northwestern NORTH BY
THE PRICE OF THE PARTY Socially deprived students are calculating the personal and communal costs of the pandemic college experience. | pg. 35
LONG LIVE THE KING Students share their fondest Burger King memories. | pg. 6
DANCING ON OUR OWN NUDM 2021 adapted to a changing campus culture – and world. | pg. 17
MOMAGERS OF NU Inside the minds (and Facebook accounts) of Wildcat parents. | pg. 58
northwestern NORTH BY
“If COVID-19 ended tomorrow, what’s the first thing you would do?” Reveal my true height to everyone who’s only ever met me on Zoom
Find the nearest gathering of 10+ people and remember what non-Zoom conversations feel like
PRINT STAFF EDITORIAL
PRINT MANAGING EDITOR Elise Hannum SENIOR FEATURES EDITORS Maggie Galloway, Jenna Greenzaid, Teresa Nowakowski SENIOR SECTION EDITORS Nathan Ansell, Annie Cao, Emma Chiu ASSISTANT FEATURES EDITORS Grace Snelling, Olivia Evans ASSOCIATE EDITORS Eva Herscowitz, Uninstall the COVID Sarah Meadow, Tabor Brewster, Andrew Kwa symptom tracker app EDITOR-AT-LARGE Michael Korsh ASSISTANT EDITORS Brendan Le, Tessa Paul, Joseph Ramos, Rayna Song DIRECTOR OF FACT-CHECKING Jennifer Zhan MAG-TO-WEB EDITOR Amy Guo Dine-in at every Evanston restaurant
Play Cascada’s “Everytime We Touch” in a crowded room and watch nature take its course
Go to any live concert
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Maren Kranking ASSISTANT CREATIVE DIRECTOR Alisa Gao PHOTO DIRECTOR Carly Menker DESIGNERS Emma Estberg, Sooim Kang, April Li, Agnes Lee, S. Kelsi Yu PHOTOGRAPHERS Victoria Benefield, Chiara Dorsi
WRITERS Joan Gwak, Allison Ma, Jenna Anderson, Jimmy He, Lalla-Aicha Adouim, Olivia Alexander, Julietta Thron, Maria Caamaño Garcia, Ali Bianco, Michelle Liu, Ryan Kim, Madaleine Rubin, Julietta Mkrtychian, Gia Yetikyel, Lauren McCaffrey, Allison Rauch DESIGNER Allison Ma FACT-CHECKER Russell Leung
Go to karaoke with my friends and sing so loud I lose my voice the next day
WEB STAFF MANAGING
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Maya Mojica EXECUTIVE EDITOR Giovana Gelhoren MANAGING EDITORS Eugenia Cardinale, Grace Deng, Olivia Lloyd, Gia Yetikyel ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITORS Gabrielle Nadler, Melissa Santoyo, Linda Shi
Eat breakfast NEWS EDITOR Shannon Coan POLITICS EDITOR Trent Brown CREATIVE WRITING EDITOR Ilana Arougheti FEATURES EDITOR Felix Beilin SPORTS EDITORS Coop Daley, Jordan Landsberg LIFE & STYLE EDITORS Jordan Hickey, Teresa Nowakowski OPINION EDITORS Kate Schlager, Eli Doroshow ENTERTAINMENT EDITORS Bailey Richards, Hug every single Jayna Kurlender person I see SCIENCE & TECH EDITOR Annie Cao AUDIO EDITOR Maria Caamaño Garcia PHOTO/VIDEO EDITOR Christine Potermin GRAPHICS EDITOR Kylie Lin INTERACTIVES EDITORS David Deloso, Amy Guo
SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER Jordan Hickey GRAPHICS COORDINATOR Kylie Lin
CORPORATE PUBLISHER Tina Huang DIRECTOR OF AD SALES Vivian Xia DIRECTORS OF MARKETING Hannah Song, Lami Zhang WEBMASTER Beck Dengler DIVERSITY & INCLUSION EDITOR Ali Bianco WELLNESS CHAIR Jayna Kurlender FUNDRAISING CHAIR A.V. Vo DIRECTOR OF TALENT David Deloso
Dance on tables with my friends at a crowded party
COVER DESIGN & ILLUSTRATION BY MAREN KRANKING
THE PRICE OF THE PARTY Socially deprived students are calculating the personal and communal costs of the pandemic college experience.
COMMUNITY OF CARE How organizations at Northwestern and beyond are using mutual aid to uplift their communities.
CONFINED AND CONFUSED Winter Quarter at Northwestern is notoriously isolating. Enter 2021.
PHOTO STORY 49
TO ALL THE CAMPUS SPOTS I’VE LOVED BEFORE Students reflect on the places that make Northwestern feel like home.
PREGAME PREGAME PREGAME 5 BEST OF BOTH WORLDS 6 LONG LIVE THE KING 8 LOVES ME, LOVES ME NOT 10 CHANGE ON THE HORIZON 12 HIGHLY DECORATED 14 EATING YOUR WAY THROUGH EVANSTON
PHOTO BY MAREN KRANKING
orthwestern University is home “I’m thrilled for the girls,” Pollard “With our reputation, it’s been a to world-renowned academics, says. “I think the ranking can be very long time coming,” Popovec says. but its athletic achievements motivating. But you’ve also got to back These combined results have affected aren’t as illustrious. The Wildcats’ eight it up.” the overall perception of Northwestern national championships rank thirdPollard’s squad isn’t the only recent sports. After last season’s 26-4 record, to-last in the Big Ten Conference, and success story. Women’s basketball won women’s basketball head coach Joe Northwestern hasn’t captured an NCAA 12 of their last 18 games. Aided by McKeown was able to secure three top-60 title in a sport other than women’s excellent shot ESPN recruits, leading the conference. lacrosse since 1941, before World War creation and “Individual seasons can have II ended. third-year a big impact,” says Medill thirdFollowing a Citrus Bowl victory Veronica year Eric Rynston-Lobel, sports over Auburn and a top 10 finish in director for WNUR. “The combination the Associated Press rankings — of winning a Big Ten title, a newly Northwestern football’s best since 1995 renovated Welsh-Ryan, a brand new — there was inevitable NFL speculation practice facility … It has a big impact surrounding head coach Pat Fitzgerald. on how this program is viewed, and ESPN reporter Adam Schefter noted people want to come here.” noted that Fitzgerald, the Bobby Dodd It’s hard to say what exactly is Coach of the Year Award winner, contributing to this above-average had received interest from multiple performance or how permanent franchises. So when the Northwestern it could be. It’s harder still to alumnus signed a contract extension guess whether Chicago’s Big Ten through 2030, some were surprised. team could ever boast an athletic “From the moment I prominence to rival its academic stepped on campus as an status. For Rynston-Lobel, it’s a undergraduate, I have matter of perspective. believed this is the finest “There’s been a lot of athletic University in the country, with the success in the past three years,” he says. potential to offer an unmatched “It’ll play some role moving forward. student-athlete experience,” Fitzgerald Recruits take notice.” said in a published statement. Some coaches and pundits partially In addition to football, several credit the transformation to former other teams are posting recent bests. athletic director Jim Phillips. Phillips, Women’s basketball won an NCAA now the commissioner of the Atlantic tournament game for the first time Coast Conference, was responsible for since 1993. Softball started undefeated a number of overhauls from April 2008 through nine games. Women’s tennis to January 2021, including opening is eighth in the nation, which would the Walter Athletics Center and be their highest season-end ranking renovations of Welsh-Ryan Arena. in over a decade; first-year Maria “You’ve slowly seen the evolution Shusharina has demonstrated a keen of our athletic department throughout ability atop the lineup, helping others Not to jinx it, but could North- [Phillips’] tenure, and you’ve seen western become a sports move down in the singles order. success in so many sports. It’s “Everyone’s in a spot they’re very unbelievable. And it’s exciting,” Popovec school? comfortable with,” says Claire Pollard, says. “Now, within the past five to 10 the women’s tennis head coach. years, it’s not so much ‘academics, WRITTEN BY NATHAN ANSELL // DESIGNED BY SOOIM KANG “The last couple of years, we academics, academics.’” were asking everyone to play one spot Burton’s NCAA-leading 4.04 steals per In addition to holding roles on NCAA above where they were really able to game, the Wildcats earned a #7 seed in committees and leading fundraising be competitive at every position with the NCAA tournament. efforts, Phillips also contributed to a every team in the country.” “Everyone’s in a good place,” Kate changing atmosphere across programs. During the pandemic, Pollard used Popovec, an assistant coach and According to Popovec, he not only knew last season’s abrupt end for some soul- recruiting coordinator for women’s virtually every student athlete by name, searching. She led weekly in-depth basketball, says. “ We’re playing for but also their major and hometown. analysis sessions over Zoom, which something bigger than anything in “He built a really unique culture here,” she says built a camaraderie that the regular season.” Popovec says. “I don’t think that’s going transferred into strong early results. Although the team won the Big Ten to go away just because he has gone.” Still, she knows there is work left to in 2020, they’ll finally have their shot be done. at a tournament run one year later.
est of oth
PHOTOS BY MAREN KRANKING
LONG LIVE THE KING
Students share their fondest Burger King memories. WRITTEN BY JOAN GWAK AND ALLISON MA DESIGNED BY ALLISON MA
ince May 1976, the Orrington Avenue Burger King served as Northwestern University’s social hub, with hot, greasy food and a weirdly welcoming, harshly lit interior. However, on Dec. 16, 2020, the franchise fell to the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and closed its doors, devastating Northwestern undergraduates who looked forward to returning to the fast-food restaurant when school resumed on campus. Burger King entered the Northwestern community as a surprise and a risk. Prior to its establishment, Evanston residents had objected to fast-food restaurants because they had created litter and became “hang-outs for teenagers,” according to The Daily Northwestern. During its lifetime, the restaurant gained popularity not only for its food — perfect for instant gratification — but also for its operating times. It began as a 24-hour establishment in the 1980s, then shifted to being open until 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. as of January 2020, in sync with the late night cravings of college students. The following stories illustrate just the tip of the iceberg of the wholesome and out-of-the-ordinary memories students made at Burger King.
Sir Burger King “Sir Burger King” was the nickname Medill second-year Elbert Xie earned through infamous stories of him going to BK around three times a week before its closing. It was his place to talk to his friends about love interests or to enjoy comfort food after a night out. “Especially when it’s Winter Quarter and it’s super cold outside, and you go inside Burger King and get its fresh, steamy, hot fries,” Xie says with an expression of longing. “The quality is pretty bad, but you go there because the quality is so bad. It’s something with the janky atmosphere and how run-down the restaurant was and the quality of food. It’s just perfect for a late-night college student.” BK also has an important place in Xie’s heart because it was a meeting spot for him and Sam, one of his closest friends at Northwestern. “We met a lot at Main and got to talk to each other a lot there, but when we actually had more serious conversations, most of it was at BK,” Xie says. “For a span of one to two weeks, I was simping over this girl, and I would literally just say, ‘Hey, I have stuff to talk to you about. Let’s hit up BK.’ I asked him frequently because I knew he would agree so frequently. That was definitely some quality bonding with Sam.”
The Cold Never Bothered Us Anyway The snow did not stop McCormick and Weinberg fourth-years Grant Spaulding and Brandon Tang from jogging in their t-shirts and shorts under winter coats to Burger King at 4 a.m. It was midterm week in Winter Quarter, and Spaulding and Tang — then underclassmen — were starving and fed up with studying in their Allison dorm room. “We just look over at each other and go, ‘BK?’” Spaulding says. That was enough to seal the deal to make the trip to Burger King, even though it was lightly snowing outside. Having stayed in their dorm the entire day studying and only going downstairs to the dining hall to eat, Spaulding and Tang were in t-shirts and shorts and couldn’t bother to put on more than just their winter coats. “We just threw on whatever,” Spaulding says. “We probably should’ve bundled up more, but we were like, ‘Screw it,’ and literally jogged from the front doors of Allison through the Quad, then went down to Burger King and used the app to get some deal on nuggets and fries.” After waiting for an unreasonably long time, Spaulding and Tang ran back to their dorm room through the cold to eat their food. “It was probably another two or three hours of studying before we finally went to bed,” Spaulding says. “While I’m definitely not trying to stay up that late anymore, those were good times.”
Home Sweet Home One night after a Christmas party, David Deloso, a Medill third-year and former editorin-chief of NBN, arrived at his dorm, hungry and craving BK. Slightly delirious, Deloso called a Lyft to Burger King — just not the one on Orrington. This one was a seven-minute car ride away from campus. He realized too late that he had set the wrong destination. “After I got out of the car, I sat on the sidewalk, contemplated life and regretted my decisions,” Deloso says. He eventually Lyfted back to the “real” Burger King and treated himself to what sounded like the biggest burger on the menu, the Rodeo Stacker King. “Being there after going through a whole night of trying to get there was a cathartic experience,” Deloso says. “It was like I finally reached the promised land.”
The Birthday King Burger King was McCormick third-year Elijah Trella’s favorite fast-food restaurant growing up. When he stepped foot on campus and found there were not a lot of Hispanic restaurants like what he had back home in Midlothian, Illinois, the Evanston Burger King only meant more to him — enough to spend his 20th birthday there. “I was asked which restaurant I wanted to go to, but I couldn’t think of anything,” Trella says. “So I ended up choosing Burger King, which also happened to be near my dorm, Chapin.” Not only did Trella use a family dinner coupon to order four Whoppers, three cheeseburgers, two large fries and two drinks for himself and two other friends; he also opened his presents there. “One present was a gag gift where my friend made a jello with an office stapler inside,” Trella says. “I also received a watch from another friend.” To top it all off, one of Trella’s friends suggested that he wear the Burger King paper crown on his special day. “I had to ask the cashier for it,” Trella says. “But they had it right behind the counter, so I wore the kiddie crown.” While he admits Burger King is an unorthodox place for celebrating a birthday, Trella says BK made his birthday all the more memorable.
Rest in Peace On January 4 at 11 p.m., five Medill second-years lurked behind BK, eyes set on the giant “Burger King” sign in the dumpster. “It was very clearly discarded, so stealing it was just one of those moments when we were like, ‘This is going to just be like a college memory,’” says Alex Chun, one of the new owners of the BK sign. Chun and his roommates safely stored the sign in the sunroom of their apartment on Maple Avenue, now informally dubbed “the BK house.” Meher Yeda, Chun’s roommate, posted a photo of themselves with the sign on Twitter with the caption, “she lives in our haus,” to which the official Burger King account responded, “pls take care of her.” While Burger King no longer has a building to call home, the 6-by-6 foot sign has secured a place of its own, a monument to the lasting legacy of Northwestern’s lively, hungry nightlife destination.
LOVES ME, LOVES ME NOT The matches that worked – and didn’t – from the NU Marriage Pact.
WRITTEN BY JOSEPH RAMOS // DESIGNED BY AGNES LEE
n Nov. 25, 2020, nearly 3,000 students received an email that might have brought them one step closer to true love. Using a program tailored to create the best romantic match, the Northwestern Marriage Pact played matchmaker for students, coupling them up according to survey responses. But how did it work out? NBN followed up with three star-crossed pairings to see the successes — and the shortcomings — of the matchmaking algorithm.
CAUGHT UP IN CALIFORNIA Three months after first-year Emily* and her boyfriend of nine months broke up, she decided to fill out the Marriage Pact. Still sad from her split at the end of August and slightly hung up on her ex, she saw the idea of finding a match as a way to move on. “It was more like a thing where I want a man and this could be a way to find one, whether it be just a friend or a possible relationship or hookup,” Emily* says. Emily* was excited to get her match, and she was even more excited when he messaged her on Instagram. Over the course of a day, they had an extensive conversation about the weather in Los Angeles, Quinn XCII and their shared love of heist movies. Emily* was feeling optimistic, but when she looked at his profile, she noticed posts with a girl from his hometown.
“[She] seemed to be his girlfriend, because they went to prom and had anniversary posts,” Emily* says. “I was like, ‘They’re probably broken up, [so that’s why] he did the Marriage Pact.’” He soon asked for her Snapchat, and they continued their conversation there. After a few days, though, she noticed a trend that she found odd: She would reply to him every few hours, and he would respond in under a minute, which she said is uncommon to how people usually Snapchat new acquaintances. Because of this, she started responding less, and the conversation petered out. Emily* and her match continued snapping for several weeks, until one evening late in winter break when Emily* received a message from her best friend at Northwestern Lauren*. Lauren* lives in the same area of Northern California as Emily’s* match.
That night, Lauren* had driven to a popular sunset viewing spot in her area. After she parked, she noticed two familiar faces pulling into the spot to her left. Lauren* whipped out her Instagram to confirm her suspicion: It was Emily’s* match and the girl from his Instagram posts. Lauren* immediately texted Emily* and told her to check her match’s Snap Map location. It confirmed he was at the same spot, and Lauren* even saw a Northwestern sticker and a sticker from the match’s high school on the back of his car. Assuming he was still in a relationship, Emily* ghosted her match. Their only interaction since has been making brief eye contact in Elder Dining Hall after moving onto campus. “Maybe he saw it just as friends, but then why would he reach out to me if he still had a girlfriend and not tell me he had a girlfriend?” Emily* says.
CUPID PLAYS MORTAL KOMBAT When John* got his match in late November, he knew he just wanted a friendship. He had a girlfriend at the time and said he solely filled out the Pact to meet new people. After making that clear, he and his match started to get to know each other over Snapchat in early December. However, their conversation abruptly ended after he forgot to respond to one of her texts. After moving on campus for Winter Quarter, John* decided to reach out to his match again with the hope of establishing an actual friendship. The
BLUEBERRY CHEESE Zoe Maroko was finishing a shift at the PINK storefront near her New Jersey home when she got the email. The subject line read, “ Match announcement .”
two hung out with a couple of her friends at her off-campus apartment, and a week later he invited her over to the fraternity house he lives in. They were playing Mortal Kombat in his room when another member of the fraternity, David*, walked in to meet John’s* match. “Instantly, I could see in his eyes just desire,” John* says. “[I thought], ‘Oh god, now I’m going to have to hook these two up.’” David* sat down and joined their game. He and John* have a wellestablished Mortal Kombat rivalry, and while the three played, John’s* match became very competitive as well — even trash-talking her opponents.
As this happened, John* noticed the sparks between his match and David*. “They start talking, they’re playing video games together, they’re vibing,” John* says. “I’m like ‘OK, this is kind of cute.’ Lowkey my Marriage Pact [match], but you know what, I can fall on my sword for this one. We’re just friends anyways.” John’s* match came back to the house to play video games a few times after that, and she and David* got closer. The two eventually started hooking up and have been doing so for the majority of the quarter. They still hang out with John* occasionally, who said he and his match will remain solid friends for the foreseeable future.
