new members to the Student Activities and Finance Committee, who deals with funding for A-status groups.
“Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” –Albert Einstein
Many of this year’s campus-wide election campaigns focused on the need for change in ASG and the “broken” nature of the current system. This reflects not only an interest in change on the part of the candidates, but also on the part of the students who, in the end, made the decision to elect those agents of change. Therefore, it is the voice of the students at Northwestern that we look to better serve in producing this document for a new Associated Student Government.
The new structure of ASG presented in this document realizes the necessary and significant changes, which cannot simply be enacted in the current structure of ASG. However, keep in mind that underlying this new system remains much of the basic structure of the current system. This ensures feasibility and smooth transitioning of the new organization.
Within this new ASG, roles are well defined and streamlined. Gaps within the organization are filled and excess responsibilities are redistributed. The accountability of each person within ASG is clearly outlined, as is the flow of information from one person to another. Overall, the new ASG provides greater efficacy and sustainability for the organization to better serve students.
The new structure also encourages an exciting and positive organizational culture. College is a time to raise questions and “think outside the box,” and the new ASG enables this innovation. Additionally, with student needs and wants continually fluctuating, the new ASG allows for flexibility. The organization is constantly evaluating itself and looking for ways to improve. The new ASG also promotes a collaborative culture. The new structure calls for teamwork, and a mindset of working towards a greater vision. It allows for students to become truly passionate about this school.
This document serves as a clarification tool for the new ASG structure. It replaces the rigid, the inefficient, and the convoluted with the intuitive, the effective, and the concise. It is simple, functional, and accessible—it is indicative of the new ASG as a whole.
And ultimately, it is answering the call for change that the student voice has made clear. It is capitalizing on an opportunity to transform the way we think about and do things here at this school. It is asking ourselves what is best for students, and what is best for Northwestern. It is far from the final say, as it is open to the ideas and intentions of students weighing in. But it is the beginning of a fundamental process to better serving the student body. It is the first step to building a better Northwestern.