NBN Magazine Winter 2022

Page 1


Living with loss How Northwestern students cope with losing loved ones. | pg. 38

The Fab Four meets the Big 10

Indigenous voices

Meet Northwestern royalty

Northwestern’s connection to Beatlemania. | pg. 27

Indigenous students on their experience at Northwestern. | pg. 33

Three student performers share their drag journeys. | pg. 50

winter 2022

north by


“What’s the biggest red flag about you?”



EDITORIAL MANAGING PRINT MANAGING EDITOR Teresa Nowakowski ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITORS Grace Thought tapas Snelling, Brendan Le was Spanish EDITOR-AT-LARGE Sylvia Goodman for tacos SENIOR FEATURES EDITORS Annie Cao, Thought Jared Emma Chiu, Jimmy He, Kyra Steck Kushner was ASSISTANT FEATURES EDITORS Rosie a property brother Newmark, Rayna Song SENIOR SECTION EDITORS Tessa Paul, Joseph Ramos, Maddy Rubin, Calls hand sanitizer “hand gel” Mia Walvoord ASSOCIATE EDITORS Sela Breen, Too obsessed Tabor Brewster, Julia Lucas, Caroline Neal with The ASSISTANT EDITORS Naomi Birenbaum, Beatles Jane Greeley, Eva Lariño, Ava Levinson, Brooklyn Moore, Sam Stevens, Caroline Neal, Rosie Newmark

CREATIVE Calls Kombucha “Booch Booch”

CREATIVE DIRECTOR S. Kelsie Yu DESIGNERS Eloise Apple, Molly Burke, Hope Cartwright, Emma Estberg, Bennie Goldfarb, Esther Tang, Allen Zhang PHOTOGRAPHER Eloise Apple

FREELANCE WRITERS Jenna Anderson, Asher Martin-Rosenthal, Cammi Tirico, Carly Witteman, Julianna Zitron FACT-CHECKING Sophia Kathryn Jackson


Needs everyone to know I’m a French minor

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Trent Brown EXECUTIVE EDITOR Jayna Kurlender MANAGING EDITORS Olivia Lloyd, Bailey Richards ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITORS Maria Caamaño Garcia, Linda Shi, Elizabeth Yoon

SECTION EDITORS NEWS/POLITICS EDITOR Brennan Leach CREATIVE WRITING EDITOR Lyla Bariso FEATURES EDITOR Allison Arguezo SPORTS EDITOR Coop Daley LIFE & STYLE EDITORS Kim Jao, Astry Watches Rodriguez Netflix at 2x speed OPINION EDITOR Sam Alvarez ENTERTAINMENT EDITORS Carson Burton, Hope Cartwright AUDIO EDITOR Maria Caamaño Garcia PHOTO/VIDEO EDITOR Isabella Costa GRAPHICS EDITOR Billy Kirchgessner INTERACTIVES EDITORS Olivia Lloyd, Nathanial Ortiz Gemini Venus


(that’s like really bad)


CORPORATE PUBLISHER Julianne Sun AD SALES TEAM Mark Dovgalyuk, Linda Shi, Jankhna Sura MARKETING TEAM Sammie Pyo, Sam Stevens FUNDRAISING CHAIRS Tina Qu, Natalia Zadeh

table of



PREGAME 6 7 8 10 12 13

A word with Van Wart Abdormal activity A familiar taste In the bartending spirit The org that got away Painting with a purpose


DANCE FLOOR 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 30

NUtubers The rainbow connection Cracking the code Preserving the past No sick days Redefining The Block The Fab Four meets the Big 10 Where credit is due


FEATURES 33 Indigenous voices 39 Living with loss 45 The social tuition


PHOTO STORY 50 Meet Northwestern royalty


HANGOVER 57 58 60 61 63

Bad and boozy Wildcat warnings Ven-mo money Ven-mo problems Seducing your professor 101 First (and last) date spots

dear reader, During Winter Quarter, most of us would rather be hibernating instead of trudging through the snow to class, much less magazine meetings. When the sun goes down before 5 p.m. and you have to skate instead of walk, everyone’s energy is low. As always, though, our staff has pulled it together. Our writers, editors, designers and fact-checkers have persevered through yet another COVID-19 variant that pushed our meetings onto Zoom for the first two weeks of the quarter. They’ve braved downpours and blizzards in the same month. And they’ve done it all on top of the stress of their classes and in the midst of a newscycle that constantly brings more crises. Thanks to their hard work, we have another incredible issue of NBN. In Pregame, we’ll assuage your career anxieties with Professor Sarah Van Wart’s life advice and encourage you to “Stay as you are,” in the words of anonymous Evanston street artist The Guy Who Cares. In Dance Floor, we look

back on The Beatles’ legacy at Northwestern, talk with Block Museum curators about how they decide whose voices to center and take stock of the Rainbow Alliance’s progress over the last half century. Our Features section spotlights the experiences of several student leaders in Northwestern’s Native American and Indigenous Student Alliance. We also examine the impacts of grief on student life and the price tag of socializing at Northwestern. In our photo story, our campus drag performers transform into their personas and delve into what the art form means to them. Then, chase that down with Hangover, where our tips will help you up your Venmo game and enhance (or ruin) your romantic life. As the snow melts, it looks like spring is on its way. In the meantime, we hope this magazine will help you ride out the last cold days of winter.

Teresa Nowakowski

pregame 6 A word with Van Wart


7 Abdormal activity 8 A familiar taste 10 In the bartending spirit

12 The org that got away 13 Painting with a purpose PREGAME


A word with Van Wart A Northwestern professor shares advice from her unconventional career path. WRITTEN AND DESIGNED BY ALLEN ZHANG


ssistant Professor of Instruction of Computer Science Sarah Van Wart wasn’t always a big fan of coding. In fact, during her undergraduate years, she dropped an econometrics class because it involved programming. After graduating from Yale with a degree in economics, Van Wart was unsure if she wanted to go back to school. She says she tried her hand at a wide range of pursuits, including working at economics firms, catching frogs in Puerto Rico and running a martial arts studio. Outside of these jobs, Van Wart knew she liked making websites and doing data analytics, so she decided to take a computer literacy course for adults. “I loved it,” she says. “It was so fun and self-paced. That launched my career.” Van Wart spoke with NBN about what she’s learned from her nonlinear journey to becoming a professor. Note: The following interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity. Q: What is one way that computer science and data and information systems impact daily life that people aren’t aware of ? A: Behind every system, there are just a bunch of people building them. When you’re searching for something on Google or



getting recommendations on Instagram or Facebook, you don’t think a lot about how it is that you’re getting this particular information. It’s interesting to be on the other side of that and actually be the one who’s making some of the decisions. Some of those decisions don’t have a lot of social implications, but there are some ways in which sorting different kinds of information has really big implications. Q: What’s your favorite part about working with young people? A: They’re just so smart, and they still see the possibility in things. They are so imaginative and creative and think about all the ways that things could be. I get a lot out of listening to other people write and think about ideas or ways that they want to participate in the world. Q: What advice would you give to readers who are unsure about what they want to do after finishing school? A: It’s really hard to figure out what it is that you like and want to do in this world. During the 18-22 age range, you’re doing all this new stuff while at the same time trying to figure out who you are and who you want to be. There exists this notion that you

Assistant Professor of Instruction of Computer Science Sarah Van Wart Courtesy of Sarah Van Wart

eventually figure it out and arrive somewhere. In my experience, it’s a process, and you try a lot of things. And even when you are excited for a moment, it doesn’t last forever. You have to keep figuring it out. I don’t find that I’ve ever stopped and said, “Yeah, this is exactly what I want to be.” Another thing is your job is not your entire life. There are many strategies to balance things you love, like through activities, work, volunteering, participating in community groups or hanging out with your family. Your job is one part of it, but it’s not everything.

Q: What is one piece of advice that you’ve been given that you’ve taken to heart? A: I had this English professor while I was in undergrad, and I remember talking to her about not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. She looked at me and said, “You could go into a coma for 10 years after you graduate and re-emerge and still be able to achieve any goal that you want. It’s gonna be okay.”