Maroko, a Communication first-year, deferred Fall Quarter, and after many months at home, she was ready to start making connections in college. So, she decided to reach out to her match. “Hi! Did you do the Marriage Pact thing?” Maroko wrote in a direct message to him on Instagram. “ Ye a h , w e g o t m a t c h e d r i g h t ? ” he replied. The two started texting, first talking about music and their mutual appreciation of Halsey. After about a week, he asked if she wanted to FaceTime. They quickly developed a light-hearted dynamic, poking fun at things like each other ’s food tastes. Maroko frequently teases him for his love of blueberry cheese. Following that first call, the pair started video
chatting every couple days for the rest of winter break. “We would just talk until one of our phones died,” Maroko says. They first met in person after moving in for Winter Quarter. He had lived on campus in the fall and offered to show her around. It was awkward at first, but they soon slipped into their usual friendly banter, Maroko says. From there, it felt natural. Since the walk, they have tried campus food staples such as Fran’s Cafe and MOD Pizza and gone thrift shopping. Maroko now calls her match one of her closest friends. “I’m really lucky to have met him,” Maroko says. *Names have been changed to preserve anonymity. PREGAME
n o z i r o H e h t Change on Sunrise NU brings climate change awareness to campus.
WRITTEN BY JENNA ANDERSON // DESIGNED BY APRIL LI
fter his home and school in San Diego nearly burnt down in the Poinsettia Fire in May 2014, Medill first-year Nick Francis became passionate about climate activism. As the fire raged through California, destroying 24 structures and 600 acres of land, Francis’s
Movement. Founded in 2017, Sunrise is a national, youthled, grassroots movement that works to mitigate climate change through government action, according to the Sunrise website. Many local Sunrise chapters also align themselves with other movements, including defunding the
Change is radical, but change is so possible, especially when you immerse yourself in it. - RIVA AKOLAWALA, Communication third-year
family had to evacuate their home for four days. “I’ve lived first-hand a lot of the effects of climate change,” Francis says. “That really inspired me to recognize that it’s a problem.” About a year ago, Francis began searching for environmental movements to support and found videos and articles about the Sunrise
police, Medicare for All and the sovereignty of Indigenous nations. Francis joined Sunrise Northwestern, a local “hub” of the national movement. Six Northwestern students — Riva Akolawala, Eden Berke, Georgia Caras, Idan Katz, Natalie Mogul and Emmet Smith — brought Sunrise to Northwestern this quarter.
Students involved in the hub join protests and other actions set up by the national organization. They also work to build an on-campus community of students passionate about climate justice. “With something as big as climate change, it’s hard to see how you can envision yourself giving back and helping with the cause,” says Caras, a SESP fourthyear and the club’s current president. “Sunrise exists to provide that kind of place for young people to feel like they’re making a difference.” One of the national organization’s main focuses is generating support for the Green New Deal, a congressional resolution to mobilize every aspect of American society to achieve 100% clean and renewable energy. Over 200 Sunrise protesters from across the country advocated for the Green New Deal by staging a sit-in at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) office in November 2018. Rep.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DNY) joined the demonstration and later introduced the Green New Deal to Congress in February 2019 with Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA). In a January 2021 press release, Sunrise activists said Democratic control of the presidency, the Senate and the House offers the best hope for making the Green New Deal a reality. “Change is radical, but change is so possible, especially when you immerse yourself in it,” says Akolawala, a Communication third-year. Sunrise Northwestern became an official club this quarter, but its origins on campus go back to last winter. Last January, a group of 12 Northwestern students (including Caras, Berke, Akolawala and Mogul) started to organize a Sunrise “strike circle,” a small group that plans a demonstration in an area. In preparation for the national movement’s Earth Day protests, students hoped the strike circle would express their frustration with the
lack of government action to address climate change. While COVID-19 forced Caras and her co-organizers to cancel the strike, they still wanted to bring Sunrise to campus. After working with the national organization, Caras established a Northwestern hub. While Sunrise Northwestern supports other climate activism groups on campus such as Fossil Free Northwestern, Sunrise organizers say their top priority is different. “This is the first group that is specifically attached to the Sunrise movement and focused on championing the Green New Deal,” Caras says. Because the pandemic has limited in-person protests, Sunrise organizers have focused on education. The national movement shared educational resources with Sunrise Northwestern about the Green New Deal and environmental racism. Locally, Sunrise Northwestern used social media to spread awareness of a mid-February
hunger strike against the opening of a metal recycling plant on the Southeast Side of Chicago in South Deering, a majority Black and Latinx
says Berke, a SESP fourthyear. “There are certain people and communities who are more impacted by the climate crisis.”
We want to be a huge part of the fight to get this country on the right track, to actually have a livable planet in a hundred years. - GEORGIA CARAS, SESP fourth-year and president of Sunrise Northwestern
neighborhood. The metal shredder in the plant produces hazardous dust particles that can cause lung and heart problems, according to an article from The Guardian. “Climate justice and racial justice are obviously interlinked in our eyes,”
Even with a six-person executive board, Berke says the club tries to avoid a “hierarchy.” Members create a collaborative environment within the club by letting every student voice their ideas. Francis says he felt welcomed and valued as
a first-year, which wasn’t always the case in other clubs. “It’s a slice of home,” Francis says. “Everyone is so inviting, and we’re all so aligned in this passion. Anybody can have any amount of influence in the club that they want.” There are around 200 names on Sunrise Northwestern’s email list, though about 25 students attend the biweekly meetings. Leaders of the new club are hoping for growth through word of mouth and encouraging younger members to bring their friends to meetings. “Our main mission is to make sure that students walk away from our club feeling like they have actually made a tangible change that day in the fight for climate justice,” Caras says. “We want to be a huge part of the fight to get this country on the right track, to actually have a livable planet in a hundred years.”
Highly decorated Making quarantined housing a quarantined home.
rom fairy lights to plastic ivy to pictures from home, dorms at Northwestern University have their fair share of decorative staples. But some students have moved beyond the ordinary collection of items by buying (or making) unique conversation pieces to display. From an in-dorm cinema fort to a poster of Kim Jong-un, these are the stories behind seven Northwestern first-years’ unconventional dorm decorations.
WRITTEN BY JIMMY HE // DESIGNED BY SOOIM KANG
A Sacred Heart of Jesus Candle? Nope. In place of Jesus’ head is the chiseled face of actor Timothée Chalamet. For Medill first-year Catherine Duncan, what started as an inside joke between her and a hometown friend about their mutual love of Chalamet turned into a personal going-away gift that now sits in her Allison Hall dorm room. “I was surprised that she found it, but I wasn’t surprised that something like this was out there,” Duncan says. The candle serves as a funny yet meaningful reminder of their friendship. After all, what’s better than having Timothée Chalamet within arm’s reach? Item: Timothée Chalamet Jesus Candle Owner: Catherine Duncan, Medill first-year Dorm: Allison Hall
Item: Bowling Ball Owner: Leah Ryzenman, SESP first-year Dorm: Ayers Hall Lined up against the back of SESP first-year Leah Ryzenman’s room in Ayers Hall are two nightstands, a fridge and… a bowling ball? Neither Ryzenman nor her roommate bowl, but on a trip to Goodwill, Ryzenman’s roommate decided to add an uncommon decoration to their dorm. The white, blue and black marbled ball always intrigues visitors. When people ask why she keeps it in her dorm, Ryzenman typically responds with a simple reply: “Why not?”
Item: Dorm Cinema Fort Owner: Nozizwe Msipa, Communication first-year Dorm: Allison Hall What do you get when you combine an empty dorm bed with extra sheets? An in-dorm cinema fort, according to Communication first-year Nozizwe Msipa. Msipa, who lives in an Allison Hall double-turned-single, transformed her room’s unused bed into any child’s dream fort, complete with fairy lights and an Adventure Time Lumpy Space Princess plush. “I had two beds and lots of sheets, and I was just struck by inspiration,” Msipa says. “There was nothing telling me no.” Since she uses the fort on most days to watch movies, Msipa says she plans to keep it up for the rest of the quarter and will continue to order more pillows and lights to beautify her personal hideaway.
Item: Kim Jong-un Flag Owner: Hank Yang, Medill first-year Dorm: South Mid-Quads Strolling past the front of South Mid-Quads at night, you might spot a smiling face peeking through the window: the face of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. Kim stands in front of an ocean beside curvy lettering that reads, “Live, Laugh, Love.” This curious image is featured on a flag owned by Medill firstyear Hank Yang, who received it as a birthday gift in January. Yang says his side of the room used to be pretty bare, but now the decorative flag takes up plenty of wall space. Yang’s roommate, Weinberg first-year George Graham, has adjusted to the flag. “Every morning I wake up and see Kim Jong-un’s wonderful smile,” Graham says.
A product of a particularly stressful week of college combined with an unused box of condoms, Calvin sits on the window ledge of SESP first-year Emily Lester’s dorm room. After her roommate, McCormick first-year Hannah Rabenhorst, found the condoms in her drawer, the two blew them into balloons, danced around with them and put a face on one, naming it Calvin. Lester originally displayed Calvin in her room, but after realizing he was in her Zoom background, she relocated him out of frame. Always sporting a smile, Calvin has a clear view of the Weber Arch from his window abode, Lester says. Item: Calvin the Blowup Condom Owner: Emily Lester, SESP first-year Dorm: 1838 Chicago
Item: Shoehorn Golf Club Owner: Savir Maskara, Weinberg first-year Dorm: North Mid-Quads
Item: Spotify Poster Owner: Ben Lankfer, Weinberg first-year Dorm: 560 Lincoln St. Stretching across the wall of Weinberg first-year Ben Lankfer’s 560 Lincoln St. dorm room is an eye-catching rainbow collage. The collage is composed of 125 handpicked album covers from a variety of artists, and each image is paired with the Spotify scan code of a corresponding song. After seeing other Spotify code projects on TikTok, Lankfer says he was inspired to create a display using his own favorite songs. Pop artists dominate the wall, with Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift as standouts. Lankfer says the poster is a particularly personal decoration. “It’s not just a bunch of album art,” Lankfer says. “It’s something special to me and not something that everyone has.”
Shoehorn on one side, golf club on the other. For Weinberg first-year Savir Maskara, it’s the perfect practical dorm decoration. Before leaving for college, Maskara and his friends organized a “Goodwill Secret Santa,” with each person buying a $5 gift from the store. Maskara received the shoehorn golf club. While he admits the golf club head doesn’t serve a purpose in the dorm room, Maskara uses the shoehorn to put his boots on. “I have a lot of boots, and I’m not very used to putting them on,” he says. “It’s easier to just use a shoehorn than to yank it up my leg.” Maskara conveniently hangs his shoehorn golf club on a hook close to his closet, so it often sparks inquiries from guests. PREGAME
Eating your way E through Evanston How Evanston eats measure up. WRITTEN BY LALLA-AICHA ADOUIM // DESIGNED BY EMMA ESTBERG
vanston is only 45 minutes away from the culturally diverse heart of Chicago. However, its population is overwhelmingly white, accounting for 66% of the residents. Evanston restaurants, however, are pockets of culture for students and residents to experience through various ethnic spreads. For some Northwestern students, these places are a reminder of their home and culture.
526 Davis St This sleek and modern sushi restaurant lives in the heart of downtown Evanston, just a block south of Whole Foods. It provides several comforting options, such as miso soup and teriyaki-glazed salmon, but also serves a traditional array of sushi rolls. California rolls and shrimp tempura are its more standard offerings, while unique rolls like "Sex on the Beach," which contains shrimp, eel, mango and lobster, are available for the more adventurous customer. Its sushi is well-made but not stellar compared to the more accessible Whole Foods sushi, especially considering the price (a standard California roll is $5.50). However, there is a special meal plan where customers can pay $100 to order five sushi sets throughout the year, each set including three rolls and two appetizers.
Salmon, salmon avocado, and California rolls from Todoroki. PHOTO BY CARLY MENKER
Mumbai Indian Grill
1728 Sherman Ave Instead of trying to find a slightly overpriced thrifted item at Crossroads Trading, stop by this small Indian restaurant to its left. It’s easy to miss, and its red awning blends into the looming presence of the nearby Northwestern Campus Gear store. However, this restaurant is worth the search: Its naan brings more comfort than a purple hoodie ever could. Inside, you’ll find a small and cozy establishment adorned with quaint curtains. The restaurant's food comes in large portions, so the $13.99 for chicken tikka masala is not wasted. While it has popular curry options, go for the biryani (vegetable or chicken), as it is a wonderful explosion of spices such as saffron, cumin and coriander — a break from the bland food in the dining halls. “It all felt like home food,” SESP first-year Armaan Ajani said. “It was the same as going to Devon Street in Chicago … I could tell it was authentic Indian food.”
Chicken tikka masala and naan bread from Mumbai Indian Grill. PHOTO BY MAREN KRANKING
Cozy Noodles and Rice 1018 Davis St This Thai restaurant is a small hole-in-the-wall that serves a wide selection of noodle-based entrées. The walls are covered in an eyecatching array of trinkets; colorful 1960s ads, pop culture figurines and action toys make it look like an eccentric collector’s basement. For all of its unconventional decor, the cooking at Cozy Noodles has a distinctly homey feel. Options such as pad see ew, a dish made of stirfried noodles with the tangy flavor of soy sauce, and the staple Thai Tom Yum soup, known for its sour and spicy taste, are perfect on a cold Evanston night. Prices average around $10 for entrees, which is well worth the experience of eating here. (It’s also BYOB.) Pad see ew from Cozy Noodles and Rice. PHOTO BY CARLY MENKER
1026 Davis St The moment you walk into Taco Diablo, you can’t help but feel the warm ambience of its rustic appearance. With exposed brown brick walls and hanging lightbulbs, this establishment is very cozy. Even the paintings bring a sense of joy through their bright colors and depictions of various Mexican celebrations. This is not a basic Mexican chain restaurant like Chipotle; instead, it offers fresh ingredients and a taste that will make you think it was home-cooked. The restaurant serves a wide range of tacos, from the carne asada to more specialized tacos like the duck and pork chorizo. You can clearly see the stack of ingredients on the tacos, including the lettuce, meat and perfectly-placed sauces.
The Impossible vegan taco from Taco Diablo. PHOTO BY VICTORIA BENEFIELD
Gyro over rice with white sauce from Habibi In. PHOTO BY CARLY MENKER
825 Church St Habibi In, meaning “darling” in Arabic, is located on Church Street, easily identifiable by the ever-present smell of kebabs that lingers around its storefront. Although it may resemble a fast food joint more than a classic restaurant on first glance, Habibi In specializes in filling quick and delicious halal food. The meat here is prepared and blessed according to the requirements laid out by the Quran. Rice platters are around $11-$14; the portions are large, and the smell of Arab chicken brings about a strong sense of comfort, especially when paired with the “white sauce” (something I find necessary, otherwise the meat might be too dry). Besides its platters, the restaurant also serves a sweet date milkshake at $4.99, which might come in handy when it’s Ramadan and Target runs out of dates. Other meals include Middle Eastern classics such as gyros and falafel, but Weinberg second-year Natalie Bartolomei recommends the lesser known kibbeh, a type of beef or lamb croquette, which she says made her “super happy” since it was similar to a meal that her Lebanese mother would prepare for her. PREGAME
FLOOR DANCE FLOOR DANCE FLOOR DANCING ON OUR OWN 17 REMOTE REWARDS 20 BUSINESS IN THE FRONT, STUDENT IN THE BACK 22 COMMUNITY RECENTER 24 RE: IF COVID-19 ENDED TOMORROW 26 THE NEW STUDENT EXPERIENCE 28 UNDERFUNDED, UNDERREPRESENTED 30 PHOTO BY CHIARA DORSI
BEHIND THE BOARD 32
on our own NUDM 2021 adapted to a changing campus culture – and world. WRITTEN BY EMMA CHIU // DESIGNED BY ALISA GAO
etween March 4 and March 6, more than 800 Northwestern students participated in trivia bowls, TikTok challenges, yoga classes and various other virtual events, all of which were a part of a 2021 Dance Marathon characterized by less dancing than usual. Founded in 1975, the student organization Northwestern University Dance Marathon (NUDM) spends each year fundraising for a beneficiary. Since the early 1980s, their annual efforts have culminated in a “Dance Marathon,” in which thousands of dancers crowd into a large tent and dance for 30 consecutive hours. However, due to both the COVID-19 pandemic and the campus-wide movement to abolish Northwestern Greek life associated with the National Panhellenic Association and Interfraternity Council, the 2021 Dance Marathon underwent a number of changes to adhere to pandemic safety guidelines and distance itself from Greek life. NUDM de-emphasized its traditional team fundraising system, took place remotely and was
restructured to incorporate a mixture of dancing and other bonding activities spread over the course of three days. “It was definitely strange to do the whole thing online, especially since I’ve never participated in an in-person one,” says Medill first-year Alexa Crowder, who serves on NUDM’s Marketing and Media Committee. “Our two emcees danced on a livestream from a stage on campus each of the three nights, [but] I didn’t do too much myself because I was alone in my room across the country.” This new format was more interactive than the 2020 Dance Marathon, which consisted of a series of videos that students could watch on their own time, due to Northwestern administration’s cancellation of the live event three days prior. “We were sad that work putting up a tent and planning for the entire marathon was going to go to waste,” says Cami Steppe, a SESP fourthyear and NUDM executive co-chair. “Looking back, it was obviously the right decision to happen a year ago to keep everyone in our community safe.” This year, even with more preparation time, NUDM executive members found that planning a virtual event made it difficult to connect with and recruit students. Rather than advertise to potential dancers in dining halls and dorms, NUDM turned to social media and outreach via student organizations. “It has been a really challenging year for fundraising, if we’re being honest, as it has been with every nonprofit organization we’ve talked to,” Steppe says. “We have fewer dancers than we usually have, but that’s expected.” NUDM participants raised a total of $674,375, most of which will be donated to Compass to Care, a Chicagobased organization that supports the families of children with cancer. Even though this total is lower than last year’s $1,029,366, Ayesha Goswamy, a Weinberg fourth-year and executive cochair of NUDM, is unsurprised.
“Although this is slightly smaller than years past, we were still proud of the people we were able to engage,” Goswamy says. “Our numbers also showed that, on average, we fundraised more per dancer than in the past. We were happy with how the event went and that people attended our events even through the Zoom fatigue of classes and meetings.” She attributes the fundraising difference to the pandemic, the virtual format and NUDM’s changes in response to the movement to abolish Greek life. Ever since the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity co-founded NUDM alongside the Associated Student Government, NUDM has had a close relationship with Greek life. However, in recent years, NUDM has been open to altering this relationship. “We’re really excited about making substantial change in tandem with the Abolish Greek Life movement,” Steppe says. “We are proud that Northwestern has really faced the Greek system headon and is dealing with all the issues that Greek life brings to campus… In seeing all these conversations, we were like, ‘We cannot continue to support these Greek organizations in the way we have in the past.’” Among these changes is the implementation of a flexible fundraising goal. In previous years, dancers had a $400 minimum fundraising goal; this year, they were encouraged to set their own target and simply raise as much as they could. Although NUDM’s executive board was concerned that this might lower their overall fundraising total, they agreed it would benefit dancers from low-income backgrounds and those impacted by the pandemic. “Everyone is in such a different place financially this year, and we just don’t want anyone to have the additional stressor of DM fundraising,” Goswamy
says. “We want DM fundraising to be a positive experience, and we believe that any amount that they could contribute to our beneficiary is having a positive impact.” Aside from the new flexible fundraising goal, NUDM also altered its traditional fundraising structure, which previously allowed Greek organizations to fundraise in large teams. To encourage the breakdown of these teams, NUDM asked them to change their names rather than entering under the name of a Greek organization. Multicultural Greek organizations and student organizations were also invited to form teams, and NUDM allowed solo dancers unaffiliated with Greek life or a participating student organization to join the Northwestern University Team. “Everyone just followed [the team] structure because it was the norm,” says Medill fourth-year Lindsey Lubowitz, the co-chair of NUDM’s Marketing and Media committee. “The big teams were usually the Greek teams, but this year, there’s a lot less team structure, and the teams are a lot smaller.” According to a member of the @abolishnugreeklife Instagram page, which posts anonymous students’ experiences within Greek life, large Greek life teams are a problem for NUDM. “Teams are a huge part of raising money and creating a community within Dance Marathon,” the member says. “It can create peer pressure because the teams are so dependent on Greek life… that participating in Dance Marathon without being in Greek life can feel a little isolating, or the social pressures to participate along with Greek life are greater.” The @abolishnugreeklife member is glad to see that NUDM is making an effort to break up these teams. Despite
the difficulties of abolishing Greek life entirely, they are hopeful that NUDM’s changes can help deconstruct the myth that having a social life is dependent on joining Greek life. “One big solution and something that’s actually attainable is separating the dependency of social life from Greek life,” the member says. “A lot of Northwestern’s campus is run as if Greek life is the only place to find community, and I think Dance Marathon has been an example of that… To step away from [NUDM] being so interconnected with Greek life, they’re opening areas of community and other ways to socialize that aren’t tied to Greek life, and I think that’s something that’s really great.” The member is optimistic about NUDM’s ability to detach itself from Greek life given its smaller community scale, as opposed to the national structure of PHA and IFC Greek life that makes reform difficult. “In that kind of structure, you see a lack of agency and power on individual members’ parts, [which] is one of the main reasons why we truly believe reform isn’t possible,” the member says. “That being said, other organizations function very differently. Dance Marathon is run by students at Northwestern specifically, so… there’s a lot more power to make changes.” Goswamy makes a similar distinction between NUDM and Greek life, explaining that while the two organizations share some members, they remain separate. “At our core, we are an organization committed to philanthropic fundraising, service and spreading awareness to the Northwestern community,” Goswamy says. “This can exist outside of Greek life, and our organization is actively working to make it so.”
We are proud that Northwestern has really faced the Greek system head-on and is dealing with all the issues that Greek life brings to campus… In seeing all these conversations, we were like, ‘We cannot continue to support these Greek organizations in the way we have in the past.’ - Cami Steppe, NUDM Executive Co-Chair
WRITTEN BY OLIVIA ALEXANDER DESIGNED BY EMMA ESTBERG
To some, education from a distance has its benefits.
PHOTO BY CARLY MENKER
ast winter, McCormick secondyear Caroline Harms walked from Willard to Tech five days a week. Her 15-minute trek involved cutting through Plex, crossing a parking lot and walking up Sheridan Road before reaching her destination: 11 a.m. Engineering Analysis. Learning remotely, Harms’ commute is now just a few steps across her dorm room, from her bed to her desk. Despite the numerous drawbacks associated with online learning — technical difficulties, distracting home lives and screen fatigue, to name a few — students like Harms are finding just as many upsides, like the ability to wake up five minutes before class. Athletes can now join Zoom calls from the bus or hotel, making it easier to keep up with course material. What’s more, some
students with learning disabilities say their educational experience improves significantly with increased privacy and individual interactions with professors. During her first year, Harms chose to live on South Campus because of its community feel, but rushing across campus from class to class consumed valuable time in her already-busy engineering major schedule. Though most of her classes took place in Tech, Harms says one was in Harris, which was a stressful walk to make in a short amount of time. Because of the virtual environment this quarter, she says she has used her spare time to get involved in activities she couldn’t enjoy while things were in-person, like editorial positions on the Northwestern Undergraduate Research Journal and Helicon Literary & Arts Magazine.
“I [thought] I physically can’t get there at this time, or I have things to do elsewhere on campus,” Harms says. “That’s not really a problem anymore.” Another benefit of the remote learning atmosphere is the ability to review lecture material. Harms says she likes “the idea of recorded lectures,” as she can return to concepts if her mind wanders the first time they are presented. During the pandemic, some of her professors even recorded office hours, which she says helps especially when there are time constraints preventing her from attending. SESP second-year Olivia Haskins plays volleyball for Northwestern. She also says the virtual environment gives her greater academic accessibility, especially during season, when the
team is often on the road. Haskins recalls feeling rushed last winter going from practice to her dorm then to class. She says virtual classes are “a time saver” this winter, as her team travels every other weekend. Additionally, Haskins says she appreciates asynchronous classes for the flexibility they offer. This winter, she enrolled in Anthropology 201, which she wouldn’t have been able to take in an in-person environment. “Having asynchronous classes has been really cool because there’s a lot of classes that are only taught in the morning that I usually can’t take with practice,” Haskins says. “But now, a lot of them are asynchronous, so I can still take the class. I don’t have to worry about missing the classroom or missing practice. I can just do them whenever I want.” Increased flexibility is especially important for students with learning differences, including Weinberg firstyear Nia Robles. They have also enjoyed access to recorded lectures, which allow them to take class when their attention is most focused. “[As] a person who has difficulties with language and attention, being able to rewatch things is something that I found extremely helpful,” Robles says. Additionally, Robles says the remote learning environment is more conducive to navigating an anxiety disorder. They say Zoom classes can allow for increased privacy during their most difficult classes. “I think everyone has those classes [where] you’re like, ‘Why am I here?’ that make you feel less worthy,” Robles says. “Because that can trigger anxiety, many people have a new opportunity to be able to turn off your camera.” During a panic attack, Robles turns off their computer camera and takes a moment to get a drink of water and breathe before reengaging with the class. Even communicating with professors about anxiety can be easier with remote learning, they say. At in-person office hours, another student might be able to overhear a conversation taking place. The privacy of a Zoom room chat takes away that concern.
“Sometimes you want privacy,” Robles says. “You want the privacy to tell a professor, ‘I’m struggling with this.’” When moving back to in-person classes, Robles hopes to carry these aspects of the remote environment with them. Jim Stachowiak, Director of Assistive Technology and Assistant Director of Accessible NU, says a lot can be learned from the time college students spend learning remotely. “I haven’t talked to anybody who says that they necessarily like remote learning,” Stachowiak says. “But the positive aspects of remote learning and the biggest positive we’ve seen... is more flexibility.” Throughout the last year, Accessible NU has continued its mission of supporting and empowering students with disabilities and ensuring equal access to full participation in the academic environment. Stachowiak says some aspects of the virtual learning environment have helped students continue to receive the accommodations they need. Online, it’s still easy to allow for extra time on exams and flexible deadlines. Relaxed attendance policies, for example, help those with flexible attendance accommodations. At the beginning of the pandemic, Stachowiak served on a team that taught Foundations of Online Teaching to over 700 Northwestern professors. The course emphasized one of Accessible NU’s key values, regardless of the learning environment, called Universal Design for Learning (UDL). “[UDL] is really about identifying barriers that exist for everyone, not just disabilities, and removing them by providing options to learning,” Stachowiak says. According to Stachowiak, the pandemic has made professors more aware of many barriers that exist for students. For example, providing captions in videos eliminates barriers for the hearing impaired and students for whom English is a second language. Stachowiak says remote learning has opened up people’s eyes to UDL and the ways in-person classrooms can be more accessible to all students, regardless of ability.
“When we taught instructors about this in Foundations of Online Teaching, we were constantly pushing these concepts can still apply when we come back into the classroom setting,” Stachowiak says. He believes that remote learning has also pushed digital accessibility to the forefront of the public’s attention. With nearly all classes and activities taking place online, everyone in the community must be provided with digital access to material. When most people are engaging with the online environment, the need for equal availability of resources becomes clear.
“I haven’t talked to anybody who says that they necessarily like remote learning ... the biggest positive we’ve seen... is more flexibility.” Jim Stachowiak, Director of Assistive Technology and Assistant Director of Accessible NU “We can make little adjustments to certain areas that can benefit lots of different groups,” Stachowiak says. “[Adjustments that can] benefit people with different learning styles, that can benefit people with different ability levels [and] that can benefit people from different cultural backgrounds, just by making some minor shifts in how we provide information and how we allow students to express what they learn.” DANCE FLOOR
in the front, in the back Northwestern’s campus is a hotbed for up-and-coming entrepreneurs. WRITTEN BY ANNIE CAO // DESIGNED BY ALISA GAO
ven during an unconventional quarter, students at Northwestern remain busy balancing courses and extracurriculars — and becoming entrepreneurs. Student-run businesses have always had a place in Evanston, but in the midst of a pandemic, some have turned their passions into profits. We spoke with five enterprising Wildcats to see how they’ve continued their work.
Whipped Evanston Less than a week into running Whipped Evanston, a custom cake and cupcake shop, Weinberg third-years Pranavi Ahuja and Sana Kharbanda had already learned a valuable lesson. The two friends had just set aside one of their first orders to frost when they noticed a cupcake missing. “One of our friends came over, and he had no idea that these were for Whipped,” Ahuja says. “He thought it was just another trial round of cupcakes, and he just ate one.” Scheduled to deliver in an hour, Ahuja and Kharbanda remade the entire batch from scratch. “The lesson we learned from that was definitely to hide our cupcakes as soon as we make them,” Ahuja says. Ahuja and Kharbanda started Whipped in early January after struggling to find a bakery in Evanston that sold the fully customizable cakes and variety of flavors they were seeking. Whipped currently offers vanilla or chocolate cake, five icing choices and an optional Nutella filling for cupcakes. Since starting the home bakery, Ahuja says that business has moved faster than expected. She initially thought a few friends would support their efforts, but word about Whipped has traveled. “Honestly, it just boomed, especially around Valentine’s Day,” Ahuja says. Whipped made over 200 cupcakes for the holiday; news had reached parents’ groups, and many people started ordering for their children. Despite the increased time commitment, Ahuja has no second thoughts about starting Whipped. She believes her passion for baking grows with every batch. “On Valentine’s Day... was there a moment when I was like, ‘Oh my god, I’m tired?’ Yes,” Ahuja says. “But was there a moment that I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t want to do this?’ Not at all.” Ahuja and Kharbanda aren’t looking to expand beyond their apartment anytime soon, but they are considering adding more desserts, such as tea cakes, cookies and brownies. Above all, they want to ensure each product is tested to perfection, no matter the menu size. “We’re definitely trying out a bunch of different things in
our kitchen right now, and we’re super excited to hopefully introduce them on the menu sometime pretty soon.” Ahuja says.
Friends Who Earring Cate Durudogan and Claire Koster didn’t set out to start a business. Friends Who Earring, which sells handmade polymer clay earrings, began as a hobby that the two SESP third-years bonded over. Koster started making earrings over winter break during her first year at Northwestern, inspired by a friend who made wire earrings. She and Durudogan shared a peer advising group but did not become close friends until she invited Durudogan to make earrings with her after the break. “When I first met her, I was like, ‘She has cool earrings, I want to be her friend. How can I wear her down and force her to befriend me?’” Koster recalls. “So, I was like, ‘Cate would like making earrings. This would work.’” Soon, they were spending Friday nights making earrings in the common spaces of Koster’s firstyear residential hall, South MidQuads. They eventually gave some away to friends, and others expressed interest in buying them. Friends Who Earring now has more than 3,800 Instagram followers and over 2,400 sales on Etsy. But despite their growth, Durudogan and Koster run Friends Who Earring with a unique business model: They don’t profit from sales. Instead, all profits go directly to community organizations, mainly those in their hometowns of Chicago and St. Louis, such as Project Fierce Chicago and the STL Reentry Collective. The idea came after their first sale in June 2019. “I was wearing all the earrings I had been making around my coworkers and friends, and when they found out I was making them, they
were like, ‘Could you make me a rainbow flag pair?’ or ‘Can you make me a bi/trans/pan flag pair?’’’ Durudogan says. “I’m not going to profit off of rainbow capitalism.” Durudogan and Koster donated that month’s profits to the Oakland-based National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network. “We can make ends meet without pocketing the money, and we have other sources of income,” Koster says. “It was exciting to think about how a consistent base of money to make donations from could enable us to support what we wanted to.” After the first donation, Koster suggested giving away their profits monthly. Now, Friends Who Earring chooses a new organization to give to every month, thoroughly researching each one. “It’s really important to us that they’re run by people who live in the communities that they are working to support and serve,” Koster says. “If it’s an [organization] that’s for Black lives, in the vaguest terms, and it’s all white people on the staff and board, it’s like, ‘I don’t know if you’re the one that we’re going to give our money to.’” The two friends emphasize that the real impact is made by the organizations they donate to. “Part of the function that I hope the donations have is to create an impact while de-centering ourselves in that impact,” Koster says. “We can love social justice as much as we want, but we’re still two white women, and the things that white women do in spaces of social justice isn’t always additive.” Ultimately, the pair hopes to continue Friends Who Earring without pressuring themselves to reach a certain goal or social media following. “We just want it to keep being us,” Durudogan says. “I think we have seen this growth of other artists redistributing some of their wealth,” she adds, noting an increasing trend among earring makers. “I think that’s really beautiful growth to see.”
The Table When Weinberg fourth-year Matt Schnadig was a firstyear, he was shocked by the limited late-night food options in Evanston. Prior to starting college, he had seen his sister and his friends frequent many late-night food spots at other universities. “If you go out or go to a party, or just after studying and you want to just decompress, late-night food was kind of that outlet,” Schnadig says. “There wasn’t really anything like that here.” Schnadig envisioned a student-run food service that offered late-night breakfast food. In a collaboration with BrewBike, the team started selling overnight oats in 2018, eventually offering breakfast sandwiches and smoothies from an on-campus food cart in Spring Quarter of 2019. Despite initial success, they ran into issues last fall. “We didn’t want to stand outside in the cold selling food, and also our food ended up getting cold,” Schandig says. “Then COVID hit, which was, in a weird way, a good thing for us because it gave us some time to reevaluate.” The Table now operates as a late-night food service, delivering chicken nuggets, chicken sandwiches, fries and milkshakes made by Northwestern student cooks to students in Evanston. Running as a “ghost kitchen,” orders are received and prepared from a kitchen at Ebenezer AME Church before being delivered. “Operationally, it’s a lot more simplistic than what we had been doing, and it’s also reverting back to our original plan — our original hope of adding more late-night food options on campus,” Schnadig says. Since relaunching, Schnadig says The Table has received mostly positive customer responses and aims to tailor its menu to student feedback. Due to high demand, The Table recently added ranch sauce and milkshakes. “Once we did, everyone was getting milkshakes, which was really exciting,” Schnadig says. “It showed that our customers’ opinions really do matter.” More than homemade recipes, fresh ingredients and food quality, Schandig says The Table prides itself on being a student-led venture and hopes it can be passed down as a club would. “It’s this outlet for students to get some real-life work experience,” Schnadig says. “Students who like to cook; students who just want to make money; [it] really gives them that opportunity to grow and succeed.” For Schnadig, The Table has enabled him to pursue a unique project alongside friends and to learn about business operations outside of coursework. “I would say this has been the most beneficial experience for me in terms of learning, more than any class I’ve taken at Northwestern,” Schnadig says. “A class can teach you how to do finances or market research — all of which are important, but in terms of actual operations, which, personally, I think is the most important, that’s really just getting in there and going for it and making mistakes and learning from those mistakes.” PHOTOS BY CHIARA DORSI AND VICTORIA BENEFIELD
Community recenter A revitalized MIXED hopes to create space for and educate others on multiracial identity. WRITTEN BY VICTORIA BENEFIELD // DESIGNED BY APRIL LI
hen Weinberg first-year Katrina Kuntz attended the Multiracial Student Affinity Space event held by Multicultural Student Affairs (MSA) during Wildcat Welcome, she was disappointed to learn that the Mixed Race Student Coalition — an affinity club for individuals who identify with a mixed race or cultural background — no longer existed. So, when MSA officials asked if anyone was interested in restarting the group, Kuntz, along with several other first-years, jumped at the chance to create a space for multiracial students on Northwestern University’s campus. The Mixed Race Student Coalition was started in 2013 by then-secondyears Kalina Silverman and Tori Marquez but eventually disbanded in 2019. For the first-years interested in restarting the club, the process was difficult. Usually, former executive board members help to train new officers, but there were no existing executive board members to transition the organization. “We essentially had to restart the club while also picking up the pieces of the old club,” says Elizabeth O’Brien, a Weinberg first-year and the current treasurer. When the new executive board tried to reach out to the administrators of the old Mixed Race Student Coalition Facebook page, they received no reply. It took months for the new officers to set up the club, and without the
social media logins from the previous group, they couldn’t take advantage of the club’s preexisting social media following to spread the word about the revived organization. The board built off of the existing Wildcat Connection page and the money left from the old club’s Student Organization Finance Office account. They also gave the organization a new name (Multiracial Identity Xperience Education and Dialogue, or MIXED), created a new Instagram account, developed the club’s organizational structure and began recruiting members. The mixed race community at Northwestern is large and continually growing: According to the 2010-11 Northwestern Common Data Set, only 167 undergraduates, or about 2% of students, self-identified as mixed (The University’s metrics excluded all students who identified as Hispanic or Latino). Years later, the 2019-20 Northwestern Common Data Set reported that the percentage had grown to about 6.3%, and Northwestern Admissions reported that over 17% of the Class of 2024 reported being multiracial. This academic year, the executive board of MIXED, which is all first-years, has struggled to reach out to and virtually recruit interested students. Despite these challenges, Kuntz says that MIXED has succeeded so far in creating a community where members can talk about their experiences.