Abdormal activity Northwestern students explore their passions in the confines of their dorm.



hen she moved into her Willard Residential College triple, Greta McNamee’s list of dorm must-haves consisted of the usual necessities — shower shoes, twin XL sheets, laundry detergent — but it also included a seven-and-a-half-foot-tall dancing pole. It can be hard to leave hobbies behind when moving to college. McNamee, a Bienen and Weinberg second-year, says pole dancing felt too important to abandon. Hobbies can transform an impersonal dorm into a home, which is why students make space in their cramped rooms for non-academic activities. For McNamee, it was worth it to give up a 6-foot radius of space around the pole in her two-person triple. Communications second-year Ashley Xu constructed a makeshift film studio. In Kemper Hall, Xu has to be creative with equipment as well as space. As a TikTok content creator and aspiring videographer, Xu films commercials in her dorm with the help of any tools she can find, including string, straws or even fidget spinners. Bienen second-year Rena Maduro also embraced the challenge of fitting a hobby into the confines of her room. She stuffed her crochet hooks and yarn balls into the largest drawer she could find in her Sargent double. “What do you do in your dorm besides study and eat and sleep if you’re not doing something else that’s fun?” Maduro says. Maduro says she commits a minimum of 20 minutes each week to crocheting. The yarn in her drawer guarantees relaxation and a break from inperson campus activities.

“It makes me less stressed out and brings me joy in my dorm room,” Maduro says. “I think that deserves a spot in my life, no matter how busy I am.” McNamee also struggles to find time to complete a full pole dancing training session, but if she goes a long time without pole dancing, she feels her selfconfidence waning. To supplement her solo training, McNamee will sometimes invite her friends over and teach them some moves on the pole. “They tend to really enjoy it,” McNamee says. “I feel like we’ve outgrown playgrounds a little bit. And that’s what it feels like, to me. It’s like a little jungle gym, but it’s just a pole.” Students can gain career experience from their hobbies, too. Xu’s dorm room commercials, like the one she made for skincare brand Curology, provide her with a social media portfolio for potential employers and clients. Being a college dorm-based freelance filmmaker has helped Xu build a unique brand. “People like to see the storytelling behind it, like how I leverage such a small space and I can still create,” Xu says. Once she gets out of her dorm, she hopes to move on to bigger projects. “Eventually, I do want to deviate my brand from that, but for now, since I’m in college anyway, I might as well lean into it,” Xu says. McNamee also intends to expand her horizons once she leaves the confines of her dorm. She plans to continue her pole dancing wherever she lives next — hopefully somewhere with a higher ceiling that will allow her to practice her aerial moves. “I would say I identify myself by what I do, and I am really passionate about this thing that I do,” McNamee says. “I would be proud to hold the title of Greta McNamee, pole dancer.”



A familiar taste


Students connect with their culture’s cuisine while away from home.


hen Medill third-year Alex Chun was a kid, his family would drive eight hours from his home in Maple Grove, Minnesota, to a Chicago H Mart, an Asian supermarket chain. The family made this trip once a year to stock up on kimchi and other Korean ingredients they couldn’t get closer to home. Now, living in Evanston, Chun makes the 35-minute drive to the store about once a month. When his parents come to visit him, they bring a car full of empty coolers to fill with food and take back with them. Chun loves the freedom of being able to cook for himself. From his apartment kitchen, he



replicates his favorite recipes inspired by soul food, Korean dishes and Midwestern classics. Chun’s homecooked cuisine ranges from poke bowls to big batches of chili to share with friends at Northwestern. “I’m from the Midwest, but I’m also Korean, so I cook a lot of Korean food,” Chun says. “My parents are also from Texas. All of that is reflected in my cooking.” Other Northwestern students have found ways to remain connected with their culture’s cuisine while away from home, whether at the dining halls or through their own cooking. One common struggle students face is the lack of accessible, authentic ingredients in

Evanston. Chun says it is very common for students to carpool for H Mart runs. Chun started cooking out of necessity when he moved off-campus and could no longer rely on the dining halls for meals. The week before he left home, his mom taught him the basics: a few key meals and kitchen skills, like dicing onions and seasoning foods correctly. Soon, Chun began to enjoy cooking. And after meeting his current roommate, Weinberg third-year Freedom Gobel, he began to appreciate the pastime in a new way. Chun and Gobel met during Wildcat Welcome in their first year and bonded over meals in the dining hall. Now that they live off-campus, cooking has become a way for them to relax and spend time together. “We’ll cook and eat food and spend three or four hours talking, listening to music and making a meal together. It’s just lovely,” Chun says. Medill second-year Jen Ren makes meals in the Willard Residential College kitchens 3-4 times a week. After discovering the community lounge and large kitchen on the fifth floor, she began cooking not only for herself and her friends but also for the entire dormitory. As the Willard Food and Fireside Chair, Ren organizes a weekly food event for her residents called “Munchies.” She focuses on bringing in foods from different cultures, including snacks from H-Mart. In February, to celebrate Lunar New Year, Ren and 30 other students made more than 500 dumplings, a tradition Ren first enjoyed with family. “For holidays surrounding food, [my family] would try to eat something special,” Ren says. “We would always make dumplings because the Chinese character for dumpling kind of sounds like the Chinese character for wealth. It always felt like a good way to connect as a family and our culture.” As the child of two Chinese

“I guess you can say it’s like art. I think there’s just something that is very gorgeous and beautiful and important about creating [food] with people that you really love.” - Alex Chun, Medill third-year immigrants, Ren grew up eating lots of traditional Chinese dishes. She has missed this food since being on campus, despite enjoying the food from the dining halls. Craving dishes from home is common for many underclassmen as they adjust to the dining hall. The connection that Ren, Chun and others have established between food, culture and family often runs deep. McCormick second-year Marcos Rios remembers calling his grandmother the day ajiaco was served in the dining hall during one of his first weeks living

on campus. Walking back to his Lincoln dorm room with this traditional Colombian stew spilling into all three sections of his purple Ozzi, Rios felt connected to his culture in a way that he hadn’t since first coming to Northwestern. “The look on my face was one of utter shock and surprise when I saw it,” Rios says. “I wasn’t expecting much, but it tasted just like the ones that I had grown up eating. It really made me feel like I was home.” Rios says he appreciates the dining hall’s effort to provide food from many different regions rather than keeping to one standard menu. “I feel like our dining halls try to make different types of [cuisine] every day, which is so nice,” Rios says. “It goes underappreciated the majority of the time, and maybe they don’t always get it exactly right, but when they do, it’s very appreciated.” Chun says he was a fan of the dining halls when he lived on-campus and that the food was never too bad — it just needed a few additions to better

replicate home-cooked meals. “You have to know how to make a dish right,” Chun says. “It’s adding small things, like extra seasonings or hot sauce.” However, for Chun and many other students, perfect preparation is not the most important element of a homecooked meal — the ritual around meals is a major part of the joy of eating at home. “I think for a lot of non-American communities, food is really integral to culture,” Chun says. “My family would eat almost every meal together except for lunch because I was at school. We sat down for family dinner every night.” Rios, Chun and Ren grew up in homes where meals were an important part of their family time. They all believe cooking is an expression of love and will continue to cherish it. “I guess you can say it’s like art,” Chun says. “I think there’s just something that is very gorgeous and beautiful and important about creating [food] with people that you really love.”



In the bartending spirit Northwestern students who gave mixology a shot. WRITTEN BY SAM STEVENS // DESIGNED BY S. KELSIE YU


einberg third-year Stuart Sumner received career advice from a visiting professor at the same place he watched a man puke all over the bartop on a gameday weekend: the bar at the Farmhouse restaurant in Evanston, where Sumner has worked since last summer. After a year of online learning, Sumner was looking for a restaurant gig to get him off his laptop and onto his feet. He had worked as a busboy and bartending assistant in high school but had no formal experience as a bartender. Because Farmhouse was short-staffed, the restaurant’s management agreed to let him try out bartending — on graduation weekend. Farmhouse’s location on the first floor of the Hilton Orrington hotel made Sumner’s first weekend on the job hectic, with parents and soon-to-be college graduates flooding in. “It was stressful,” Sumner says. “But there were zero expectations. I had never done it before, so they were kind of like, ‘It’s fine if you’re not doing perfectly.’” Other Northwestern students have worked as bartenders, picking up unexpected stories and skills along the way. McCormick and Communication fourth-year Parker Ryan craved a job that was more active than his previous one at a software company, which he quit in the spring of 2021. After securing a summer research grant, he chose to apply for a second position to help pay for school. Although Ryan had never bartended before, he walked into Taco Diablo, a Mexican restaurant in downtown Evanston, and asked if they needed an extra hand at the bar. “I needed to do something so different from programming and just sitting behind a desk all day,” Ryan says. “It is cerebral to an extent. You’re having to think on your toes, and it’s not any very deep problems you’re solving, but there’s a lot of problems at once.” Although his two summer positions totaled nearly 60 hours a week, Ryan still managed to have some fun bartending. One night, after he and four coworkers had worked double shifts until around 11 p.m., they decided to take the train to downtown Chicago. “It was this awesome match of personalities,” Ryan says. “It was just really fun to see these people that I had worked with



also be so much fun outside of work, and I felt really at home immediately with that whole group of people.” Communication third-year Maggie Grond says she became a “scientist” of sorts after working behind the bar over the past two summers. On summer nights in her Iowa hometown, Grond could be found mixing together ingredients like muddled mint leaves, flavored liquors, lime juice and cold brew coffee. In the summer of 2020, Grond planned to be a camp counselor, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she found herself scrambling for employment. When Grond reached out to a local restaurant, Brown Bottle, they offered her a bartending position. Grond loved bartending so much that she did it again the following summer at a different bar in her hometown. “It helped make me more outgoing, especially because of COVID,” Grond says. “I just got so shy all of a sudden, and I had such a hard time interacting with people because when you don’t talk to people for so long you sort of forget — like, ‘How does this work?’” As she continued working, Grond began recognizing regular customers and their orders, like the group of four construction workers who came in every night and ordered liver and onions and beers. Weinberg and Communication fourth-year Joe Blanchard has not only learned how to make a mean margarita, but also how to engage with customers while working as a bartender at Taco Diablo. Blanchard was privy to gory tales from an EMT, listened to long-winded stories about vacations in Mexico City and kept up with dry small talk for hours. One afternoon, Blanchard says a drunken man called him a “punk” and threatened to start a bar fight without reason. The man then tipped $50 on a $30 order. “Once you’re behind the bar, you kind of learn how to give back easy responses that stroke their ego, and hopefully they tip you,” Blanchard says. Sometimes, though, Blanchard says the reward fails to match the effort he puts in. He once talked for two hours with an irritable customer who ended up tipping a mere 5% on his bill. Although some situations can be frustrating, Blanchard says that bartending often proves to be socially useful. “If I’m throwing a kickback or a cast party or something, I will bartend it. And I’ll just make red solo cup Moscow Mules or gin and tonics — super simple stuff,” Blanchard says. Sumner has also experienced the perks of bartending. Now working at Farmhouse on a part-time basis, he receives advice from visiting professors and professionals, who ask about his major and career aspirations. He’s even been given business cards with book recommendations written on the back or names of professionals involved in fields tailored to his own interests. “They want to give you advice and ask you serious questions, and they want the best for you in a kind of heartening way,” Sumner says. “It’s really sweet.”

SideBAR Each bartender’s favorite drink:

Joe Blanchard Saint & the Sinner Lady (From Taco Diablo): - Chichicapa mezcal - Yellow Chartreuse Aperol liqueur - Lime

Stuart Sumner Oaxacan sunset (From Farmhouse): - Mezcal - Lime juice - Simple syrup - Black walnut bitters shaken and strained over a double rocks glass with ice - Tajin on top

Maggie Grond Mojito: - Mint leaves

- White rum - Fresh lime juice - Simple syrup - Ice - Club soda or sparkling water - Lime slices

Parker Ryan Hot Joy (From Taco Diablo): - Reposado - Ancho Reyes - Combier - Habanero bitters - Lime



No Fun Mud Piranhas

The org that got away Resurrecting and remembering Northwestern clubs. WRITTEN BY ELOISE APPLE DESIGNED BY ELOISE APPLE & S. KELSIE YU


ast summer, Communication secondyear Ethan Gomberg wore his purple Northwestern hoodie to a live taping of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. He believes that the school gear led Colbert to single him out from the crowd during a pre-show Q&A. When Gomberg asked Colbert how his alma mater prepared him for a career in latenight television, Colbert shared that his participation in Northwestern’s improv group No Fun Mud Piranhas stood out the most. After the taping, Gomberg was excited to join the club and began to do some research — only to realize that the group had fizzled out during the pandemic. With nearly 500 student organizations on campus, finding the group that best suits one’s interests can be overwhelming. And when COVID-19 struck, not every organization was able to stay afloat. Since then, students have resurrected some of these once-beloved clubs. Others are remembered fondly but remain dormant.



No Fun Mud Piranhas may be the only club on campus with an official secretary of bathroom breaks. The title is one of many new positions coined in the wake of the group’s return. Last fall, Gomberg and McCormick second-year Tej Bahri bonded over their shared acting backgrounds and interest in college improv. However, after attending events hosted by Northwestern improv groups, they found the audition process competitive and time commitments restrictive. Gomberg and Bahri revived No Fun Mud Piranhas because they felt that Northwestern lacked an inclusive, casual improv group with no audition requirement. No Fun Mud Piranhas is accessible to any student who

wants to try their hand at improv. The group meets weekly in Annenberg Hall, where students participate in a variety of different acting games and exercises. “What we’re really trying to foster is this environment where kids can take risks and be willing to fail,” Gomberg says. Gomberg and Bahri have noticed a growing sense of community and belonging among No Fun Mud Piranhas’ members. In the future, they hope to collaborate and host events with other improv groups to spread awareness of the organization across campus. “Improv is definitely something that everybody can share and enjoy,” Bahri says.

Wrestlepocalypse Every Dillo Day, the Lakefill famously morphs into a music festival venue. However, fewer students may be aware of a once-beloved Dillo eve tradition that transformed Shanley Pavilion into the site of a WWE-style spectacle known as Wrestlepocalypse. For over a decade, the mock wrestling show attracted students campus-wide and regularly sold out. Willa Barnett is one of the last Wrestlepocalypse members on campus. She says the unique event, produced by student theatre board Vertigo Productions, was “a mixture of comedy and physical comedy and this really cool, weird variety show.” Performers started rehearsing in late winter with a stunt choreographer to make matches

as safe and exciting as possible. Outrageous wrestler personas were a key element of the show — popular match-ups included the farmer versus chicken, Cleopatra versus Marie Antoinette and Toad versus Toadette. Beyond the championship belts and fierce fight choreography, Barnett says. Part of the appeal of Wrestlepocalypse was that it drew students from outside the comedy scene. “[It feels] pretty insulated sometimes in the comedy community, and I feel like it was a good opportunity for people to meet other people,” Barnett says. Wrestlepocalypse was last staged in 2019. There’s no word as to whether it will return, but somewhere, the ring is waiting.

Painting with a purpose

Evanston street artist The Guy Who Cares has a simple message: "stay as you are." WRITTEN BY SELA BREEN // DESIGNED BY BENNIE GOLDFARB


e lurks in Evanston late at night, sneaking around corners and scoping out his next canvas. Evanston residents can recognize his notorious street tag’s thick eyebrows, long nose, disproportionately small mouth and eyes drifting shut. It’s the work of The Guy Who Cares. The Guy Who Cares is an anonymous street artist who has been spray painting this portrait on street signs and walls around Evanston for over a decade. His work includes a distinctive face — though he keeps his own hidden — and an encouraging message, the most common being “stay as you are.” Evanston residents first noticed The Guy Who Cares’ work in spring 2010. In August 2011, the mystery evolved after the artist gave a CD to local news outlet Evanston RoundTable. The CD contained images of his work and a statement entitled “Stay as You Are” that answered questions about his work. In the statement, The Guy Who Cares explained that he created all of his uplifting art in Evanston to “pay homage to the Evanston of [his] youth and the interesting and eccentric pockets that still exist today.” He wrote that he chose street art as his medium because of its accessibility.