“I realized that there’s a lot of ... internal struggles and that kind of thing that I’ve never verbalized but I realize are pretty common in the multiracial community,” Kuntz says. “I don’t think my identity has ever really felt this valid before.” Medill first-year Alex Perry, MIXED’s membership chair, says that although she thinks a few of the executive board members are part of monoracial groups on campus, MIXED is a place where they can explore all sides of their racial identity instead of having to choose just one. For O’Brien, her mixed identity is more important than any one of the racial or ethnic identities she holds. She says that MIXED is the one identity-based group where she feels she belongs. “I felt that being mixed meant that I couldn’t join a Black student union or anything of the many backgrounds that I’m composed of,” O’Brien says. “[MIXED] seemed like a really great opportunity to be a part of something where people who identify with many different ethnic backgrounds and racial identities could come together.” For Waverly Long, a Bienen and Medill first-year who serves as Events and Outreach co-chair, MIXED is not only a place to gather with other mixed race individuals and learn about their backgrounds but also a place to have meaningful conversations about how media and current events apply to multiracial communities. One of MIXED’s advisors, C.A. Davis, who works for the Northwestern Media and Design Studio and hosts a podcast about mixed race issues, hopes that these discussions will both help students bond and act as a launching pad for talking about more complex issues. “There’s always a danger of being in an echo chamber and not really diving deeper into these larger issues, histories, topics,” Davis says. “Being more critical about these discussions I think is what’s important ... so I think time will tell to see how people develop the group.” Kuntz and O’Brien say that in order to avoid creating an echo chamber, the executive board of MIXED is focused on engaging with these conversations on a larger scale and
including all members of the Northwestern community. “Sometimes it can feel like all we’re doing is sitting in a room and talking about our experiences, but what’s that going to solve?” Perry says. “We do want to open up to sharing our experiences with monoracial people.” The group is hoping to bring topics related to multiracial identity to center stage through guest speakers and events related to different members’ cultures. Their dream is that the club will serve dual purposes on campus.
“I don’t think my identity has ever really felt this valid before.” - KATRINA KUNTZ, Weinberg first-year
“One of our goals is educating people on the experience of being mixed race,” Long says. “We really enjoy having dialogues about things that matter to us and things that are important.” Another goal of the group is to create an inclusive community for all Northwestern students: “Whether or not you’re mixed race, you’re absolutely welcome to join the club,” Long says. “We would love to have you.”
RE: If COVID-19 ended
Three writers dream of the days to come — in 500 words or less. DESIGNED BY APRIL LI
would want to go to a concert — any concert. I wouldn’t even mind if I were unfamiliar with the artist performing. Nothing comes close to the excitement I felt getting ready with my friends, blasting music and singing at the top of our lungs while dancing around, switching in and out of outfits, naively thinking that the perfect outfit meant it would be a perfect night. I miss the lively conversations that would go on from the Uber ride to the line. How we would speculate about what the concert would be like, cross our fingers that we’d encounter no mosh pits and eventually start a conversation with the people behind us. Settling into our seats and waiting for the concert to begin was actually one of my favorite parts of the night. That feeling of anticipation that literally brings you to the edge of your seat, waiting for the lights to go out and the powerful screams of the audience. And once the show began, the shameless dancing to the music and the palpable connection between the audience and the performer allowed me to fully experience life in the moment. But what I would love the most about a post-COVID-19 concert is finally getting to interact with people without a mask. Being able to sing and dance without being afraid to bump into someone. Seeing people’s excitement and happiness on their faces. I would give anything to finally experience something live again, rather than through a screen. WRITTEN BY MARIA CAAMAÑO GARCIA
ack to “normal” is what they’ll say. There will be no more masks. No more temperature checks. We’ll even have the chance to travel safely again. But will life really go back to how it was before? Everything I’ve learned during the pandemic will remain at the forefront of my brain, and the habits that I’ve adopted will never truly leave my routine. I probably won’t ever stop sanitizing my hands after touching anything outside my home, and forget about taking public transportation without a face covering — not going to happen. Take bowling alleys, for instance. At one point, they were one of my family’s favorite places to visit. Now, I can’t believe that we didn’t come home each time with a brewing infection. When the alleys were up and running, we all voluntarily stuck our fingers into unsanitized bowling ball holes touched by a plethora of people before us, then ate finger foods like french fries and chips with those same exact fingers. These thoughts alone turn the insides of my stomach relentlessly. But bowling alleys aside, if the pandemic ended tomorrow, I would be able to take solace in a few things. When I had to say goodbye to my parents and head to college for the first time, I cried the entire plane flight — I’m the definition of a homebody. Heading back to school after quarantine was never going to be easy, but knowing my dad has a serious heart condition, I found it almost impossible. If COVID-19 was over, my days would no longer be filled with anxiety for my dad’s condition as he fearfully avoids traveling, grocery stores and sometimes even walks in the park. Being a full-time student-athlete whose best friends are her parents makes being homesick that much harder. I miss taking runs with my mom, having late night talks with my brother or playing board games with my dad on our porch until the sun set and we realized we couldn’t see the pieces anymore. Every day I regret each dog walk I skipped or each hangout my parents suggested that I was “too tired for.” If tomorrow I woke up and the pandemic was over, I think the first thing I’d do is fly my parents out to Evanston, have dinner with them and hug them without the fear of spreading COVID-19. WRITTEN BY JULIETTA THRON
y mother works in a hospital. It’s not intensive care or the emergency room, but her job keeps her busy. I couldn’t visit her during the pandemic. With my asthma and my grandmother at home, that was a bad idea. I never realized how much I enjoyed the visits until I couldn’t do them anymore. But in a world without the risk of getting sick, I would grab my bicycle and start the 2-mile journey. This used to be an excursion, a reason to leave the house. In reality, it’s just distance — a few miles until I can spend time with my mom before flying back to Evanston. After passing through the hanging branches of evergreen trees in Miami, I would spend an hour or two in a hospital lunchroom. In this freezing cafeteria, eating apples and saltines, there are few masks. Only doctors and nurses would need them now. The moment is surreal; I’m used to seeing masks as an accessory. In this hypothetical world, on my way home I would drop off my bike in my garage and engage in a conversation with my grandparents. My nono could visit us, if he managed to board a plane from Venezuela. During the pandemic, this would have been impossible — not to mention economically irreconcilable. And like my abuelas, he didn’t get the chance to see me off to college. In the real world, I stayed home, and once Winter Quarter came around, only my parents were there to drop me off and give me a brief goodbye. In a world without COVID-19, a long weekend would become an opportunity for my grandparents to see Chicago and to experience college through their only granddaughter. In this hypothetical world, the Caribbean-blooded crew would hate the Evanston snow, and for as long as they’re here, I know I’d never hear the end of it. My phone would overload with an onslaught of pictures, messages and WhatsApp voice memos from every Venezuelan within a 5-mile radius of Miami-Dade County, telling me how excited they are to hear about my college adventures. Once at my dorm, North Mid-Quads, my abuelas would get into a discussion about the architecture of the sorority quad while I would get distracted by the congregation of people in the lounge. The chairs would multiply, and my friends and I could share a group hug, unanimously lamenting about having to wake up earlier to walk to in-person classes. In this hypothetical world, my family would only be able to stay in Chicago for a few days. My nono doesn’t live here, and he couldn’t stay forever. But I would walk with them around Evanston, and we would sit down to eat at La Cocinita, the Venezuelan restaurant across from Whole Foods. I’d like to settle into the possibility of more moments, sitting and talking with my family, finally feeling normal again. My parents and grandparents are vaccinated now, so maybe with time, I won’t have to write in hypotheticals. Mi mamá trabaja en un hospital. No es carga intensiva ni sala de emergencia, pero igual se queda ocupada. No la podía visitar durante la pandemia. Con mi asma y mi abuela viviendo en mi casa, eso era una mala idea. Nunca me di cuenta de cuánto disfrutaba de las visitas hasta que ya no pude hacerlas. Pero en un mundo sin el riesgo de enfermarme, me montaría en mi bicicleta para empezar mi viaje de dos millas. Esto antes era una excursión, una razón para salir de la casa. En realidad, solo es distancia, unas cuantas millas para pasar más tiempo con mi mama antes de regresar a la universidad. Cuando llegó al hospital, yo pasaría una o dos horas en un comedor de doctores. En esta cafetería chiquita y helada, comiendo un gran almuerzo de manzanas y galletas, hay una colección de máscaras. Sin la pandemia, solo doctores y enfermeras lo necesitan. El momento es raro; estoy acostumbrada a ver las máscaras como accesorio. En este mundo hipotético, en camino hacia mi casa dejaría mi bicicleta en el garaje y converso con mis abuelos. Mi nono nos visitará, si pudiera obtener una visa y volar de Venezuela. Durante la pandemia, esto hubiera sido imposible y totalmente improbable. Pero como mis abuelas, él no tuvo la oportunidad de verme entrar a la universidad. En realidad, me quedé en casa, y una vez que llegó Winter Quarter, solo mis padres me dejaron brevemente. En un mundo sin coronavirus, un fin de semana largo se convertiría en una oportunidad para que mis abuelos conozcan a Chicago, y para que tengan la experiencia de “college” en los Estados Unidos con su única nieta. En este mundo hipotético, en Evanston los de sangre-Caribe estarían molestados por la nieve, y se que no se cansarán de los comentarios sobre el frío. Mi teléfono sería bombardeado por fotos y mensajes de voz en WhatsApp de todos los venezolanos en Miami, emocionados de saber sobre mis aventuras en “college.” En mi residencia, North Mid-Quads, mis abuelas discutirán sobre la arquitectura de los edificios academicos, y yo estaría distraída por la congregación de mis amigos en el salón. Con más sillas y menos restricciones, nosotros compartiremos un gran abrazo. Juntos pudiéramos lamentar la tragedia de tener que levantarnos más temprano para caminar a clase en persona. En este mundo hipotético, mi familia solo podría quedarse en Chicago unos días. Mi nono no vive aquí y no podría quedarse para siempre. Pero yo caminaría con ellos por Evanston, parando para sentarnos en La Cocinita, el restaurante venezolano frente a Whole Foods. Me gustaría asentarme en la posibilidad de tener más momentos, hablar más con mi familia, y finalmente volver a sentirme normal. Mis padres y abuelos están vacunados ahora, así que tal vez con el tiempo no tenga que escribir hipotéticos. WRITTEN BY ALI BIANCO DANCE FLOOR
Cornerstone academic programs look different in the age of COVID-19. WRITTEN BY MICHELLE LIU // DESIGNED BY MAREN KRANKING
hird-year Beatrice Chao had her SESP practicum all planned out. After all, the practicum was one of the main reasons she decided to come to Northwestern University and study social policy in the first place. Chao planned to go to Washington, D.C., to work in government or at a think tank this summer. Then the pandemic struck, and it seemed unlikely that she could follow her original arrangements. Chao ended up reworking her entire plan and completed her practicum in her home country of Singapore this past Fall Quarter. When Northwestern’s classes moved online, so did other academic programs, like study abroad, SESP’s practicum and Medill’s Journalism Residency. Three quarters later, remote programming has become an indefinite replacement for these highly anticipated experiences. The SESP curriculum requires its third-years to spend one quarter at an academic internship in San Francisco or Washington, D.C. and enroll in a concurrent seminar for handson learning. When the University went remote, SESP relaxed its requirements. Internship sites were no longer limited to certain cities. Students could choose to reschedule their practicum, complete it remotely or enroll in substitute SESP classes to fulfill the practicum requirement. But Chao said that most of her
peers still chose to complete their practicum, even remotely, because they found it to be a good alternative to online classes. “Though it’s challenging to do in a pandemic, people still look forward to it,” Chao says. “The practicum is a draw of the SESP program.”
“THAT DOESN’T MEAN THAT YOU DON’T WALK OUT WITH RICH EXPERIENCES. BUT I FEEL LIKE LESS OF A COLLEGE STUDENT.” SESP THIRD-YEAR
Chao was able to intern in-person at Singapore’s Ministry of Health. She says she loved working at her site and continued to work there even after her practicum ended. Still, she had hoped to work in a different country than her own. “It [would have been] really cool to be able to look at social policy from the lens of a different government, a
different country,” Chao says. “So I was kind of bummed that it didn’t end up happening.” Studying in another country was an experience Weinberg third-year Sarah Kim knew she wanted even before coming to Northwestern. It’s one of the reasons she chose Global Health as her adjunct major. One requirement to earn a Global Health major is to participate in an international public health experience. But when the pandemic began, all study abroad programs were put on hold. Kim was set to study public health in Denmark in Fall Quarter of 2020. Then, the program was postponed to the fall of 2021, and now Kim says she’s unsure if it will still happen. Though study abroad is no longer a requirement for Global Health, Kim says she’s holding out hope that it will return before she graduates. Kim says that while she enjoys the Global Health classes she’s taking, she still feels like she’s missing a component of her major. “Without the study abroad aspect, it loses some of its globalness. I am learning a lot about the different histories and health systems around the world, but I think seeing for myself, hearing from people who are from other countries explaining what their global health systems look like would be very helpful,” Kim says.
On the other hand, Wilson Chapman, a Medill fourth-year, completed his Journalism Residency (JR) remotely during Fall Quarter of 2020 because he realized it was unlikely that internships would be in-person again before he graduated. Chapman credits the JR program as one of the reasons why he transferred into Medill during his first year at Northwestern. Similar to SESP’s practicum, Medill’s JR program is a required quarterlong academic internship at one of its media partners. Chapman says he liked that the program ensured professional experience and provided an opportunity to network and get professional clips. Like many programs at Northwestern, Medill’s JR program hit a patch of uncertainty during March and was canceled for Spring Quarter of 2020. When it resumed Fall Quarter, JR was no longer a graduation requirement and was offered mostly remotely. Chapman ended up interning remotely at Discover Magazine. “Even though it was a good experience, I do think being remote does make the experience a little less meaningful. It makes it a little harder to connect with the people you’re working with,” Chapman says. “A lot of the time, we had maybe one 20-minute Zoom meeting a day, and then I would spend the rest of the day working on my computer in my room, on my own.” Chapman says having his residency online amplified the feeling of disconnection from Northwestern that he experienced when classes first went remote.
“When I just wasn’t doing any classes and was just doing Zoom internship, it felt like I wasn’t a student. It felt like I had already graduated,” Chapman says. Chao’s status as an international student added another layer to her disconnection. She says that when she lived in Evanston, she was able to totally immerse herself in the country and culture. Being forced online, however, completely disrupted that immersion. “It’s disappointing for sure, but it’s hard to say that I feel cheated out of an experience because of the pandemic,” Chao says. “It’s hard to say it’s unfair because I couldn’t offer a fairer alternative, and I think people are trying really hard to make the best of the situation.”
Like many students at Northwestern, Chao feels that her college experience since the pandemic has been a compromise. “You walk out with less college. That doesn’t mean that you don’t walk out with rich experiences,” Chao says, remembering how much she enjoyed her practicum. “But I feel like less of a college student.”
Underfunded, underrepresented Despite the lack of formal departments, ethnic studies programs remain vital for Northwestern students.
s Communication fourth-year Isabella Min reflected on her time as an Asian American Studies minor, she realized that very few of the professors she’d had were still at Northwestern University. She can think of at least three or four that no longer teach at the University. “It’s so unfortunate that we don’t have the resources to hire teachers for longer terms or provide the benefits that professors need to be able to want to stay,” Min says. The lack of hiring power, according to Min, stems from the Asian American Studies’ status as a program, not a department. The program was only established as a minor in 1999 after years of student pressure, including a 23-day hunger strike in 1995. Asian American Studies became available as a major in 2016. Despite further student and faculty activism, it has yet to be departmentalized and lacks the funding that would come with such status. Northwestern’s ethnic studies programs, which include both the Asian American Studies Program and the Latina and Latino Studies Program (founded in 2008), have faced a lack of institutional support since their inception. The Native American and Indigenous Studies minor, approved during the 2018-19 academic year, doesn’t even have its own standalone program and is instead housed in the Center for Native American and Indigenous Research. Amidst the nationwide push for racial justice, Northwestern students and faculty, along with others across the country, find departmentalizing ethnic studies programs crucial to building equity. Communication third-year Camille Garcia-Mendoza
WRITTEN BY RYAN KIM DESIGNED BY S. KELSIE YU
describes her class on Latinx history, taught by professor and Director of the Latina and Latino Studies Program Geraldo Cadava, as “eye-opening” in terms of learning about the experiences and histories of Latinx populations in the United States. She says it helped her gain perspective on her own upbringing and family history as a second-generation Cuban American from Miami, Florida. “I didn’t learn until this class that there was a very particular demographic of Cubans who left in the ’60s versus the ’80s,” she says. “It gave me a lot of perspective on what my grandparents’ lives were like in Cuba, that they were able to afford to come in the ’60s, which is relatively early on.” Garcia-Mendoza found her identity being represented in the class refreshing, since she didn’t feel it was in other classes. She hopes that increased funding for ethnic studies programs will allow other students to get similar opportunities to study their own backgrounds. “I hope in the future that they get better funding, so they can really retain students and be able to do the great work that they’re doing,” Garcia-Mendoza says. “I think that they need to be expanded for sure.” In January 2018, the Latinx Asian American Collective, the collaborative effort of the student groups Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlan de Northwestern and the Asian Pacific American Coalition, began a push for the departmentalization of the Latina and Latino Studies and Asian American Studies programs. Their proposal and petition quickly gathered support, including the signatures of more than 1,000 students and faculty and the endorsement of Northwestern University Graduate Workers, but their meetings with Northwestern administration resulted in little change. The group held a teach-in in May 2018, and in May 2019, Weinberg Dean Adrian Randolph approved the hiring of tenure-eligible professors specific to an ethnic
studies program; previously, only departments had this ability. Northwestern students aren’t the only ones making the push for departmentalization. Students and faculty at the University of Chicago have been fighting to departmental ize their Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies program under the #EthnicStudiesNow campaign. Harvard University students involved with the Harvard Ethnic Studies Coalition have also mobilized in support of establishing an ethnic studies department. However, like at Northwestern, both campaigns have seen slow progress from their administrations. Northwestern’s ethnic studies classes are open to all students, and Bienen and Medill third-year Nadine Manske feels that having students from various identities benefited classroom discussion in professor Patricia Nguyen’s “Contemporary Issues in Asian American Communities: Refugee Aesthetics” class, which she took her first year. “There was just such a diverse background of people that made our discussions and our understanding of the topic so much broader,” Manske says. “[We] really covered a lot more than
if it was a class of people who all had the same entry level of understanding about the topic.” Still, Garcia-Mendoza feels that there is a “tough line to walk” between genuine curiosity from students who don’t identify with the group in question and taking away class spaces from those who do. “Priority should be given to try and get people who identify with those identities into these classes so that they can have that experience before they graduate,” Garcia-Mendoza says. “But, I certainly think that there’s a lot of utility to having people who don’t identify with those ethnicities and races take those classes to learn that perspective.” The issue of who should enroll in ethnic studies classes is complicated by the limited number of classes. For the upcoming Spring Quarter, five classes are offered in African American or Latina and Latino Studies, while there are six classes and a first-year seminar for Asian American Studies. To have more classes, ethnic studies programs would need more professors, but, as Min noted, that’s difficult without department status. The Asian American Studies Program, for example, has only seven faculty members, two of whom
are visiting associate professors. W hile departmentalization is helpful, it still doesn’t guarantee equal standing with other departments. Northwestern’s Department of African American Studies was first established in 1972 following a series of student protests, including a 1968 sit-in at Northwestern’s Bursar’s office. In contrast with the Asian American Studies Program, it enjoys full departmental status and is composed of 13 faculty members with no visiting professors. Still, it pales in comparison to Northwestern’s Department of Economics, one of the University’s most popular majors, which has 47 faculty members. Even beyond nationwide departmentalization and the growth of existing ethnic studies departments, Min hopes that ethnic studies courses could one day become a Northwestern distribution requirement. “Ethnic studies classes all around are so worldly in a sense that it touches upon everything from history to the present, to things that are going on, breaking down the structures that are in place that hold up why things are the way they are,” Min says. “They’ve cultivated the person I’ve become today and how I perceive the world.”
Behind the Northwestern’s Board of Trustees is as influential as it is nebulous. WRITTEN BY MADALEINE RUBIN // DESIGNED BY ALISA GAO
Board Board Board
orthwestern’s Board of Trustees has been described with a slew of labels over the last decade: “Elusive” in a 2016 North by Northwestern piece; “inaccessible” in quotes from a 2015 The Daily Northwestern article; “morally bankrupt” in a 2018 The Daily Northwestern letter to the editor. The trustees’ controversial reputation is complex— though the Board makes decisions that impact students daily, it remains an ostensibly mysterious entity. The Board’s 67 appointed trustees, organized into 13 subcommittees, each serve four-year terms. Its 85 “life trustees” are considered distinguished members of the Northwestern community and serve never-ending terms. As the legal “owner” of the University and its assets, the Board is responsible for Northwestern’s endowment, budget and policy approval. Among students and faculty, though, trustees are known for their contentious decisions. Most recently, the Board rejected Fossil Free NU (FFNU)’s proposal to cut ties with any top 100 coal, oil or gas companies and reinvest in renewable energy. The five-year divestment saga began with an Associated Student Government proposal to divest from coal companies and is emblematic of the Board’s relationship with students. FFNU was able to secure an April 2020 meeting with trustees only after their proposal was rejected and they blocked Sheridan Road in protest, according to Bienen second-year and FFNU executive board member Lucy London. “It’s definitely not an easy process,” London says. “They’re big figures, and there’s no contact information.” London and other FFNU members contacted the Board through the Advisory Committee on Investment Responsibility (ACIR). Established in 2016, ACIR advises the Board’s Investment Committee on ethically managing holdings, alongside Northwestern’s Chief Investment Officer. When former CIO William McClean resigned last year, ACIR organized a meeting between Fossil Free members and trustees where students lobbied for inclusion on the CIO search committee. The Board declined their input. “Their hesitation about it was that there isn’t precedence for it, but there is precedence at other schools, and I think we should have that here,” London says. Northwestern’s Office of Administration and Planning, which includes the Board of Trustees, was not available for a comment prior to publication. In a 2010 report, the Association of Governing Boards — a membership organization for higher
education boards — found that 20.1% of private universities and over 70% of public universities had some form of student representation on their boards. Many of Northwestern’s peer institutions, such as Duke University and Vanderbilt University, allow student representatives. Because Northwestern’s Board does not, trustees only directly interact with students during an annually scheduled event when the Student Affairs committee speaks with an undergraduate panel. “It would be helpful if there were more public meetings. I think the Board agrees with this,” Weinberg professor and ACIR chair David Uttal says. “I certainly will do my very best to get in these issues about… the general lack of communication with all of the constituencies and the lack even of knowing who the [trustees] are.” In their second meeting with the CIO search committee, FFNU collaborated with another student group communicating with the Board:
Northwestern Community Not Cops (NUCNC). After sending their petition to abolish the Northwestern University Police Department to Northwestern business and finance administrators on June 3, 2020, NUCNC members hoped it would be passed on to trustees and discussed at the meeting. “One member said the majority of the Black members on the Board of Trustees had read it… but everyone else on the panel had not,” says Weinberg third-year Karina Karbo-Wright, who represented NUCNC in the joint meeting. “I doubt the petition is going to get to their desks because it came out right as George Floyd was murdered… and even then, the Board couldn’t be bothered besides the few that did read it.” A biennial undergraduate survey updates trustees on campus happenings, and according to Uttal, they receive frequent reports from President Morton Schapiro throughout the year. With pandemic-related information developing daily, though, recent reports may have overlooked key details regarding student activism. “There certainly is an attempt to keep the Board of Trustees informed, but I don’t think there’s sufficient student input to that. I actually get to read some of [the reports], and during the pandemic there were pages and pages about how to respond,” Uttal says. “There wasn’t much about, for example, the protests about the police.” Despite recent disagreements, the Board has sided with students in the past. In 2018, students and faculty demanded the University evaluate harassment allegations against former Medill Justice Project director Alec Klein; the University acquiesced, and trustees supported the investigation. When Klein resigned after accusations of predatory behavior from over 19 women, Northwestern closed the investigation with no appeal process. Klein’s case could set an important precedent — the Board has yet to address a 2021 lawsuit filed against the University for allegedly concealing claims of sexual harassment within Northwestern’s cheerleading team. Northwestern’s Faculty Senate, the elected faculty representative body, passed legislation this March calling on the University to include their input when investigating the claims. The Senate expressed concern over the investigative roles of University administration and the Board of Trustees, especially given allegations that cheerleaders were forced to interact with influential donors to better the University’s finances. “Northwestern has been in the news so much these past couple of months,” Karbo-Wright says. “I don’t want to trivialize the things that are happening, but I think it’s building up a sort of momentum… If we can find something that’s going to cause the right amount of national outrage, we could force the Board’s hand.” The Board’s most anticipated upcoming decision — the selection of a new president to replace outgoing President Schapiro — is as critical as it will be contentious. “It’s so difficult because no matter what, they should not be the ones picking the President,” Karbo-Wright says. “At the end of the day, it should be the entire school—staff, faculty, students, and administrators, and the Board; it should be a group effort.” The Board is ubiquitous in campus conversations because of its high-profile decisions. Its primary focus, though, is managing the school’s budget and endowment. According DANCE FLOOR
to Uttal, Northwestern’s finances have undergone two “dramatic negative swings in the last four years.” The first in 2018 forced Northwestern to draw $100 million from the endowment to settle a $94 million budget deficit. The COVID-19 pandemic also continues to alter the University’s financial standing. “They weathered it pretty well,” Uttal says. “There have been some layoffs but not nearly as many as other universities… Departments have not been eliminated, and Northwestern is not in under threat of closing. I’m not excusing them, but it is probably a little harder to get attention when those things are going on, when there’s a potentially existential threat. They had to be focused on that.” While the Board monitors University spending, the Northwestern community monitors trustees’ spending. J. Landis Martin, current chairman and managing director of the Board, donated $30,000 over two years to Trump Victory, a political action committee that supported former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. Martin’s history of supporting Republican campaigns was questioned by alumni in a The Daily Northwestern letter to the editor. His spending starkly contrasts with Northwestern’s political demographics—it was recently ranked the fifth most liberal university in the country by Niche, a data analytics website. “I feel like they’re really conservative compared to other colleges and universities,” London says. “It might be half and half… but it’s the people who have the power in the board who are the most conservative.” Trustees are elected every four years by the Board’s Committee on Governance and Nominations, and their terms are staggered. When new trustees are appointed and elected, students and faculty are informed but do not have any input. “[At some universities], the Board of Trustees or the equivalent is actually elected and more responsible to the public,” Uttal says. “But ours is totally appointed. So, we have very little say in who becomes a Board of Trustees member, and that is arguably a problem.” NUCNC’s police abolition movement is likely the next student activism issue the Board will consider. Organizers specifically addressed trustees in a pre-written statement during a protest on March 13. Given that trustees took six months to release their decision on Fossil Free NU’s divestment proposal, a long process may be ahead of NUCNC members. While they would need the Board’s support to completely abolish NUPD, change on a smaller scale has been achieved without trustee approval in the past. “Students have made differences; they made differences during the Vietnam War,” Uttal says. “It can happen. It hasn’t happened very often. I would suggest that the best [solution] is one of partnership with the Board.”
is an attempt to
keep the Board of Trustees informed, but I don’t think there’s sufficient student input to that.
- David Uttal, ACIR Chair and Weinberg Professor
Socially deprived students are calculating the personal and communal costs of the pandemic college experience. WRITTEN BY GRACE SNELLING // DESIGNED BY SOOIM KANG
Guidelin es... or sugge stions?
ace masks are nothing new for Weinberg firstyear Kaili Wegener. In fact, she started wearing them when she was just 12 years old. After she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a rare cancer of the lymphatic system, masks became a part of Wegener’s routine. The disease compromised her immune system, making exposure to even common viruses dangerous. Although Wegener has now been cancer-free for nearly seven years, her health remains a primary concern. Since arriving on campus this winter, Wegener has been taking multiple precautions to avoid putting herself and others at risk of COVID-19: She eats meals in her room, avoids any large gatherings and wears two masks in public. Still, she says those measures don’t always feel like enough. “I’ve been hearing things about parties,” Wegener says. “That is really concerning to me and extremely disheartening on a personal level as a student here. Partying during a pandemic — I just don’t think there’s any justification for that. It’s scary.” Following undergraduates’ return to campus between Jan. 3 and Jan. 11, COVID-19 positivity rates have hovered between 0.1% and 1.1%. The school saw its biggest peak between Feb. 19 and Feb. 25, when 44 undergraduates tested
WINTER2021 2021 36 WINTER 36
positive for the virus. Northwestern’s guidelines currently mandate weekly testing requirements for those living off-campus and on campus. Those living in on-campus housing must follow Northwestern’s COVID-19 policies. Even so, some students feel that the rules, as well as their enforcement, have room for improvement. Medill first-year Joanne Haner is particularly concerned about safety inside dining halls, where students are allowed to remove their masks to eat together. Haner says she feels more comfortable eating in her dorm’s basement. “I’m definitely a little bit surprised at how lenient the dining hall is,” Haner says. “I’m happy about it because there’s
a sense of normalcy, but at the same time, it doesn’t really make sense. I know my friends at other schools, all their meals are graband-go. I like being able to socialize with my friends, but at the same time, it’s not super COVID-safe.” According to Julie PayneKirchmeier, vice president of Student Affairs, dining hall procedures have undergone multiple adjustments over the past two quarters, from dedensified seating and reusable Ozzi takeout containers to seat reservation systems. After undergraduates returned for the winter, PayneKirchmeier says staffers noticed that some students “weren’t necessarily adhering” to capacity guidelines in certain areas of the dining halls, which led to further seating restrictions in booth areas. Still, students like Haner who want to avoid the dining hall face a dilemma: They aren’t sure where they can and can’t eat. “The RAs are very
inconsistent about things,” Haner says. “Our friend got written up for eating in the basement alone. But then we texted our RA, and we got written confirmation that we were allowed to eat there.”
during a pandemic — I just don’t think there’s any justification for that. It’s scary.” Kaili Wegener, Weinberg first-year Medill first-year Ryan Choe has also noticed that in situations where rooms are above their specified capacities, RAs often don’t take head counts or administer warnings. “It almost indirectly encourages that behavior, because if you don’t draw the line, then students don’t really know where to stop,” Choe says. To Choe, the system is like a game of telephone: The University sets standards and passes them down to administration, which eventually relays expectations to RAs. In the end, messages can become garbled, potentially giving students the wrong impression. “I think the hardest thing about being an RA right now is having the guts to call kids
out,” Choe says. “That’s not a position that anyone wants to find themselves in.” According to Claire*, who has worked in university housing, Choe’s assessment is mostly accurate. Last quarter, she says, communication from the University was often limited and confusing for workers in Residential Services. During the early days of the Wildcat Wellness modif ied quarantine, many employees weren’t even aware that a curfew existed for students. Claire* frequently had to defer to her own judgment to make decisions. For RAs, Claire* says that their job during the pandemic is more complicated than simply policing their peers. Many rely on their positions for living space, food and income, and they must weigh those needs against their own health and safety. While knocking on doors to check capacity limits, they have to consider the possibility that several students could be inside the room with their masks off, putting them directly in harm’s way. “You never want to be in a position where you have to choose between your living situation and job and your security and health,” she says.
says that students who
f the Party acted immediately he Price o
On the morning of Jan. 21, students awoke to find a skull and the word “superspreaders” spray-painted on the brick exterior of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house. The graffiti followed an unsanctioned party hosted that Tuesday by Phi Kappa Psi that violated the Interfraternity Council (IFC)’s Code of Conduct. According to a statement from the IFC Standards Board, the chapter was found responsible for “hosting an unregistered social function, for poor representation of the IFC community, for misconduct in the recruitment process, for possession of alcohol on chapter premises and for violation of the IFC’s public healthoriented social event ban.” Following the event, the IFC fined Phi Kappa Psi $3,500 and banned all of its recruitment activities until the end of spring 2021. IFC President Nick Papandreou
to report the event were critical to the success of the investigation. “Phi Psi was one of those cases where the reports came in while the event was taking place, so we could intervene accordingly,” Papandreou says. “But in general, everything we get we investigate as much as we can, and if there’s sufficient evidence, we move on with our accountability process.” When Papandreou received reports on the night of the party, he went to the house to see the event for himself. Once he realized that there were more than 10 students present, he took pictures of the party as it
was occurring. Later, Phi Kappa Psi provided him with a list of attendees, and he was able to conduct interviews with some of those individuals in order to determine the details of the event. But without photo evidence or a source willing to come forward and explain the details of a gathering, Papandreou says, the process becomes much more difficult. “If there’s not enough proof, facts, evidence, it makes it very hard to go to a trial like we did with Phi Psi,” Papandreou says. The IFC has received and investigated reports from students about other events this quarter, but Phi Kappa Psi is the only Greek house that has been sanctioned thus far. While it’s within the IFC’s purview to sanction fraternities, they have no control over how the University disciplines the students involved in a party. However, PayneKirchmeier says there have only been a few reports of gatherings since the beginning of the school year. “Have we gotten some reports? Sure. Have there been a lot? No,” PayneKirchmeier says. “Processwise, any community member can file a general concern report, and that comes over to our Dean of Students office. If it has specific information in it, such as day, location, maybe a picture or two and an address, we follow up right away.” Anna*, a Weinberg second-year living offcampus this quarter, has attended several FEATURES37 FEATURES 37
parties and dinners with multiple friend groups since classes began. Following one particular night of socializing, she and most of her friends contracted COVID-19. “ We took the risk and decided to go to social gatherings, knowing that there was a chance we could get [COVID-19],” Anna* says. “We were all kind of accepting of that.” After learning that they had the virus, Anna* and her friends
quarantined separately for two weeks. Now that they have antibodies, she says, they feel even more comfortable hanging out in larger groups. “We wanted to have a fun college experience,” Anna says. “Even if we were super careful, there would still be the risk of us
getting it from our apartment building or going out to restaurants. In the high-stress environment of school, we wanted to be able to go out to eat and do something fun on Friday nights.” When she started to receive complaints about her friend group’s behavior from other community members, Anna* was somewhat surprised. “People were kind of coming at us and saying things like, ‘There’s a pandemic, why are you going out for dinner?’ or ‘People are dying; you’re killing people; why are you hanging out with anyone other than your roommates?’ It was definitely hard to hear that because I was trying to emphasize the role that our mental health was playing in our decisions to socialize,” Anna* says. Sarah*, another Weinberg second-year living offcampus, also says her stressful workload and isolation have made her feel compelled to socialize. She lives with several roommates and has been seeing a larger group of about eight friends who sometimes invite other
acquaintances to join them. “It’s hard to only do schoolwork and not see other people,” Sarah* says. “I think there is a way to see other people and still be responsible about it. We’ve kind of just been seeing the same group of people to get a change of scenery and socialization. Otherwise, I would literally go stir-crazy.” According to Eli Finkel, head of Northwestern’s Relationships and Motivation Lab, many adolescents may see the rewards of socializing as greater than the risks of contracting COVID-19. “ The benef its of socializing — social bonding, sex — remain intact. In fact, insofar as one has been feeling socially deprived, the benefits are more powerful than usual,” Finkel says. “More importantly, the benefits are immediate and concrete (the fun of beer pong, the pleasure of sex), whereas the costs are delayed and abstract (there’s a small chance that this get-together will spread the disease).” Finkel says that, as social animals, loneliness can affect humans deeply; because college is a time when most students broaden their social circles and seek out sexual relationships, it makes sense that
students have been attempting to socialize extensively. Still, he says, it’s possible to have rewarding experiences without violating COVID-19 guidelines. “The vaccines look very promising, and life is long,” Finkel says. “There’s a good chance that this summer will feel reasonably normal. On the other hand, people will continue to die in these next few months, and it’s within our power to decrease the odds that more people die.”
te Roomma ents m e (Dis)agre When Medill firstyear Jack* arrived on campus, he and his roommate agreed to be “somewhat relaxed” about following COVID-19 guidelines. However, it quickly became clear that his roommate had a different understanding of “relaxed.” Often, Jack* would return to his room to find that his roommate had invited friends over to hang out without masks, and they would remain there late into the night. “It’s a little bit disturbing knowing that we’re existing with so many other people, all of whose lives and health are at risk because of all of our actions,” Jack* says. “It’s tough, not wanting to be frank and confrontational about it, but also making clear that I am uncomfortable with the level and nature of activity that’s occurring.”