Lisa Degliantoni, founder and executive director of art organization Evanston Made, is one of the few people who knows the identity of The Guy Who Cares. Evanston Made commissioned an installation from The Guy Who Cares for their 2021 Holiday Market PopUp. Degliantoni wanted the people of Evanston to see his art up close rather than on a faraway wall. Degliantoni promised complete anonymity to The Guy Who Cares throughout the creative process. She had no oversight over the piece's creation. After doing a quick assessment of the space, she gave The Guy Who Cares a set of keys and free rein for the night. She says the simplicity of the process reminded her that people can “make and share art just for the sake of making and sharing art.” Degliantoni was determined to protect The Guy Who Cares’ anonymity because of potential repercussions from the City of Evanston, which frequently covers up The Guy Who Cares’ work. Eric Young, owner of restaurant La Principal, was surprised when The Guy Who Cares’ work popped up on the deteriorating Metra wall on Custer

Avenue near his restaurant. He says he and the other business owners in the area were excited when the art went up, making a “great little spot on this normally dingy, beat up wall.” But, Young says, someone covered the art with a different color, and the result looked worse than it did at the start. The Evanston Community Development Department for the city had no comment other than pointing to the city code’s section on graffiti. Despite efforts to cover up The Guy Who Cares’ work, the bright spots that he brings to Evanston shine through. On the Northwestern campus, students can find small tiles of his work outside of Allison Hall, the Segal Visitors Center parking lot and between Mudd Library and Sargent Hall. Communication second-year Aidan Wohl has noticed and appreciated The Guy Who Cares’ pieces around campus and Evanston. “Something about them is kind of rebellious in the sense that they appear in places they obviously aren't necessarily allowed,” Wohl says. “But [they] bring a message that's so hard to deny and so powerful and universal.” PHOTOS BY ELOISE APPLE




dance floor

15 NUtubers 17 The rainbow connection 19 Cracking the code

25 Redefining The Block

21 Preserving the past

27 The Fab Four meets the Big 10

23 No sick days

30 Where credit is due



NU tubers How content creators are sharing the Northwestern experience.



n August 2020, Weinberg first-year Madeline Friedman had chosen a roommate, purchased dorm decor and was days away from starting her freshman year at Northwestern. Then, in-person classes were abruptly canceled, so she made the decision to take a gap year after days of deliberation with her family. During her unexpected time off, she struggled to feel connected to Northwestern, and when she visited campus, it was mostly empty. One thing helped her feel like part of the community, even from afar: Northwestern YouTubers. “I really like watching people’s day-in-the-life [videos],” Friedman says. “Even if I don’t know them, it’s more fun to see that they are on this campus. It’s different to watch a YouTube video and know you have some kind of connection to this person than it is to watch a YouTube video of some random influencer.” Getting a sense of a college’s culture before committing to attend is difficult enough in an average year. With the added layer of the COVID-19 pandemic affecting campus tours in 2020 and 2021, the process proved to be even more confusing. As a result, many prospective Wildcats and rising first-years turned to YouTube videos made by Northwestern students to learn about campus life. The videos give potential applicants and incoming first-years another perspective on Northwestern’s culture outside of the content produced by the admissions office. Creators have become key resources for topics like dorm living, academic programs and social life, with many Northwestern YouTube videos garnering view counts in the tens of thousands. Weinberg third-year Kate Tadesse started her YouTube channel during her college application process to document her admissions reactions. She kept making videos after she started college, and her Northwestern-focused content continues to be popular: Her vlog documenting her move-in

and dorm tour currently has over 25,000 views. Tadesse says she enjoys making videos that can help prospective students who may have similar experiences to her. “I love it when people come into my DMs and ask me questions, because I didn’t have that myself,” Tadesse says. “I didn’t have someone to ask questions. So I love being able to be that person that I was missing.” Medill first-year Anita Li had never visited Northwestern before moving into her dorm this past September. Li had watched virtual tours of campus but says that without being able to see inside buildings or talk to students, she was left wanting to know more about what Northwestern was really like. “I want to know day-to-day life,” Li says. “What are those small things that Northwestern has the just makes your day better? I know even the [YouTube] videos are still a highlight reel. But at least you get to see it better than just a PR tape, which is even more filtered and edited.” Creators also value adding perspective beyond the videos put out by Northwestern itself. Communication fourth-year and YouTuber Jay Towns says that YouTube videos allow creators to talk about both positives and negatives of the school, providing a more accurate picture of the student experience. “I think that the immediate pull of my videos was that I’m somebody who’s not necessarily being commissioned by the University to make these videos but was giving my honest opinion about what I thought about it being a student,” Towns says. Weinberg first-year Daphne Zuckerman says the honesty in student YouTubers’ content can help prospective students make informed decisions. The videos Zuckerman watched prior to applying Early Decision helped prepare her for the reality of



Northwestern’s course load and culture. Friedman turned to YouTubers for “[The YouTuber] was like, ‘the quarter information about the different living system stinks, and winter is rough,’” options and their amenities. Zuckerman says. “They were very blunt “I really wanted to see the rooms, about it, which I liked a lot. That gives and the Northwestern website has you a better sense because they have pictures of dorms. I saw the pictures no ulterior motive other than to tell the and had the measurements online, but truth.” I couldn’t really conceptualize it that Northwestern students start their well,” Friedman says. academic year several weeks later than Towns says that his dorm tour videos their peers at schools on the semester are a popular part of his Northwesternsystem. This period of time can be related content. He says he started somewhat uneasy for rising freshmen making them in response to a request as they wait for their turn while watching their friends start school. Alexia Katoda-Browner, a Medill first-year who started making YouTube videos during quarantine in 2020, says that watching videos can generate excitement and calm nerves. “Especially during the anticipation period, when - Kate Tadesse, you’re just so excited to go, Weinberg third-year you can’t help but really want to picture yourself there,” Katoda-Browner says. “I was watching a ton of videos of Ryan Field and what the football games were like, what the social scene was like. Anything to give me a better overall vibe of the environment I was about to put myself into.” Katoda-Browner says she felt so much anticipation before her first day of class that she spent the evening watching other Northwestern YouTubers’ accounts of their past first days. The next day, she decided to film in the comments section of another her own first day for a vlog too. video. They rapidly grew in popularity, “I received information from inspiring him to start a series. watching other people’s videos, Students have approached Towns so then I’m making my own and and told him they chose their dorm hopefully passing it on to the next because of his videos: One student generation of Northwestern kids,” recognized Towns on his second-year Katoda-Browner says. move-in day, much to the surprise of Living in the dorms is a major point Towns’ parents. Alumni, prospective of anxiety for incoming students, students and current undergraduates particularly because they cannot routinely comment on his videos, and visit the buildings before they rank he says he’s happy to provide a forum them on their housing applications. for dialogue.

“Whether or not people like the video, it just starts the conversation, and it’s a touchpoint for people to have community with each other. And that’s invaluable,” Towns says. Katoda-Browner notes that a lot of students in her comment section don’t have older friends or former students from their high school at Northwestern to reach out to for advice. “Oftentimes the questions I get asked, they’re not simple questions that you could really find answers to online,” Katoda-Browner says. “They’re deeper, cultural questions, like, ‘I identify with this group. Will I feel supported? Are there people like me on campus?’” Creators emphasize that the more YouTube videos about Northwestern there are, the more likely it is for viewers to see their identities represented. Tadesse, who is Ethiopian, says that she recently received a comment from an incoming Ethiopian student who who wanted to connect with her and ask questions about dorms and the Ethiopian community on campus. “They said that they had watched my videos, and that inspired them to apply to Northwestern,” Tadesse says. “And now they’re going [here] in the fall.” Towns believes that as more Northwestern students from different backgrounds create content, a broader spectrum of perspectives will help paint a more detailed portrait of campus life. “I love the influx of people making videos because there’s no one college experience, no one Northwestern experience,” Towns says. “The more people that are making videos, prospective students are going to have a better idea of all the kinds of people that are at Northwestern.”

“They said that they had watched my videos, and that inspired them to apply to Northwestern.”



The rainbow connection

Northwestern's Rainbow Alliance celebrates five decades of support and advocacy for LGBTQ+ students. WRITTEN BY JOSEPH RAMOS // DESIGNED BY HOPE CARTWRIGHT Content warning: This article discusses instances of homophobia.


Fall Quarter 1982. After discovering the group lacked official leadership, Graff decided to take charge. GALA started to sponsor a mix of social spaces and political work in the following years, with events like a teach-in dedicated to addressing the AIDS crisis through group discussions and a lecture from a faculty member. Graff says he knew people who were dying from the virus and wanted to spread awareness while fighting the harmful stereotypes around it. As a result of his work, Graff says he was called homophobic slurs during phone calls he received in the middle of the night. “One way you assert your identity is not only claiming who you are but who and what you're not, and what you stand for and what you stand against,” Graff says. GALA members recall that at the time the campus climate toward the LGBTQ+ community ranged from accepting to curious to blatantly homophobic. In 1992, The Homoph o b ia Daily Northwestern reported that a GALA member working the door at a Friday night dance said he was called with educa tion a homophobic slur by a man who also tried to hit him in the face. That same year, Norris University Center was spray painted with the words “Die Queers, there will be blood.”




einberg third-year Jordan Vaughn sat at a table in Deering Library on a February morning, poring over a sizable collection of manila folders. She spread out papers advertising dances and protests, combed through a ledger with financial notes on a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and read letters to school administration about the cost of HIV testing. These documents came from the five-decade history of Rainbow Alliance, an organization that serves the needs of LGBTQ+ Northwestern students. Among the yellowing pages, Vaughn, Rainbow Alliance’s current internal president, saw the group's legacy of supporting and advocating for Northwestern's queer community. “It’s so easy to take for granted what we have now,” Vaughn says. “I can’t imagine what it would’ve been like to be a queer person here in the '70s.” Rainbow Alliance’s roots reach back to April 1970, when a group called Northwestern Gay Liberation sent a letter to the school’s faculty announcing its creation. According to the letter, the organization was founded to “actively oppose the oppression of homosexuals” by educating the heterosexual community about harmful stereotypes, pushing for equal rights and hosting social events for the gay community. Gay Liberation’s first major initiative was a petition to Northwestern's then-chancellor asking the school to publicly denounce all discrimination against the gay community. In the organization’s early days, their advocacy initiatives were coupled with social events. According to University archives and reporting in Northwestern Magazine, Gay Liberation hosted a well-attended dance in Patten Gymnasium that featured a popular blues band. The organization’s initial momentum faltered by 1981 due to a lack of funding and minimal structure. Renamed Gay And Lesbian Alliance (GALA), the group still existed, but with reduced visibility. In Spring Quarter 1981, Stuart Graff (McCormick ‘84), then a first-year, was walking on the Technological Institute’s front terrace when a woman handed him a pamphlet promoting a GALA-sponsored event. Excerpt from a Daily Northwestern article about the Though he couldn’t make the event, Graff went to March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal a GALA meeting at an off-campus apartment during Rights and Liberation, published April 18, 1993.



Samantha Westcott and her partner Misty Kirkconnell photographed for a Daily Northwestern article about Northwestern denying marriage benefits to same-sex partnerships, published April 28, 1994.

Graff says he did not let the homophobia he experienced make him angry. Instead, he continued to emphasize visibility for the school’s gay community, which he felt would combat hateful rhetoric and reduce stigma around being openly gay. Graff remembers sitting at GALA’s table during a student activities fair in Fall Quarter 1981 when he saw a high school classmate who also attended Northwestern. The student was surpised and concerned to see him at the table. When he asked Graff what he was doing there, he told him he was running the organization. A few months later, the student returned to Graff and came out to him. According to Graff, GALA's visibility was vital to changing the campus’ climate toward gay students from exclusion or mere “tolerance” to active acceptance. “We're not here to be put up with. We needed to be accepted,” Graff says. “I think we got a lot of acceptance from people that didn't even know that we were there, let alone that they needed to accept us.” In the following decades, the group changed its name to Bisexual, Gay And Lesbian Alliance (BGALA) and focused on providing a place for members to socialize. For Rebecca Dunne (Bienen ‘98), who came out during her first year at Northwestern, BGALA was her starting point in the queer community. She remembers the group’s annual drag show and regular off-campus brunches, as well as meetings in the Norris office that Rainbow Alliance still uses today. While Dunne was the only woman in the group for much of the time she was involved, she says finding other gay students of any gender was the main benefit of being in BGALA. “We all sort of clung to each other like, ‘Oh my god, you’re gay, I’m gay. It’s great,’ and that’s all we were thinking,” Dunne says. BGALA adopted its present name, Rainbow Alliance, in

2002. When Communication third-year Jo Scaletty came to Northwestern from their hometown of Adrian, Missouri, they had never been in a formal environment where they felt comfortable being queer. Scaletty became Rainbow Alliance’s Associated Student Government (ASG) senator at the start of their second year. Through their senatorial work, they connected with LGBTQ+ students on campus while supporting the community’s needs. Scaletty is now Rainbow Alliance’s external president and says the group is looking to reconnect with the activism of its past. Scaletty and Vaughn both say expanding access to gender-neutral bathrooms and housing options is a key objective for the group. They also want to focus on making Northwestern’s health system more accessible for gender fluid students. “[Rainbow Alliance is] working to make sure that however queer students show up on campus, they show up with ease and with comfort and knowing that the system has been built so that they're okay in those spaces,” Scaletty says. Socially, many of the group’s current events aim to make Rainbow Alliance more inclusive. Vaughn says the group used to place a heavier emphasis on forming a gaystraight alliance and was predominantly white. Many of its recent events have been spaces for students with intersecting identities to mingle, such as Black queer students and queer students with disabilities. Vaughn says that Rainbow Alliance’s archive in Deering showed her the group’s path to establishing itself and creating space and support for LGBTQ+ students at Northwestern. She believes the present Rainbow Alliance can be inspired by the persistent spirit and justiceoriented work that characterized its previous forms. “Rights and privileges were gained really slowly in the past, but [the group] was still constantly looking for improvement,” Vaughn says. “I think it would be important to embody that again.” PHOTOS COURTESY OF NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY LIBRARY



<h1> Cracking the code </h1> <h2> Reckoning with exclusivity in computer science. </h2>



ast fall, Weinberg third-year Julia Greenberg walked to her game design computer science class with two male classmates. On the walk, she often felt anxious, like she knew less about the subject than them, even though that wasn’t the case. “It just felt like I was falling behind, which wasn’t necessarily true,” Greenberg says. “It also can be a little intimidating to ask questions when you’re a woman because you don’t want to be perceived as dumb, and you don’t want to mess up.” Greenberg had heard about imposter syndrome at Northwestern but says she never experienced it herself until she declared a computer science major. “I was suddenly with a bunch of people who may have been coding since they were 12 or 13, and it’s also their hobby and everything they do,” Greenberg says. “They are totally enthralled in it, whereas I feel like I knew it was something I’d be interested in studying, but it wasn’t necessarily something I was always going to be wanting to do outside of class.” According to data from Northwestern Now, female students made up about 30% of computer science majors at Northwestern in 2019. Although this is an improvement from 15% in 2011, there is still significant gender and racial inequity in computer science. Hispanic

students made up about 8% of the department, while Black students made up under 3% and Native/Indigenous students made up less than 1%. Computer Science Professor of Instruction Sara Owsley Sood and Associate Professor Ian Horswill believe that the department would benefit from a more diverse faculty.

more representation for marginalized communities is needed in the department. In the future, he wants to see professors that are jointly appointed between computer science and an ethnic studies program at Northwestern. “I just think it’d be really neat to see what kind of new cross-disciplinary knowledge we as a research community can start to grow,” Worsley says. Horswill and Sood are the professors for CS111: Fundamentals of Computer Programming I, an introductory class that all computer science majors are required to take. They have attempted to increase accessibility for students of all skill levels by making changes to beginner computer science courses. “Figuring out how best to serve the students who aren’t coming to computer science, or who aren’t having as easy a time with it — for whatever reason — is, I think, certainly the most important question in terms of curriculum design, at least for the introductory computer science stuff,” Horswill says. To make her course more inclusive, Sood starts the first CS111 class of every quarter by explaining that, while questions are encouraged, they must be “genuine” — students are not permitted to ask questions or make statements in class that show off their programming skills or experience.