When Jack*’s roommate continued to allow larger groups of friends into their room, Jack* decided that he needed to express his discomfort with the situation.
“It’s a little bit
disturbing knowing that we’re existing with so many other people, all of whose lives and health are at risk because of all of our actions.” Jack*, Medill first-year “Now I feel more able to put my foot down or just discuss something that does make me uncomfortable,” Jack* says. “Our relationship is still really solid. It’s tough, but there’s no one to really point fingers at in this situation, because I know that if people are being irresponsible, I have the obligation to report it, be active about it and try to fix the situation.” Wegener believes the idea that students like Jack* are asked to surveil and report their peers is a failure on the part of the University. “I shouldn’t have to report people who are having parties,” Wegener says. “I think that that’s the role of the institution.” Other universities, including Yale University and the University of
North Carolina, have faced backlash for using systems that require students to report each other as a means of keeping the virus in check. Such measures can allow for the prevention of gatherings or guideline violations in the short term. However, they may also create tension amongst students who feel that they need to police the behavior of others to maintain campus safety. According to Tim Bono, a lecturer in Psychological & Brain Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, shaming in these situations can be counterproductive. “If you point a finger at them and say, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t be doing that,’ or you start to shame them, that is likely to backfire,” Bono says. “You’re going to be much more successful by gently opening up a conversation about the person’s values and goals and drawing attention to the ways that their current behaviors might not be conducive to those outcomes.” Third-year Jess* discovered just how damaging disagreements over the pandemic could be when she moved into a house with five friends this fall. During their time living together, Jess* was constantly on edge
about the possibility of contracting COVID-19. She had a job that required her to come into contact with small children and elderly members of another family, and she didn’t want to endanger them. However, her roommates had come to a separate agreement to “make the most” of their Fall Quarter. Jess* frequently expressed her discomfort about the number of people invited to the house without masks, the size of her roommates’ friend groups and the unsafe indoor activities they were participating in. “I said, ‘I’m really unhappy. I would honestly rather be at work than be here sometimes, because I don’t feel heard or seen,’” Jess* says. “I wasn’t able to stand up for myself because they were all in agreement that what they were doing was fine.” For students experiencing similar situations, Jess* says, health has to be the top priority. “When you are living somewhere, that is your safe space,” Jess* says. “You should feel like you can
exist freely and without fear of bodily harm. If you are in a position where you no longer feel that your body is safe, you are entitled to leave.” The tipping point came when Jess*’s roommate invited another friend who had been socializing extensively into their home without a mask. Jess* knew she had to make a decision. “I grabbed my things in the middle of the night and left.”
*Names have been changed to preserve anonymity.
How organizations at Northwestern and beyond are using mutual aid to uplift their communities. WRITTEN BY JULIETTA MKRTYCHIAN // DESIGNED BY ALISA GAO
raving the Evanston cold, members of Students Organizing for Labor Rights (SOLR) huddled outside of the Davis Purple Line Station around a single table, hoping to collect Personal Protective Equipment and winter essentials for Northwestern University’s service workers. They were unaware of how many donations they would receive by the end of the day. The afternoon of Nov. 13, 2020 was SOLR’s first Mutual Aid Supplies Distribution event. Student members laughed off the sharpness of the wind and the noise of nearby buses to keep their spirits high. Passersby who stopped, curious as to why students were standing in the cold, were met with an introduction to SOLR’s mutual aid efforts. The tabling, SOLR members told them, was to support the workers who had been furloughed by the University last March.
While the event faced a slow start, by the end of the three-hour long fundraiser, the table was covered with donations that spilled onto the sidewalk. Items ranged from handmade hats and scarves donated by students from Knitwestern, Norhtwestern’s knitting club, to lightly-used coats and blankets — equipping SOLR with supplies to better support workers who, at the time of the event, had been laid off for eight months. Tabling events, along with petitions and mutual aid funds, all contribute to SOLR’s mutual aid efforts to support community members. Mutual aid, in its simplest terms, is a mutually beneficial, voluntary exchange of goods and services rooted in community care. Organizations like SOLR turn to mutual aid when existing institutions fail to meet the needs that they identify in their communities. The practice of mutual aid has always been tied to social justice movements, especially those concerning Black liberation. When a population is in need, most commonly one that has been historically and systemically oppressed, mutual aid works around existing barriers to provide a support network. Today, mutual aid has become integral to dayto-day functioning of organizations at Northwestern and in cities across the U.S., offering alternatives to the less efficient systems of support that exist within the status quo.
Wildcats Give Back When Weinberg third-year Abbey Zhu joined her high school’s Equity and Inclusion Team, she expected an opportunity to push for meaningful policy changes to her school’s environment. Instead, she found herself endlessly discussing the harmful culture rather than helping to remedy it. “It was really infuriating to know I was part of this superficial team that had no power, but it also felt like there were no other avenues to force the school to acknowledge and reckon
with its racism and realize that change was necessary,” Zhu says. “I wanted to expose how racist and violent my classmates, teachers and school were, but obviously everything we did as a team was superficial.” It wasn’t until Zhu arrived at Northwestern that she was able to seek out organizations that embodied her values, and by her second year, she became a committed member of SOLR. “I joined SOLR honestly because a lot of my friends were in SOLR in my first year at Northwestern ... and because they’re doing such integral work on campus to make sure our service workers are being treated with dignity,” Zhu says.
Although a March 2020 news release by the University claimed that they would use federal funds to compensate workers, workers say they never saw any funding distributed to them after they lost their income, health insurance and benefits. This led SOLR to step in. “There’s only so much SOLR can do, which is why we’re asking Northwestern and Compass to do more because they are multi-billion dollar corporations,” Zhu says. According to Zhu, workers are still in need of greater financial support in order to fulfill basic needs like rent, food and utilities. Now, she says students and other members of the community must take it upon themselves to support workers until Northwestern takes accountability for its actions. SOLR has worked in coalition with other Northwestern organizations, like the Northwestern University Graduate Workers (NUGW), to advance both of their causes. According to NUGW’s website, their organization is an
“antiracist, feminist labor union that advocates for better working and living conditions for all graduate workers,” with a focus on “historically excluded and underrepresented graduate students.” NUGW has attempted to push for change by petitioning the University’s administration. It now works with other student-run campus organizations like SOLR and Northwestern University Community Not Cops, a student organization advocating for the abolition of policing on Northwestern’s campus and investment into the student body and surrounding communities. Some members of NUGW have previous experience with mutual aid networks, including fourth-year PhD candidate Ally Reith. Reith says she and her partner dedicated themselves to helping people across Chicago prior to joining NUGW, explaining that their involvement wasn’t necessarily tied to a specific organization, but rather to larger community networks in the city. Whenever she had the chance, Reith would use her car to pick up items, such as furniture or produce, and drop them off to any residents that requested them. “The simplicity of it for me speaks to the value of community care and justice, and recognizing that if I have something I can give, I’m sure there’s someone that has the need for it,” Reith says. “Having a mutual aid network removes all of the bureaucratic red tape and access barriers. It simplifies that exchange in a way that I think is beautiful.” Reith became involved with NUGW last March and says that the organization has mutual aid embedded in its infrastructure, since serving the collective and providing relief to the community are some of the union’s main goals. “Being able to give immediate relief to folks that need it is one of the strongest elements of our organization, in my opinion,” Reith says. “We are able to give immediate relief and sustain pressure on the University because, of course, these things and services shouldn’t be on students to be providing. It’s the University’s job. So we exist to fill where they abandon us.” FEATURES 41
City-wide mutual aid efforts This June, amid the Black Lives Matter protests, Chicago resident Nita Tennyson opened her phone to a Facebook post that would ignite a powerful chain reaction. It was about baby formula. This particular post said that because of recent lootings, stores that would typically carry formula were either closed or stripped of supplies, making the product difficult to acquire. Tennyson has dreamed of providing care for her community since she was a child. Her career aspirations included becoming a youth probation officer, a teacher and the founder of a youth center. Whatever the future held, she wanted to give back to Englewood and Chatham, the neighborhoods she grew up in. The Facebook post was the push she needed to make her dreams a reality, which came in the form of her mutual aid organization, Nita’s Love Train. “What specifically made me start the Love Train was the day of the lootings, it was just a lot of negativity, a lot of bad things going on … I had extra stuff so I was like, ‘There’s a lot of negativity. I should just go outside and be positive, so that’s what I’m gonna do,’” Tennyson says. The founding principle of Tennyson’s organization is to provide individuals and families throughout Chicago with immediate provisions they otherwise would not be able to afford, and the name is a reference to how each area she visits is like a “new stop to show people love.” The Love Train began as several local pop-ups where individuals could pick up the items they needed, though the winter weather caused Tennyson to switch to a delivery method. Typically, she delivers packages that contain a week’s worth of necessities, ranging from diapers and baby formula to blankets and clothes — all things she considers to be mutual aid. “Mutual aid could be books … Mutual aid could be art,” Tennyson says. “Just because you’re giving people actual items doesn’t mean you’re not giving them as much love as you can, because
people also need to have grievance circles, and healing circles, and hugs and all types of stuff because there’s a lot going on in our society.” Like Tennyson, Washington Heights resident Ahriel Fuller became involved with mutual aid as a direct response to the “opportunity desperation” she witnessed during the recent summer’s protests. Her mutual aid organization, now known as $$FREE.99, first started as a result of a donation collection she organized that flooded her mother’s home with supplies. As a result, Fuller began her own pop-up shop, centered around sustainability and providing free goods to those in need in her community. “I decided to come up with a solution. I didn’t even have a name for it first. I just started collecting supplies, Pampers, wipes, formulas, and that’s really what it started with … I got a very great and heavy response from the community,” Fuller says. The $$FREE.99 Community Store, Fuller’s name for the initial pop-ups, formed as a result of the voluntary efforts of its organizer and her community. Fuller says that because people were willing to donate their time and cars and spread the word, the store was able to take off. Now, $$FREE.99 aims to provide individuals with basic essentials like feminine hygiene products, household cleaning products and goods for those raising babies and adolescents. “We can’t depend on this system to give us what we need, so let’s just do it for ourselves, do what we can,” Fuller says. “This is how every movement for Black bodies has been successful … Without mutual aid, a lot of things in history wouldn’t have been accomplished. It’s a necessity.” Fuller wants to focus on making $$FREE.99 a more permanent establishment where sustainable practices can be encouraged. Those new systems would include recycling goods and incorporating brick-and-mortar trading posts — essentially store-fronts that allow residents to barter for goods
and services rather than using credit or cash. “All throughout history our ancestors keep showing us that it’s gotta be us, that’s the only way we’re gonna be alright. We have to take care of us. That’s the only way we’re gonna get love — it’s if we love us,” Fuller says. While Tennyson’s and Fuller’s mutual aid efforts began due to social movements in the city, the coronavirus pandemic has acted as a catalyst for other mutual aid initiatives in Chicago. Since Illinois saw its first rise in coronavirus cases in March 2020, 23-year-old Logan Square resident Mika Deshmukh began actively searching for ways to support her community. So, when a local artist introduced her to The Love Fridge, a Chicago-based mutual aid organization, Deshmukh saw it as an act of fate to do work she had been passionate about since 2019: tackling food injustice.
With 24 fridges in 18 neighborhoods across Chicago, The Love Fridge strives to battle food inequity by filling refrigerators with fresh produce and ensuring these fridges are attainable in both location and accessibility, allowing residents to take goods practically anonymously. “I think it’s this whole… difference in worldview: Are you thinking about your individual wealth and well-being and success, or are you thinking about your community’s wealth, well-being and success?” Deshmukh says. Deshmukh and other Love Fridge organizers have been able to form relationships with local residents and activists, contributing to The Love Fridge’s community care. Deshmukh
says that because Love Fridges are either sponsored by local businesses, community centers or individual hosts that are already engaged with community organizing efforts in their neighborhoods, the organization can successfully engage in community care. “Nonprofits are often centered around philanthropy or charity, and that’s not something we want to do,” Deshmukh says. “We want it to be a sustainable relationship, as we say, ‘nourishing our community.’ We want to make our initiatives have a life cycle and be sustainable in the communities.” This past December, the organization launched their “Full Circle” initiative, where they partnered with local community restaurants and chefs to provide prepared meals in the fridges. This way, houseless residents can access nourishing food, and restaurants that have struggled as a result of the pandemic also receive support. “Mutual aid is caring for your community, and by caring for your community you are trusting that your community will also be there for you,” Deshmukh says. “I really feel like that’s the fundamental idea… removing this imposed scarcity and isolation.”
The need for mutual effort Despite the current popularity of mutual aid efforts, student and local organizers alike worry about the sustainability of future initiatives. Since the initial flood of supplies that came in the aftermath of the first protests in support of George Floyd, Fuller has noticed a significant decline in donations, which means the burden of donating has fallen upon the members of her community that are themselves in need of support. “In the beginning there were a lot more donations coming in, and that’s because a lot of people looked at it as a one-time donation,” Fuller says.
“People are real receptive naturally, especially Black people. Those are the people keeping momentum. Non-Black people haven’t donated since their first time or refuse to answer emails or their phones. A lot of Black people are generous, but it be the people that have the least that are giving the most.” Tennyson has similar worries. Although she feels fortunate to continue to receive donations from her immediate networks and communities, she recognizes that many of the burdens associated with sustaining mutual aid work eventually fall on Black people and low-income individuals. “No matter how much we educate someone, it’s up to them to decide to participate and show love,” Tennyson says. “We can post every day what we’re going through on social media, we can write a book about it, we could put up a video showing exactly the traumas and different situations we face everyday, but no matter how many likes, no matter how many retweets and shares we get, it has to be up to a person to look at this and decide they want to show love. There’s only so much we can say to get people to show up.” Zhu has also seen declines in student body support of SOLR since the beginning of the school year. Lowincome and working class students, who aren’t able to make sustainable donations to the greater SOLR fund, are facing the greatest burdens of contributing to mutual aid efforts. “Workers continuously need financial support, and it’s unfair to be asking low-income folks to keep donating to us when there are a lot of wealthy students at Northwestern who could be monthly donors to SOLR and contributing more than $20 a month without it hurting them or their family financially,” Zhu says. Although the organization continues to petition the University to take accountability for its actions and support essential workers, Zhu says that this is a continuous battle that might not be resolved in the near future. Additionally, Zhu believes there’s a notion that the struggles service workers have faced are waning. In
her eyes, affluent individuals that donate once are merely using their contribution to check a box rather than engaging with an ongoing effort. “There’s a notion that the violence has stopped, a sense that these are exceptions, when we know that this is the norm: that Northwestern has never cared for its dining workers, that they have never paid them enough or treated them with dignity, and justified them being laid off because they’re not seen as integral to the community or deserving of financial stability,” Zhu says. “These are not emergencies, this is the norm for dining workers.” Although Deshmukh doesn’t think sustainability is an urgent concern for The Love Fridge because of the influx in donations the organization continues to receive, she does worry that mutual aid may be experiencing a momentary “explosion” in popularity due to the pandemic. Yet even with these worries, she’s hoping that the recent spotlight on mutual aid efforts will encourage people to prioritize community care as a regular practice. “I hope for a day that we don’t need mutual aid, but I don’t have enough faith in the existing systems, quite honestly,” Deshmukh says. “I hope for a future where mutual aid is more widespread and normalized, where regular citizens feel more motivated to participate in mutual aid networks. I hope community care is more commonplace and not politicized or considered leftist. Because what is political about caring about your community? I don’t think it’s a matter of politics, it’s a matter of love.” FEATURES
CONFUSED Winter Quarter at Northwestern is notoriously isolating. Enter 2021. WRITTEN BY GIA YETIKYEL // DESIGNED BY MAREN KRANKING
edill first-year Mia Walvoord tried to stay calm when her friend texted her about having COVID-19 symptoms the morning after they ate dinner together. Once her fear that her friend would test positive was confirmed, Walvoord dropped everything and started packing. Later that day, she received a phone call from Northwestern University’s COVID Response Team, informing her that she was contacttraced and needed to relocate to Quarantine and Isolation Housing (Q/I Housing). While she had already packed her bags, that didn’t prepare her for the challenges isolation would bring. Since the start of the pandemic, many students have faced housing insecurity and overall anxiety about living situations. When the University permitted underclassmen to live on campus during Winter Quarter, they were given a list of rules and regulations including weekly testing, symptom tracking and socially distancing at least six feet apart. According to a study published in September 2020 in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, the pandemic has negatively impacted college students. Circumstances brought by lockdown
and stay-at-home orders have highlighted the necessity of acknowledging and intervening in students’ mental health. In the study, 71% of students had increased stress and anxiety due to COVID-19. While multiple issues contributed to this increase, 89% of the students reported that it was due to difficulty concentrating, and 82% of students reported the increased stress came from greater concerns about academic performance. In a normal year, students worry about arriving to their 9 a.m. class on time and fitting a workout class in their schedule. Now, they must contend with COVID-19 restrictions, isolation and the risk of contracting the virus. While the University has provided students with mental health and wellness resources, students are forced to adapt to an isolating college experience they couldn’t have predicted or prepared for.
NOT THE DORMS WE REMEMBER
Northwestern requires those who test positive with COVID-19 or were in contact with someone who tested positive to relocate to designated quarantine and isolation dorms until their symptoms subside. Students are usually allowed back to their regular residences after 10 to 14 days. Walvoord herself did not have COVID-19, but because she was in contact with someone who tested positive, she was required to move into Foster-Walker (Plex) on Feb. 16. When she received the initial phone call from her case manager about the move, Walvoord thought she was ready to handle whatever information came her way. But Walvoord wasn’t prepared for the amount of information she would have to take in. “They gave us all these dates and kind of shouted them out at us, like this is when you would get out if you test negative, this is when you would get out if you test positive. It was just a lot of information to take in the span of 10 minutes,” Walvoord says. Walvoord says that communication with the University throughout her time in isolation could have been better. During her daily wellness calls, Walvoord felt the information given to her did not do much to help. Sometimes, she and her friends would have multiple people calling and providing different information.
“IT CAUSES A LOT OF EXTRA STRESS TO NOT HAVE INFORMATION.” MEDILL FIRST-YEAR MIA WALVOORD
“A lot of the time my questions were met with, ‘I can’t answer that for you, you have to wait for this person to call you because that’s a different department’ … It causes a lot of extra stress to not have information,” Walvoord says. “We didn’t know who to trust or who to follow, and we just wanted to be respectful of University guidelines and not make a mistake that could harm us or anybody.” Students are also told bedsheets are optional but are only given one non-fitted sheet — which barely covers the bed — to tuck under the mattress. Walvoord remembers feeling grateful for bringing her own sheets and being spared the inconvenience of using the University-provided ones. During her stay, the University offered a flyer with resources for students, such as work-out equipment, coloring books and numbers for services, like the NU Health Service and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). CAPS is Northwestern’s primary resource for mental health, and it is heavily advertised to students upon arrival to campus. CAPS offers students short-term individual therapy, where they provide further resources like group therapy. Students sometimes have to wait weeks at a time to find an available phone slot, while other times, there is no availability at all. Even during an ordinary year, a student’s mental health circumstances have to ‘pass’ the phone consultation — although the criteria CAPS has determined is unclear — to receive further counseling. The exception to this is if an individual needs to schedule a crisis appointment within 24 to 48 hours. The CAPS website currently provides resources that link to PDFs or websites for pandemic-related stressors like remote learning, maintaining connections, abusive households and more. While the University offers services to make quarantining more bearable, students continue to attempt to find their own forms of home in isolation. Weinberg third-year Tamara Raad found solace in her friends and family. FEATURES
When Raad sat down to eat with her suitemates, she wasn’t at her usual dining hall. Instead, she was alone in her Plex isolation dorm with Zoom pulled up on her computer, a single, dry chicken breast in front of her, and her three suitemates — also in quarantine — on her screen. Raad was asymptomatic when she was tested for COVID-19. When her results came back positive Jan. 15, Raad shared the news with her suitemates in 560 Lincoln St. — who would later have to transfer to quarantine housing due to their exposure to Raad — before calling the after-hours nurse at NU Health Service around midnight to tell her about her results. Raad was told she couldn’t be moved to Plex until the next morning and didn’t receive a call from her assigned case manager until she’d already moved into Q/I Housing. Three days after she tested positive, Raad’s symptoms worsened. Instead of restful nights, Raad’s sleep was interrupted by chest pains and coughing. Concerns about virus-related complications arose, and Raad was taken to the ER for scans and blood tests. The tests returned normal, taking a weight off of Raad’s shoulders, but when she returned to Plex, the halls felt as empty as when she left. “I think, at some point, I was the only one on the floor that I was in,” Raad says. “So there was absolutely no socializing.” The University provided daily check-ins over the phone, asking about Raad’s symptoms or if she needed further support from CAPS. Raad was also able to put in requests for additional snacks, groceries or medicine to be delivered to her by the University, as students aren’t allowed to have things delivered by others. Raad made a point to not have any expectations when she relocated to Plex. Aware that it was not the nicest dorm and her situation was far from ideal, she was determined to take the experience one step at a time and not be disappointed with the outcome. “I did not think it would be possible that I would get COVID, so I didn’t even bother to think about what it would be like to be in isolation housing,” Raad says. Raad wanted to think of her quarantine as a time to focus on school and be productive. Being in isolation meant less options for distractions and more opportunity to be efficient. Even after getting extensions for one assignment, she found herself feeling unmotivated and uninspired in the small, exposed-brick dorm room. “I had several deadlines, and I just could not get myself to study,” Raad says. “Even on days where I wasn’t feeling too sick, physically, I just could not get anything done.”
Living off-campus is often considered an exciting part of college. With fewer rules, no RAs and much more freedom, students tend to look forward to moving past Northwestern’s two-year on-campus residency requirement. But with COVID-19 still weighing heavily on students, living off-campus presents its own challenges, especially when one roommate contracts the virus. Some students sharing off-campus housing have created rules and restricted social interactions to lessen the chance of contracting COVID-19. Communication third-year Shelby Schultz contracted COVID-19 in early November while living off-campus with three other roommates. Her roommates didn’t get the virus, and Schultz had to isolate in her bedroom for the required 10day quarantine period. After receiving her positive test results but no phone calls from the University, Schultz took it upon herself to inform those around her and the University. While she waited to see if her symptoms worsened, she still attended her online classes and was granted extensions from professors. With COVID-19 forcing students to adapt to unimaginable and unprecedented circumstances, pressures to excel and stay safe have elevated. “I wish I had, at the time, just focused on getting better, not trying to do school,” Schultz says. One frustrating aspect of having COVID-19 was hearing how insensitively professors would discuss the topic, according to Schultz. While speaking with one professor who was not aware of Schultz’s state, the professor discussed the long-term effects of the virus and how they thought college students were being careless about COVID-19 rules. “I felt a little uncomfortable with a teacher talking about [COVID-19] as if we didn’t care about getting it or realize how horrible it is to get it,” Schultz says. A major concern was spreading the virus to her roommates. The students share a bathroom, and Schultz had to sanitize it after each use before returning to her bedroom. Her roommates would bring food and water to her room while she remained inside. While isolating, Schultz called her parents and talked to her Discord group daily. She and her roommates even
watched movies on Netflix virtually, so there was still a sense of community. “I just learned how to cope with quarantine and make sure I stayed connected to people and didn’t go crazy,” Schultz says. Possibly spreading COVID-19 to roommates has become a pressing concern for students on- and off-campus. But sometimes, this isn’t even a worry. Rishi Mahesh, a Communication fourth-year, recovered from COVID-19 in his Evanston apartment with a friend who had also already tested positive. Exhausted, achy and feverish, Mahesh was most anxious about taking his Fall Quarter final exams after contracting the virus, even though he barely had enough energy to get out of bed. Mahesh caught COVID-19 during Thanksgiving break after being invited to his close friend’s house in Michigan. His two roommates had already gone home for the holiday, so Mahesh returned to his Evanston apartment to wait out his symptoms. He says his anxiety worsened his condition, especially because the only options he was given for finals were to delay them by a week or receive Incompletes in his classes and take them the following quarter. “It sucks that those were the only two options,” Mahesh says. “It was really demoralizing.” Mahesh ultimately decided to take his finals the following week but experienced worsened health due to lack of sleep from stress. Mahesh was also nervous about quarantining in isolation once he contracted COVID-19. “I remember being very anxious about it, like in advance being like, ‘Oh, my God, what is it gonna be like to be alone?’ I always considered myself someone who would not be okay doing that,” Mahesh says. However, once Mahesh was quarantining, he says, he felt “totally fine” — in fact, he decided to use social media to take control of the experience. On his Twitter account, which has 17.6k followers, he answered questions about the virus and connected with others who had tested positive. Mahesh wanted to use his platform to counteract the narrative that most young adults contract the virus through super-spreader events. Throughout Fall Quarter, Mahesh had been seeing a CAPS provider for mental health. While he didn’t discuss COVID-19 much with his provider, he did bring up the additional familial stress he had been under due to catching the virus. Eventually, Mahesh turned to friendships for
“I WISH I HAD, AT THE TIME, JUST FOCUSED ON GETTING BETTER, NOT TRYING TO DO SCHOOL.” SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATION THIRD-YEAR SHELBY SCHULTZ support instead of the University, believing that he couldn’t rely on the school. “There’s no love there. In terms of what’s going to be keeping me through, [it’s] not the school that I go to,” Mahesh says. “I don’t think that was ever really a thought in my head. I was like, ‘Alright, you told me I have COVID, now leave me alone.’”
TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE?
In response to the ever-growing stressors students face during the pandemic, the University has sent emails to the student body with resources. At the beginning of Winter Quarter, Julie Payne-Kirchmeier, VP for Student Affairs, sent Northwestern students a “Welcome, Wildcats!” email with links to University resources for financial assistance, Northwestern Career Advancement, testing and COVID-19 safety and more. While it wasn’t specifically related to mental health, there was a wellness section listing resources, like CAPS, that are often included in the administration’s emails to students. Walvoord and her friends were interested in using CAPS during Winter Quarter, but soon discovered that the CAPS calendar was completely booked for the foreseeable future. As a result, she “just kind of gave up on the idea.” “I understand Northwestern might have limited resources for people to talk to you, but that’s just not ideal for someone who is being proactive and looking to get help to be denied that because of scheduling,” Walvoord says. Walvoord did not use any mental health resources while she was in quarantine housing, but she was more than ready to go back to her own room by the end of her isolation period. FEATURES
“I was very excited. It replicated that feeling of coming onto campus the first time,” she says. “Because everything felt new again, I’ve just gained a new appreciation for being on campus.” Still, scheduling with the University continued to be a problem for Walvoord during her moveout process, which she says was far from ideal and colored with confusion and stress. Before moving out of Plex, Walvoord and her friends received calls giving them clearance to leave at very different times of day. Her ride back to her dorm, provided by the University, had not been confirmed, and despite multiple attempts, she was not able to get a moving crate to transport her items to the downstairs lobby. After calling to inquire about the crate and waiting for one for close to an hour, Walvoord had to carry her items by herself. While Walvoord was “super grateful” to have gotten a ride back to her dorm at the conclusion of her quarantine, she was still stressed about her schoolwork and moving back into her room while her roommate awaited her arrival. When she tried to get into her room, her Wildcard didn’t work, forcing her to get a temporary keycard. She later found out that her card had not been cleared until hours after she left Plex. “I just felt a little bit forgotten about, at the end of the day, and that feeling didn’t sit very well with me,” Walvoord says. As a student starting college remotely, Walvoord was simply happy to be on campus, meet new people and feel more connected to the Northwestern community. She felt grateful for the everyday experiences of being a student on campus, whether it was picking up food at the dining hall or walking by the lakefront. After living in the quarantine dorms and being deprived of these small joys, she sought to reclaim that gratitude for the sake of her mental health and overall college experience. “Starting out school as a freshman in such a crazy year with COVID, and having so many restrictions and things that you can’t do, [you’re] able to overcome that just by feeling like, ‘At least I’m here,’” she says.
CAN STUDENTS GO? Beyond CAPS, Northwestern students have access to other resources that may be more attainable. THE FAMILY INSTITUTE
supplies individual therapy and counseling. The
RELIGIOUS AND SPIRITUAL LIFE (RSL)
CENTER FOR AWARENESS, RESPONSE & EDUCATION (CARE),
for students impacted by sexual violence and relationship violence, can be accessed for free. WHITE LIGHT THERAPY LAMPS,
said to be an effective way to treat seasonal depression, can be used in SPAC by appointment. NU ACTIVE MINDS
holds campus-wide events and conversations to get rid of the stigma surrounding mental health. Similar clubs include RESILIENT NU and THE HAPPINESS CLUB, which facilitate safe spaces and resources for students. 48
to all the campus spots i’ve loved before Students reflect on the places that make Northwestern feel like home. WRITTEN & PHOTOGRAPHED BY CARLY MENKER // DESIGNED BY MAREN KRANKING
ollege campuses can define a student’s experience. From arriving as a first-year to graduation, the memories that students the make shape them as they prepare to enter nts’ stude “real world.” The Evanston campus and their experiences on it have been formative to four to e spok time at Northwestern University. We us. camp students about their favorite spots on
o many, Deering Meadow is one of the prettiest places on Northwestern’s campus. According to Communication second-year Kelly Killorin, it is also the best spot to build a snowman. After the first big snowfall of January 2021, Killorin and her friends found that Deering Meadow, with its trees wrapped in lights, was the perfect place to play in the snow at night. According to Killorin, the
experience made her reminisce about the winter before. “It was my first time seeing the lights lit up again since I was on campus freshman year,” she says. Killorin and her friends made a bunch of snowballs and had a big snowball fight, which made Killorin nostalgic. “It was just the happiest thing ever,” she says. “I felt like a kid.” When constructing snowmen, Killorin made the bases easily,
impressing her friends and giving tips as they built them. They made two snowmen with sticks for arms, and Killorin’s friend placed her hat on one of them. Afterward, Killorin and her friends took photos of their creations with Deering Library, the trees and lights in the background. “All night, we were just admiring how pretty it was. I feel like I grew a lot closer with the friends that were there,” Killorin says.
Deering Meadow 50
Kellogg Global Hub
he Kellogg Global Hub opened for the first time in March 2017. For Shea Christian, a Weinberg fourth-year, it quickly became one of her favorite places to do work on campus. It was the perfect spot for her to stay focused when studying. “The well-dressed people and the aura of industry and professionalism always drove me to
finish assignments in record time,” Christian says. “I knew immediately that this was the perfect place to keep myself on track.” She spent countless Sundays in Kellogg staring at her computer, and the buzz of the building inspired her to remain motivated. It became a place Christian always knew she could go to if she was stressed and needed to get things done.
Kellogg was not just a place to study and work. When Christian worked in a psychology lab over the summer, it was an ideal spot to have lunch or relax in the middle of the day. “I remember sitting on the Kellogg porch in the summertime, feeling the breeze coming in from the lake and enjoying the view,” Christian says. “It always made me feel so lucky to be at Northwestern.” PHOTO STORY
hoto shoots are always something Communication third-year Grace Frome looks forward to. They’ve been a fun part of her Northwestern experience since she started doing them with friends her freshman year. Each photo shoot takes place at a new location, and Frome’s favorite was one she did at the garden courtyard between Kresge Centennial and Crowe Halls.
“We turned the other way and it just opens up into this beautiful, empty courtyard. I had no idea that it ever existed,” Frome says. Once there, Frome knew the photos would turn out great. The weather was perfect — clear and sunny. Frome remembers watching her friend take advantage of the conditions by climbing a stair banister to reach a tree so he would be framed by the leaves.
“There are so many beautiful places all around campus, and I love it — getting to see people interact with these surroundings and really feel themselves and find beauty and happiness in the space,” Frome says. Looking back at the photos always makes Frome happy. She won’t ever forget that day in the courtyard. For her, those photos are among the best she’s ever taken.
he Lakefill is a special spot for many Northwestern students. Claire Bugos, a Medill class of ‘20 alumna, remembers it fondly, especially when she watched the sunrise for the final time this past summer. Coming from California, the outdoors has been a big part of her life, so having a natural body of water like Lake Michigan nearby was something she found comfort in. On the walk to the lake with her friends, they noticed how it was a perfect sunrise. The clouds were wispy,
mixed with purple and pink hues, and the sun rose as they sat by the rock that Bugos and her friends had painted the night before. While watching the sun come up, Bugos noticed a mixed martial arts group simultaneously having a celebration. “They were all lined up with these big drums, and as the sun rose they were beating their drums and cheering making music,” Bugos says. “It was a total accident, but it just made our experience feel so much more
meaningful because you have this drumline for just you.” Bugos says it was almost like the music was a perfect send-off for her time at Northwestern. “I was feeling really nostalgic, because it was like the second to last weekend before I was going to be gone,” Bugos says. “I was definitely present, taking in all the beauty of the campus.” For Bugos, it was a moment of reflection and a way to say goodbye to a place she had called home for the past four years.
HANGOVER HANGOVER HANGOVER PONG PROHIBITION 55 MALÖRT & ME 56 MOMAGERS OF NU 58 ALL IS NOT WILDCAT WELL 60 DRESSED TO COVID TEST 62
PHOTOS BY VICTORIA BENEFIELD
o o o o o o o o o o o o The townies rage against o o o Pong prohibiti n outdoor drinking games. WRITTEN BY OLIVIA EVANS // DESIGNED BY EMMA ESTBERG
magine it’s June 2022: Doja Cat is the headliner for Dillo Day, the sun is shining brightly, everyone you know is vaccinated for COVID-19 and social distancing restrictions are finally lifted permanently. You’re on your way to your first darty, fitted up and ready for a day of fun. Nothing can bring you down — until you arrive at the off-campus house. You hear no music, and the lively crowd you expected is not there. Everyone is inside. You find yourself heading down into the overflowing, unfinished basement, knocking your head against an exposed pipe. There is hardly room to stand. You and your friends can’t even find the alcohol. No one is enjoying themselves. You wonder why no one is utilizing the plentiful space outdoors, the luscious green grass and clean Spring Quarter air. Then, you remember 1st Ward Alderman Judy Fiske’s diabolical plan to ruin fun: Beer pong and all other outdoor drinking games are prohibited in Evanston. Playing drinking games outside is nothing new, but it has served as a perfect COVID-safe(ish) activity during these unprecedented times (is that a triggering phrase?). Off-campus students are more frequently utilizing their outdoor spaces to bask in the few moments of joy that are found in 2021 and maybe enjoy a few Coronas (without the virus part, hopefully). Consequently, Evanston residents, in a very old man-ish, “get these kids off my lawn” kind of way, are begging for some “peace and quiet” on the streets of the 1st Ward, according to an article by The Daily Northwestern. From this comes Fiske’s proposed “beer pong ban.” In a Human Services Committee Meeting in November, Fiske suggested modeling the ban after the municipal code in Belmar, New Jersey. Belmar City Council passed an ordinance in the summer of 2005, stating the game exposed unconsenting neighbors to “foul
language, rowdy and disorderly behavior and to examples of the consumption of alcohol under circumstances that are detrimental,” according to a 2008 article by TIME Magazine. Unlike Evanston, Belmar is not a college town (although with the recent closure of Burger King and literally nothing to do, it might be a stretch to refer to Evanston as a college town), but it attracts an influx of younger visitors every summer due to its coastal location. While the ordinance in Belmar is still in place today, it faces backlash from the younger demographic it targets. Fiske’s proposed ban is receiving similar ridicule from Northwestern students — both for its content and incredibly misleading name. Sarah Johnson, a member of Northwestern’s Ultimate Frisbee Team, says her biggest frustration with the
ban is the way Fiske has presented it as looking out for Northwestern students and the community, rather than targeting off-campus residences like the Frisbee house for how they act on their private property. This past fall, the Frisbee house, located at the intersection of daytime and drinking (or in other words, Foster and Sherman), received word from their landlord of neighbors complaining about the unsightly view of their beer die table being left out in their front lawn. When they heard about Fiske’s beer pong ban proposal, the residents of the Frisbee house felt targeted. “They need to own up to the fact that it’s all for aesthetic reasoning rather than claiming it’s to help university students,” Johnson says. Johnson and Will Sadowski, another member of the Northwestern Ultimate Frisbee Team, also find the ban’s title misleading. Both assert that the Frisbee house regularly played games of beer die, not beer pong, on their front lawn this past summer. “It’s a lot different. It’s a lot more fun and diverse,” Sadowski says. It’s true. Beer pong and beer die are dramatically different games, based on the beer pong rules on Bpong.com, a very reputable source for all drinking game-related information. The ban proposal has not yet been passed, but according to an email from Fiske, conversations between Associated Student Government and Fiske are in progress to form standardized regulations regarding drinking offcampus. If the proposal passes, at least Northwestern students can still sleep well at night, knowing we will always have the slightly more lame but Northwestern-invented indoor drinking game of Caps to fall back on (and that Judy Fiske is a boomer who doesn’t know the difference between beer pong and beer die).