“There’s huge issues in terms of the makeup of the faculty, and the faculty are well aware of that.” - Associate Professor Ian Horswill “There’s huge issues in terms of the makeup of the faculty, and the faculty are well aware of that and kind of desperate to try and fix that,” Horswill says. “But there’s a lot of competition for hiring faculty. It’s just really, really hard.” There are six new female faculty members in the department, which Sood says is an important step toward diversifying the major and making it more inclusive. She believes it is crucial to have role models for students of all identities. Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Learning Sciences Marcelo Worsley also believes that



“If I say from the beginning that you can’t show off in the room and that my favorite question is ‘I’m confused,’ it totally changes the vibe in the room,” Sood says. “Then people are open to saying ‘I don’t know what you just said,’ and nobody shows off.” Greenberg appreciated this policy in CS111, especially because she did not declare a computer science major until fall of her second year and was already feeling behind. There are also a variety of computer science groups on campus that help build technical skills and foster community outside of the classroom. McCormick fourthyear Megan Yaur is one of the co-presidents of Women in Computing (NU WiC), an identity-based computer science organization at Northwestern. Yaur appreciates that NU WiC gave her the opportunity to work with other female-identifying students who felt out of place in their computer science classes. “During classes — especially in the intro ones — it’s so big that it’s hard to meet people,” Yaur says. “As you get higher and higher up in the major, there is less female representation in those classes.” Sood supports NU WiC and other identity-based campus organizations because they provide a space for students to bond with people who share aspects of their identity. Despite these efforts, the computer science professors still feel that more changes are necessary to create a more diverse environment in computer science classes. Worsley is currently serving as the principal investigator for a research lab called Technological Innovations for Inclusive Learning and Teaching, housed on the third floor of Mudd Library. The lab offers learning opportunities for students in underserved communities and aims to frame computer science in a way that connects with its participants. “It’s really about trying to find ways to center identities within computer science that are sometimes left out, or identities that people oftentimes feel like they’re not allowed to bring into computer science spaces,” Worsley says. Sood also expressed that she is prioritizing actionable steps the department can take to close the opportunity gap. “Whenever we talk about women and underrepresented groups in computer science, everyone always wants to know, ‘Why? Why is it like this?’” Sood says. “It’s something that’s really hard to pin down, but I think all of our focus should be on how to change, how to improve the environment and the culture and just make it a more welcome and inclusive environment.”

“Whenever we talk about women and underrepresented groups in computer science, everyone always wants to know, ‘Why? Why is it like this?” - Professor Sara Sood



Preserving the past


Students help record the stories of Black Evanstonians.


hen Northwestern PhD candidate Adam Goldsmith concluded his third hour-long interview with long-time Evanston resident Bennett Johnson, he had gathered countless stories from Johnson’s 70 years in the city. Recording Johnson’s life made Goldsmith realize the necessity of preserving the memories of Evanston residents. “It was a really cool experience to ask questions to open up the windows into the story of somebody else,” Goldsmith says. Goldsmith was working on an oral history project launched in 2020 by Northwestern’s Center for Civic Engagement (CCE). The project’s initial goal was to combat isolation among older citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to project manager Alexandra Gonzalez, a graduate assistant at CCE, the interviews were also intended to create meaningful, personal relationships between Evanston seniors and Northwestern students. After listening to multiple recordings, Gonzalez and her team realized the project had collected a rich local history. Black Evanstonians who were interviewed discussed disparities in education, redlining and community culture that younger residents might not have known about. The project quickly expanded beyond an effort to connect people during a pandemic: It became an archive of historical information. After shifting its goal toward gathering more oral histories, specifically from Black Evanstonians, CCE sought out an existing organization in the community to help collect and archive these stories. “We wanted to make sure that the project was carried out in a way that benefited the people we were

Alexandra Gonzalez at an oral history training session in November 2021.


interviewing, and that Black history could actually be taken care of and safeguarded by an organization that the community trusted,” Gonzalez says.

On the record When Morris Robinson Jr., founder of the Shorefront Legacy Center in Evanston, was writing a series of articles about local Black history, he faced a debilitating lack of material. One organization he reached out to for his research presented him with a thin file folder labeled “colored.” Shocked by the meager historical documentation on Evanston’s Black community, Robinson started Shorefront in 2002 to educate citizens about Black history on Chicago’s North Shore. Shorefront has amassed a significant collection of artifacts, documents, photographs and oral

history interviews to improve access to local Black history. Through its partnership with CCE, the organization seeks to grow this collection and involve Northwestern students in the process. Robinson says his goal is to search for “hidden stories” — those that have been lost in family history or have only been told in passing. “Our ultimate vision is to make local Black history common knowledge,” Robinson says. Johnson, a former president of Evanston’s NAACP chapter, believes in the importance of sharing his story for future generations. “History is always very important because if it’s done correctly, it unites everyone with a sense of not only where we come from but where we are now,” Johnson says. In 1958, Johnson organized the Chicago League of Negro Voters, a group that advocated for increased participation from Black citizens in city DANCE FLOOR


politics. In 1966, Johnson was a primary liaison in the historic meeting between Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Elijah Muhummad. Johnson also co-founded Path Press Inc., the country’s first Blackowned publishing house. And, while attending Evanston Township High School, Johnson played on the football team and went to local NAACP meetings in his free time. “There’s always been some mystery around the Black folk on the North Shore,” Johnson says. “What [the project] did was solve a mystery.” To ensure that these stories are preserved for future generations, Shorefront partnered with the Smithsonian Community Curation program, allowing the organization to digitize older interviews and transcribe new ones. As part of her work at CCE, Gonzalez expects to publish a digital storytelling project with the oral history recordings on the Shorefront website by the end of the summer. The project will resemble a map, where users can click around to hear the stories that resonate most with them.

“For us, [Evanston is] where we went to college, but there are tens of thousands of residents here who aren’t transient in that sense. They spend their entire lives here. This is not their college community, this is their community.” - Michael Senko Communication fourth-year

The Northwestern influence The work of Northwestern volunteers has enabled Shorefront to record the stories of more Evanstonians and process their material more effectively. “It takes a community to archive a collection,” Robinson says. “No one person can do it by themselves.”

An oral history training session on February 18th, 2022.


The project is continually recruiting new volunteers. Robinson says that the experience serves as a learning opportunity for students who are looking to engage with communities in Evanston and Chicago. Volunteers come from a variety of academic disciplines. Communication fourth-year Michael Senko applied to the program after he conducted linguistics research that studied the language patterns of Chicagoans. During his research, Senko recalls feeling incredibly connected to the people whose stories he listened to and transcribed. He began searching for ways to replicate the experience, seeking opportunities to engage with Evanston residents outside of his Northwestern coursework. After attending a two-hour oral history training session at Shorefront’s facility, Senko is preparing to conduct his own interviews. “Evanston is changing. Chicago is changing. I think it’s really important that we document these Black residents’ experiences who have been here their entire lives,” Senko says. The students involved in the project hope to give back to Evanston in a tangible, lasting way. “For us, [Evanston is] where we went to college, but there are tens of thousands of residents here who aren’t transient in that sense,” Senko says. “They spend their entire lives here. This is not their college community, this is their community.” Stories from dozens of Black Evanston residents have been documented through the project, and Gonzalez says she hopes to add hundreds more. As Northwestern students become increasingly involved in the collection and preservation of community history, Shorefront is growing closer to its goal of making local Black history common knowledge. “The problem is that we are limited to the amount of time we have on this planet,” Johnson says. “We need to make sure that our lives extend beyond that.”



No sick days Students struggle to balance wellbeing and academics. WRITTEN BY JULIANNA ZITRON // DESIGNED BY HOPE CARTWRIGHT

Name Midterm


Due Feb 21, 2022 by 11:59pm

ari Dashefsky sat in her temporary quarantine room, watching a recording of a lecture that had taken place that morning. The Medill first-year had tested positive for COVID-19 three days prior and was now isolating. While her peers attended in-person classes and extracurricular meetings, Dashefsky had to complete all her work from her quarantine dorm room. Despite her illness, she still felt compelled to stay up-to-date on her assignments. “I feel like Northwestern is such an intense academic environment that, whether or not you want to go about your activities, you kind of have to,” Dashefsky says. “Even though I’m in quarantine now, I feel compelled to be working constantly, and I shouldn’t feel that way.” When students like Dashefsky have to quarantine, they may struggle to keep up with their classes, despite their best



Out of




efforts. Conversely, students who have an illness other than COVID-19 are often incentivized to ignore their symptoms due to the fast-paced quarter system and varying absence policies. Many will try to keep up with their usual class schedules and activities to avoid falling behind, regardless of their own health needs. Weinberg second-year Eli Barlow felt the repercussions of getting sick when he developed a severe cold during week seven of Fall Quarter. Though his fever finally broke after four days, he felt unwell for about two weeks. Barlow initially chose to continue attending his classes in-person. However, as his illness progressed, he opted for virtual alternatives. Still, his Spanish professor had a strict attendance policy, forcing Barlow to either miss class or sacrifice recovery time. DANCE FLOOR


“It probably affected almost half of my quarter because I was playing catchup so much,” Barlow says. “Because our quarters are so short, just one sickness or one unexpected thing happening can throw your entire schedule off and really derail you.” Professors are also concerned about the impact of sickness on their classroom environments. Asian Languages and Cultures and Gender

COVID-19. For now, Zamperini says most professors must figure out how to handle situations as they go. “[There is] this constant confusion and uncertainty and feeling pressure from some professors to go to class and then feeling like other professors don’t care, so I think students are a little confused because there is not one consistent policy across faculty,” Zamperini says.