PHOTO BY CHIARA DORSI PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY EMMA ESTBERG
How the world’s worst liquor became a Chicago icon — and the cause of my hangover. WRITTEN BY TABOR BREWSTER DESIGNED BY EMMA ESTBERG
s I write this testimonial half-awake and still a little bit Malört-drunk from the night before, my stomach seems to beg for my attention, howling and pleading with me as if to say, “Please, never do this to me again. Please.” Dear Malört, why did you do this to me? What have I done to deserve this? So, where did things go wrong? It is an important question, after all, considering in approximately three hours the coroner will be wondering the same thing. Maybe it was when I convinced my roommates to join me in “Malört shots.” Or maybe it was earlier, when I purchased the barely ingestible elixir and could tell that the man behind the counter was worried for my overall well-being. “Are you sure you want to do this?” his eyes seemed to say. Was my fate decided from that very moment? Dear reader, to understand how I got here, we have to go back nine decades, to the year 1933. A young man named George Brode had just graduated from what is now known as the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, according to his 1999 obituary in The Chicago Tribune. Soon after graduating, Brode took a job at his wife’s family business, D.J. Bielzoff Products Co. Meanwhile, in Chicago, a mysterious Swede named Carl Jeppson had been selling his alcoholic Malört concoction during Prohibition under the pretense that it was a “medicinal” product, according to the “History” page on the Malört website. Legend has it that Jeppson’s tastebuds were so scorched from severe tobacco abuse that his recipe for Malört was actually one of the few things he could taste. Shortly after the repeal of prohibition, Bielzoff Products bought the recipe for Malört from Jeppson and began selling it as an alcoholic beverage. Although Brode later sold the company, he never parted with the rights to Malört. For decades, he marketed the beverage as only for drinkers with the strongest of stomachs, eventually bringing the product to a level of infamy in Chicago culture. Who was this man, George Brode, who seemed to be so infatuated with such an off-putting drink? Little information is publicly available, other than that he was a genius marketer, a lawyer and a Northwestern graduate. Only after scanning the Northwestern Archives, public records and Ancestry.com did I discover what may very well be the only existing picture of George Brode. You may be wondering, what does Malört actually taste like? In online videos, reviews and even pop culture, the taste has been compared to gasoline, pencil shavings and burnt plastic, among other more unpleasant things. My favorite description, however, comes from none other than the CEO of Malört’s parent company CH Distillery. He is known to describe it as “ass, gas and fire.” Yes, that is an exact quote. Let’s break this down, shall we?
First, we have the “ass.” Upon the first moments of consumption, when the beverage has entered the mouth and made contact with the taste buds, we get strong hints of wormwood, a bitter herb often used to flavor drinks like absinthe. This makes sense, as wormwood is the only ingredient that the makers of Malört are willing to disclose. The initial wormwood taste is bad, but not the worst. It has an earthy, funky taste, reminiscent of a root or maybe dirt. At the very least, it tastes like something that someone with strange taste may eat. I suppose this explains the “ass.” Next we have “gas.” This one is pretty George Broide (later changed to Brode), middle row, far right. Here he is pictured with his Law School Jewish Fraternity, Delta Rho. straightforward. After swallowing the liqueur, the taste of wormwood fades into a strong, biting aftertaste which is best described as gasoline. Finally, we have “fire.” I think this description is less apt I’ve never actually ingested gasoline (thankfully), but I have for the taste and more applicable to the overall experience. smelled it. Using my nose as a witness, I’ve concluded that The act of drinking Malört is very much a dumpster fire. this aftertaste must be the closest a human can come to A large, unstoppable dumpster fire that spreads from one sipping your Shell station’s finest petrol. It’s far worse than dumpster to a nearby building before eventually engulfing the initial wormwood taste, and the worst part: It doesn’t the whole city in catastrophic disaster. Oddly, much like go away. The chemical aftertaste lingers uncomfortably for a an uncontrollable fire, Malört just won’t seem to go away. good 15 minutes, just like the last guest at your house party. Even though I despised the taste, I found myself craving This is what truly causes Malört to be such an intoxicating the beverage after this first consumption. The experience drink. You don’t want to drink more, but instead, you want of doing Malört shots with friends, as unpleasant as it is, to drink something — anything — else to get this horrible is strangely endearing and provides for great stories. Stories taste out of your mouth. I found myself scrounging the told, of course, over a nice glass of Malört on the rocks. kitchen for soda, beer and White Claw just to rid my palate Would I recommend Malört? I think that question is of this threat. inherently flawed. It’s like asking someone if they would recommend taking a three-hour exam or doing 100 sit-ups; the experience is not enjoyable, but it’s worthwhile. Unlike schoolwork and exercise, however, the process of drinking Malört is neither productive nor rewarding. And that’s where I think the beauty of Malört lies. It’s just another dumb, meaningless, painful experience that many — myself included — seem to love. Thank you Carl Jeppson, George Brode and the city of Chicago for introducing me to such a lovely drink — and a blistering headache that just won’t seem to go away.
WILDCAT PRIDE I bleed purple and white. You bleed purple and white. By the transitive property, both our moms must bleed purple and white. Sometimes they even show more Wildcat Pride than we do. From dog apparel to customized cakes, our parents are hard-pressed to find creative limitations.
oes your mom’s phone buzz off the hook on a daily basis? Well, you’re not the only one. You may be wondering where all these notifications are coming from (she’s cool, but not that cool). Surprise! It’s the Northwestern University Parents Group on Facebook. Even though you’ve done it many times before, your mom probably doesn’t think you’re capable of social interaction, which explains why she’s scheduling playdates for you on Facebook. And the worst part is you can’t see it for yourself. Don’t worry, NBN has infiltrated the system. What we uncovered was nothing short of entertaining, cringey and even a bit concerning.
KID WITHDRAWALS Let’s kick things off with some emotional vulnerability, which we all know college students are good at — just look at how fluid the conversations are in breakout rooms. It is no secret that our parents worry about us on a regular basis, but maybe we should be worried about them. Are they unstable without us? One parent explained that she was desperately searching for things to distract her from the painful void after her child’s departure. Numerous parents chimed in, saying they’ve resorted to not only coffee, but wine (any alcohol, really). And a lot of it. Shots in the morning? Absolutely. Dog walks to the local grocery store for morning mimosas (more like champagne with a dash of orange juice)? Without a doubt. Another mother claimed she cried herself to sleep every night because her child went to college. The pain of watching him grow up was too much for her to handle. Meanwhile, her child is dancing on tables at frat parties. Yet another mother explained that there is a sense of emptiness that she needed to grow accustomed to. Coincidentally, the emptiness she feels is a bit like the emptiness of her child’s beer can.
Momagers of NU Inside the minds (and Facebook accounts) of Wildcat parents. WRITTEN BY LAUREN MCCAFFREY // DESIGNED BY AGNES LEE
NU PLAYDATES Even though most of us are heading into our 20s, our parents still feel obligated to set up playdates for us. Don’t be surprised if your parents show up to the darty with a sippy cup of beer in one hand and a plate of ants on a log in the other. Somehow, the second we leave for college, they lose all sense of boundaries. If you’re worried about finding a BP partner, stop worrying — your parents will gladly volunteer. After a parent shared the article “Beer Pong ‘Devastating’ Neighborhoods Around Northwestern Campus,” there was an outburst in the Northwestern parent Facebook community as they argued for our freedom to party. Who would’ve thought our parents would actually stand up for our right to get wasted? One parent even defended the students, explaining that she and her daughter had played beer pong together while in quarantine. Maybe they are cooler than we think.
THE NU ‘DO Parents often specialize in nagging and are undeniably relentless. They find a way to pick apart the smallest details, claiming to have your best interests at heart. But when is enough truly enough? Being thousands of miles away at college means that parents don’t need to see — or comment — on your hair length. If it’s too agonizing to look at, then feel free to call as an alternative to FaceTime. A mother suggested purchasing their children hair clippers, so they can save money and time. To this recommendation a parent added that their son had grown a rugged man bun and encouraged the mother’s son to do the same. One parent even went as far as to say boys don’t need haircuts unless they have a girlfriend — not very 21st century, if you ask me.
PLANT BABYSITTER If your mom doesn’t think you’re responsible enough to take care of your emotional support plants, you wouldn’t be the first. One worried plant grandparent had the gall to ask if a student would be willing to come into her son’s living space to water his plants while he was away for Thanksgiving. To top that, a mother tried to find her daughter a gaming buddy for Minecraft and Dungeons & Dragons, asking parents to DM her if their child would be interested. Guess she’s going to have more people sliding into her DMs than her daughter.
All is not Wildcat Well Read the harrowing tales of madness, murder and Allison chicken. WRITTEN BY ANDREW KWA // DESIGNED BY AGNES LEE
one of us really knew what to expect when Northwestern announced Wildcat Wellness. Curfews? Regular testing? Perhaps even a giant N95 mask for the Arch? But as students returned to campus, we soon realized just how far Northwestern was willing to go to prevent the spread of COVID-19. There were whispers of students being forced to live alone in Bobb for days on end without relief. Some warned of students being administered COVID-19 tests with no hope of passing. And some even claimed that students were being hunted down and killed for breaking quarantine. Here is North by Northwestern’s archive of the most disturbing (and definitely true*) tales from Wildcat Wellness.
“The Zooman Show” day
I’ve just moved all of my stuff into Bobb, ready to finally begin my oncampus freshman experience. Even with Wildcat Wellness going on, I’m so excited to finally start getting involved in the social scene here.
I log into Zoom and enter the meeting code. I have to check the slip of paper from yesterday for the password: welovemortywelovemortywelovemorty. At first, I’m relieved to finally see other human faces, even if it is just over Zoom. But then I begin to notice some strange behaviors. “Hello, fellow Wildcats,” one student says. “Aren’t these unprecedented times?”
I still haven’t run into anybody in the hallways. I’m beginning to despair. After all, if I don’t start aggressively networking within the first two weeks of school, my future as an undergraduate economics major is doomed! Suddenly, I hear a knock on the door, and a slip of paper slides under it. “Zoom social!” it reads. “Meet your fellow Wildcats at 5:00 p.m. tomorrow!”
day The rest of the students nod in unison. “Yes, these are unprecedented times,” one student says. “There is a distinct lack of precedent. Wouldn’t you agree, Sarah?” Before I can even voice a response, the student nods and speaks. “I appreciate you sharing, Sarah. Bouncing off of that — Purple Pride?” The other students once again nod in unison and form the Wildcat claw together. “Purple Pride! Purple Pride! Purple Pride!” they start chanting. I log off of Zoom.
I have not stepped foot outside of my dorm for the past several days. The silence of the halls is deafening. The solitude is suffocating (actually, that might just be the mold). I fear I am the only one in this strange environment posing as a dorm.
I can already feel the mold growing in my lungs after my first shower. Bobb is so cool! I wonder when I’ll finally meet someone, though. Somehow, I haven’t run into anybody in the hallways, even before curfew.
I wake up in the middle of the night, thirsty for some water. As I get up, I notice something strange in the darkness of my room. My laptop is on, and it’s logged into the same Zoom session from last week. It’s recording.
“Taste Test” I hear a knock at the door. It must be lunchtime. I open the door, and I’m greeted by the sight of Chief Risk and Compliance Officer Luke Figora holding my lunch for the day. He explains that I’ve been randomly selected for an experimental COVID test. He hands me what looks to be a chicken sandwich. “Take a bite and tell me what that tastes like.” I stare at the label on the sandwich: “Allison Dining Hall.”
Dear God. I feel a bead of sweat dripping down my face as I take a slow bite. It’s better than usual — it might have been prepared next to something that was actually seasoned. “It tastes … salty?” Luke’s eyes narrowed. “It’s supposed to taste spicy.” The next day, I receive an email: “Your COVID-19 results came in positive. Reason: Lack of taste. Please read the following instructions carefully for beginning your quarantine.”
“The Wild One”
Brian stumbles back into the dorm, clearly hungover. “Where were you last night?” I hiss. “You know we’re not allowed outside of our dorms during Wildcat Wellness!” He stares back at me, a smirk on his face. “I was drinking absolutely gnarly amounts of vodka sodas with Oozma Kappa.” God, he’s so cool, I think to myself. “Be careful. You know he’s always watching.”
We hear a knock at the door. “Oh boy, lunchtime!” Brian exclaims. He runs over to our door and flings it open — but a strange sight greets us. Atop our serving of delicious, Mortyapproved Wildcat Wings is a small paper note that reads, “I KNOW WHAT YOU DID.” Brian and I stare at each other. Oh God. He’s coming.
Brian and I are both enjoying our splendid education at Zoom University. I’m about to begin my Devil’s advocate spiel for my philosophy discussion (ladies love the Devil’s advocate spiel). Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I see a shadow race past my dorm window. Brian didn’t seem to notice it. Maybe I’m just seeing things.
� ���� �� �� ��� ���!
The dorm hallway has been suspiciously quiet for the past few hours. Suddenly, we hear someone pounding on our door. “Who’s there?” I shakily ask. “JUSTICE,” booms a wrathful, demonic voice. Our door slams open and shatters into a thousand pieces. A hulking, humanoid figure sets foot in our room and turns its beady, soulless eyes towards us. Oh my God, it’s Willie the Wildcat.
I now live in a dingle.
Dressed to COVID test Evanston’s hottest club: The Jacobs Center.
WRITTEN BY ALLISON RAUCH// DESIGNED BY S. KELSIE YU
As the Evanston winter trudges on, you may find yourself languishing, listless and lethargic. It’s so cold outside; you just want to burrow up in your cozy dorm bed, wearing a Willie the Wildcat sweatshirt and Shrek undies, and kiss the outside world goodbye. But babe, hang on! You can’t do that — you have a COVID test at the Jacobs Center. You’ll be there for a while — don’t you want to be the hottest person in line? Here are some cute lewks just for the occasion.
Look 1: The “Job Interview” Perfect For: • The tryhards who want to pretend that we still go out to places professionally and publicly • People whose besties are CAESAR and Handshake Features: • Peacoat and Starbucks pairing are essential here — Starbucks must be something annoyingly high-functioning like hot black coffee with skim milk • Black tights • Loafers or other sort of practical but dressy shoe that is not well-suited to the snow • Important! Shoe must be a lighter color than the tights. The more nauseating the contrast, the better.
Look 2: The “Just Jeans and a Cute Top” Perfect For: • Those who never know if they’ll meet the love of their life at the Jacobs Center. You lock eyes as you penetrate your respective nostrils with a swab, oozing sexual tension. • People who dress up to go to the dining hall (it’s not that deep) Features: • Soft coat to show them you’re approachable • Target mask in a cute print to show that you’re quirky but practical • Alluring, yet soft eye makeup: flirtatious eyelashes so you can gently bat away those COVID-19 test tears • Most importantly: the capability to look delicate and graceful while you’re literally scraping the inside of your nostril with a cotton swab
Look 3: The “It’s Not Even that Cold, Bro” Perfect For: • Chad, Brad and Thad • Those who woke up with a hangover and REALLY need that COVID test, if you get our drift Features: • Gym shorts, even though it’s like 7 degrees outside, Jared • Northwestern quarter-zip sweatshirt: Sko ‘Cats! • Alternate option: basketball jersey if you really want the ladies to know that you’re ~not cold~
Dear readers, Congratulations, you’ve made it to the back of the magazine! I really hope you enjoyed it. These little messages from Print Managing Editors usually go at the front, you know, as a little primer, but things change — and instead you’re getting a sort of post-game, behind-the-scenes look into the making of all of those stories you read. Variety is the spice of both life and magazine formatting. A former PME once wrote that student journalism is a labor of love, and I believe that now more than ever. This magazine came to be not only over the course of our third quarter online, but also Winter Quarter online. Winters are already a tough time, with frigid Evanston temperatures and the occasional 28 inches of snow, but this amazing staff of editors, designers, writers and fact-checkers not only survived but thrived, producing something really special in the process. We had stories that found the light, even amidst the winter blues. You read about students’ fond Burger King memories and the way they’re decorating the dorm rooms they occupy most of the time; adventures with what might be the grossest alcoholic beverage known to man; and poking fun at the potential beer pong ban (please don’t do it). You learned how students have found communities, albeit virtual, through student clubs and their own small businesses. We faced the realities of this quarter, too: the struggles of isolation and taking calculated risks in hopes of maintaining some of the “college experience,” the institutional hurdles of ethnic studies departments and the mysterious Board of Trustees. We mourned the loss of the programs that were meant to make or break our college careers. The resilience of the Northwestern community amazes me all the time, and there are still plenty of changes left to be made. And now we’re here, at the end of the mag, and I just want to take the time to say thank you. Thank you for reading our magazine even though we’re not pestering you at the Rock to take a copy or tabling at Norris. Thank you to our sources for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us. Thank you to this amazing Winter 2021 staff for your time, effort and patience with me and my goofy email sign-offs. I am so unbelievably proud of the work we’ve done this quarter, and I can’t wait to see what NBN does next. I suggest you also keep an eye out, dear readers. The best is yet to come.
The UPS Store YOUR NORTHWESTERN STUDENT CENTER FOR SHIPPING, PRINTING, AND STORAGE
Free box included with storage FREE pickup availible Short term or long term No registration fees! For more info and to sign up on
THE UPS STORE #0511
THE UPS STORE #0851
THE UPS STORE #1037
Northwestern Campus 1555 Sherman Ave Evanston, IL 60201 847-869-3000
North Evanston 2906 Central St Evanston, IL 60201 847-475-5200
West Evanston 848 Dodge Ave Evanston, IL 60202 847-475-2335
M-F 8:30am-6:00pm Sat 10:00am-5:00pm Sun 12:00pm-4:00pm
email@example.com closed sunday
firstname.lastname@example.org closed sunday
OTHER SERVICES INCLUDE: US Mail Services • DHL • International Shipping • Freight Services for Large Items FREE Pickup Availible • Overnight & 2 Day Shipping • Passport Photos • Mailbox Services • Copying & Printing • Scanning & Faxing Packaging Services • Moving & Shipping Services • Postage Stamps • Package Receiving • Faculty & Family Discounts
The winter 2021 issue of North by Northwestern magazine, published by Print Managing Editor Elise Hannum and Creative Director Maren Krankin...
Published on Mar 30, 2021
The winter 2021 issue of North by Northwestern magazine, published by Print Managing Editor Elise Hannum and Creative Director Maren Krankin...