“This week I haven’t been able to rest, and I’m hoping to do that this weekend, but I also have so many readings and recordings to watch.” - Sari Dashefsky, Medill first-year Studies Professor Paula Zamperini says she implements measures to try to prevent the spread of illness in her classroom. She has ensured that her classrooms comply with Northwestern’s COVID-19 guidelines, including masking in class, and has implemented a virtual option for students who are feeling unwell. She also used a seating chart in Fall Quarter for contact tracing purposes. Still, limited communication from the administration has meant that she often has to make difficult decisions without a precedent or additional guidance in place. “It’s hard, because after the first guidelines were given, none of the faculty has really received further instructions or guidance,” Zamperini says. “And so, especially because I see how much students prefer to be in person, I don’t really have any idea of how to make the students safer.” Zamperini suggests that the University’s experts on mental health, epidemiology and other medical conditions collaborate to create a set of guidelines for supporting students with



Due to inconsistencies in how professors handle students with COVID-19, some students have difficulty navigating the repercussions of the illness. Dashefsky relied on individual meetings with her professors, Zoom recordings posted after class and notes from friends to keep up. Dashefsky’s economics professor did accommodate her, allowing her to take her midterm virtually. However, she was not able to attend the class sections leading up to the exam. “This week I haven’t been able to rest, and I’m hoping to do that this weekend, but I also have so many readings and recordings to watch,” Dashefsky said from her isolation room. The fear of getting sick and facing academic consequences can also make it difficult for students to navigate their social lives. Medill second-year Ryan Choe says that, while he takes all of the precautions he can, it’s impossible to know if his peers are as cautious. “I do feel nervous at times because at this point I’ve almost trained myself to be like, ‘You can’t trust anyone.’ You

have to do your part, but it’s tough because we all go here. We all share the same spaces. It’s so cliché, but it really does take all of us,” Choe says. Rising anxiety during the pandemic has been well documented on college campuses across the country. A 2020 study among undergraduate and graduate students at Texas A&M University found that over 70% of participants had experienced an increase in stress. A similar study, also conducted in 2020 out of Texas A&M, found that 89% of college student respondents suffered difficulty concentrating, and over 80% experienced “decreased social interactions” and “increased concerns on academic performance.” Dashefsky says spending time with friends has been key to managing the stress from her classes. Nonetheless, being in a social setting is what exposed her to COVID-19 in the first place. “I think it’s definitely a balance because for me, I need to be social and see people, because if I didn’t, I would feel really lonely,” Dashefsky says. Zamperini hopes that navigating the pandemic has emphasized the importance of addressing sickness and prioritizing recovery over work. “I really hope that as we move out from a critical phase of the pandemic, we can keep coming together and having these conversations to retain whatever wisdom we have gained, since it’s been such an expensive and exhausting experience,” she says.

Redefining The Block


New exhibitions reflect a commitment to inclusivity. Content warning: This article discusses instances of anti-Black violence.


ver 20 years ago, Northwestern Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art Curator Janet Dees first encountered a work of art called “Palimpsest.” The video installation was a 1999 collaboration between Black artist Carl Pope and his twin sister, poet Karen Pope. A palimpsest is a manuscript that has been written on, erased imperfectly and re-inscribed with some of the original writing still visible. But in Pope’s work, the palimpsest isn’t a manuscript — it’s his body. First, Pope is branded. Then, he is incised. Finally, he is tattooed with his sister’s poem, a tribute to the reclamation of personal history. All three actions signify instances of historical violence endured by Black individuals. By the end, his pain is palpable, and the video’s narration fades to a whisper. “I remember that feeling of it being difficult to watch,” Dees says. “But then there was this moment where I realized the violence that they were referring to was so much greater than what

was actually happening [on-screen]. I thought it was so poetic and powerful.” “Palimpsest” is on display at The Block as part of the museum’s newest exhibition, A Site of Struggle: American Art against Anti-Black Violence. Dees, a Steven and Lisa Munster Tananbaum Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, curated the exhibition over the course of six years. Through approximately 65 pieces, it explores how American artists have engaged with anti-Black violence for over a century. Artwork is grouped by different strategies artists use to confront antiBlack violence, from realistic graphic representation to abstraction. “As a curator, I felt like it was important to put together a project like this because of the historical significance of what it means to contextualize our contemporary struggles, but also a great belief in the power of art and the impact that it can have on our hearts and minds,” Dees says. A Site of Struggle is the most recent manifestation of The Block’s January

Block Museum Curator Janet Dees pictured at the exhibition A Site of Struggle. PHOTO COURTESY OF SEAN SU PHOTOGRAPHY

2021 statement on diversity, equity, access and inclusion (DEAI). The museum committed to advancing DEAI through hiring practices, art collection, exhibition curation and programming. The Block is uniquely positioned as an academic institution. With no obligation to make a profit or showcase prestigious works, the museum is fully dedicated to “meaningful content,” academic curator Corinne Granof says. “We’re not making blockbuster shows,” she says. “Our exhibitions stem from ideas and from history. We’re interested in the idea of art sparking conversations about important topics, like A Site of Struggle.” The museum’s commitment influenced Dees’ curation process: She focused on the exhibition’s development and presentation, rather than just its content. Dees ensured A Site of Struggle represented Black community members’ priorities by working with local organizations dedicated to racial equity and Black history, as well as Northwestern’s Office of Neighborhood and Community Relations. This community advisory group influenced the development of “strategies of care” for guests. Benches throughout the exhibition, discussion questions in the visitor’s guide and a reflection room were created to support visitors as they view sensitive content. “We thought it was important to recognize that this is an ongoing struggle within our community [and] country, and that there are real people whose life experiences are connected to these histories,” Dees says. Lois Biggs (Weinberg ‘20) started working at The Block in 2018 as a student with no museum experience. Now in a permanent position as The Block’s Terra Foundation Curatorial Research Fellow and Curatorial Assistant, she watches the museum continue to evolve. An emphasis on “process over outcome,” she says, now informs curation. DANCE FLOOR



Lois Biggs, The Block’s Terra Foundation Curatorial Research Fellow and Curatorial Assistant.

the Ojibwe, Potawatomi and Odawa. Biggs is involving community members in the curatorial process, just as Dees did for “A Site of Struggle.” She is working with Indigenous groups on and offcampus to develop the exhibition. “Through that process-based approach to the curatorial methodology, we’ll be developing an exhibition that really speaks to this place and the communities that call this place home,” she says. Other efforts at The Block are aimed at increasing diversity within its collection. When it was founded in 1980, The Block’s collection primarily consisted of previous University art acquisitions and gifts from donors — the majority of which were created by European and American white male artists. Today, its permanent collection features 6,000 pieces. But due to its beginnings, the collection’s slate of artists lacks diversity. Granof says the museum recognizes this and is working on increasing artist representation within its permanent acquisitions. “It’s not so much making sure that everybody everywhere is represented, but decentering the voices, so that it’s not just this dominant narrative that

“When you are telling the story — not just of a community but with a community, that really creates a space that you can come into and be nourished [and] transformed by,” Biggs says. Biggs, who is White Earth Ojibwe and an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation, is focused on bringing Indigenous voices to the museum. Raised in a family of visual and musical artists, she sees her Native heritage as inextricably linked to art. “Seeing how people close to me — friends and family — Inside the exhibition A Site of Struggle. saw art as something so key to Indigenous presence spoke to me,” Biggs says. “Storytelling is a really key way of reflecting on the world and being in community for Native people.” In winter 2020, The Block received a grant for a new exhibition from the Terra Foundation, a Chicago-based visual arts organization that also funded A Site of Struggle. The currently unnamed exhibition is set to open in January 2025 and will be a “community-led Indigenous art history of Chicago,” according to Biggs. It will focus on The Block’s position atop land originally occupied by the Menominee, Miami and Ho-Chunk nations, as well as the Council of Three Fires:



[art historians] have learned,” she says. Granof says the museum’s fall 2021 exhibition Who Says, Who Shows, What Counts: Thinking about History with The Block’s Collection represents The Block’s evolving mission. The project reexamined the representation of history in pieces from The Block’s permanent collection, as opposed to temporarily loaned artwork. Communication second-year Madie Giaconia, a Block Museum undergraduate curatorial intern, sees an intentional presentation of history as an important part of the museum’s evolving goals. “It’s changing how we perceive the past, because museums are a large part of how people are connected with historical artifacts,” Giaconia says. “[It’s] being aware of how you can change people’s perspectives by walking somebody through an exhibition.” Moving forward, the museum plans to continue emphasizing inclusivity in its curation and collection. This year, staff members began DEAI workshops and reflection sessions to further The Block’s mission of empathetic storytelling. “To me, exhibitions, art spaces, curatorial projects — just like artworks — are a form of storytelling,” Biggs says. “And I really believe that storytelling has immense power within communities in its capacity to heal, to challenge, to make people question, to think critically, to reach into themselves.” PHOTO COURTESY OF SEAN SU PHOTOGRAPHY

Northwestern’s connection to Beatlemania.

meets the Big 10


comb through The Daily Northwestern archives for mentions of the word “Beatles” between 1960 and 1970 reveals snapshots of pop culture history surrounding the best selling band of all time. While fan club advertisements and album reviews show appreciation for The Fab Four, some articles about the group reveal a surprising sentiment: disdain. It’s obvious that the Beatles are nothing but a bunch of perverts. Just look at their hair. Yes, and the Rolling Stones and all of those singers; they’re all weirdos. They get up in front of an audience and bang away on their guitars and yell and scream and carry on — they all need psychiatrists. - Norm Pearson (Weinberg ‘69). Letter to the editor, The Daily Northwestern, May 24, 1967. The Beatles are one of the most lauded groups in music history and academia. They are number one on Rolling Stone’s “100


Greatest Artists” list, and their record of 20 chart-topping hits has yet to be surpassed. Some universities offer entire master’s degree programs based solely on the band’s work. At Northwestern, the group is the topic of the occasional course in the Bienen School of Music. But the University has another, more tangible connection to The Beatles — some of

their hand-written lyrics are stored in the Deering Library archival collection. The only other library in the world with original Beatles manuscripts is the national library of The United Kingdom. Yet in the 1960s, many Americans — including some at Northwestern — saw the British imports as nothing more than a reckless fad. A June 1965 article from The Daily Northwestern promoting an upcoming concert reads, “There are four faculty concerts indoors. The first program will be ‘Music of the British Isles,’ which will not feature the Beatles, since selections are fortunately only from the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries.” John Lyons, author of Joy and Fear: The Beatles, Chicago and the 1960s, explains that during The Beatles’ early years, most of their fan base was younger than



York City had a growing art scene, and Los Angeles had its laid-back culture and Hollywood. But Chicago barely had a recording industry, and hippies and “long-hairs” were often jumped. Lyons uses the term “cultural traditionalism” to refer to these Midwestern values: Chicagoans believed in the nuclear family structure, gender roles, patriotism and religion. The Beatles seemed to represent the opposite of everything cultural traditionalists believed. John Lyons “We probably seem antireligious because of the fact Professor of British and that none of us believe in American history at Joliet God,” Paul McCartney said in Junior College a February 1965 interview with Playboy, confirming the band’s indifference toward religion. The next year, John Lennon would age, usually between begin a media firestorm by saying The 9-17. Their fans were also Beatles were “more popular than Jesus.” overwhelmingly female. According to Lyons, as catalysts This helps explain the of the progressive counterculture disinterest apparent in The movement, The Beatles refused to play Daily Northwestern during the to segregated audiences, experimented first half of the ‘60s, as every with drugs and opposed the Vietnam article published about The War. As The Beatles became more Beatles at the time was written by politically active, the Midwest grew a man. increasingly hostile towards them. “20-year-old male students Although the counterculture movement thought that The Beatles were among liberals and college students basically a silly girl group,” Lyons says. was growing, the country was actually “And so therefore they ignored them.” becoming more conservative as a whole, But the negative press at Northwestern and anti-war movements were a growing paled in comparison to overall attitudes danger to the cultural traditionalism of toward The Beatles in the United States. the time. In 1964, the group appeared on The Ed “Peace and love now is not the same Sullivan Show, their first performance for thing as peace and love in the 1960s,” an American audience. Their haircuts, Lyons says. head-bobbing, hip-shaking and highThe Beatles’ politics had a profound pitched “oohs” were obscene to many impact on their success in the Midwest. national and Chicagoland viewers. As While their two 1965 concerts in The Beatles prepared for their first major Chicago drew a combined total of over tour of the U.S. in the summer of 1964, 60,000 people, their last two Chicago much of the Midwest was not ready for shows in August 1966 drew only a their flair. combined 26,000. According to Lyons, “For the next 50 days an epidemic of the promoter of the shows even gave Beatlemania will scourge this continent,” out tickets for free, fearing a smallera Chicago Sun-Times article warned. than-average crowd size. Of the U.S.’s three largest cities, Though The Beatles’ popularity Chicago was perhaps the most declined in the second half of the conservative, Lyons explains. New ‘60s, the counterculture movement

“Peace and love now is not the same thing as peace and love in the 1960s.”



was expanding, and students were becoming more politically active on college campuses. Northwestern students began engaging in protests and peace movements like the Black Student Sit-In at the Northwestern Bursar’s Office in May 1968. Meanwhile, The Beatles were expressing support for the Civil Rights Movement, including incorporating their beliefs into songs like “Blackbird.” As The Beatles created a new socially conscious sound, their music found a more positive reception with Northwestern students. A May 1968 article in The Daily Northwestern promoted the annual “Festival of Arts” in Cahn Auditorium, which included “African music, a Japanese koto and a dance to side two of the Beatles album ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.’” Following the release of their selftitled album, better known as “The White Album,” a December 1968 Daily Northwestern review praised both their sound and social commentary. “It is close to perfect,” Bob Greene (Medill ‘69) wrote in the review. “Nothing misses.” By the late ‘60s, The Beatles had become more open about experimenting with drugs, such as marijuana and LSD. They also studied meditation in India with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a guru known for developing transcendental meditation. These experiences influenced their music, which became more experimental. “Their art has changed as they have,” Greene wrote. “It was almost five years ago that they haltingly appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show singing ‘All My Loving.’” Finally, The Beatles had made their way into the Northwestern community’s favor. But it was not the last mark the group would leave on the University. Today, seven pages of what look like disorganized notes, scratched out phrases and meaningless doodles hang on an unassuming wall of a study room in Deering Library. The display is one of Northwestern’s hidden treasures: original manuscripts of lyrics for seven songs by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, the most successful songwriting duo of all time. According to Gregory MacAyeal, curator of the Northwestern music library, these pages together are estimated to be worth $10-15 million.

Some students are familiar with the Deering exhibit, but MacAyeal says the captivating story behind it is lesser known. Before Japanese artist Yoko Ono married John Lennon in 1969, she collaborated with John Cage, a legendary American composer who strove to push Western music’s boundaries with his experimental compositions. At the time, Cage was working on his book Notations, in which he collected original manuscripts from artists of different mediums, including The Beatles. From what can be ascertained, the seven manuscripts in Deering Library — which include “Yellow Submarine” and “Eleanor Rigby” — were passed from Lennon and McCartney to Ono, to Cage. Then, after completing his Notations project, Cage donated all of his findings to Northwestern’s music library. Now, a plethora of artifacts from Cage’s collection of 19th- and 20th-century music from Notations is housed in the archives of Deering Library. While the original priceless pages containing the seven Beatles songs are kept somewhere safe in the archives, reproductions can be seen in room 208 of the library, symbolizing the first time in music history where the lines between pop and the avant-garde were blurred. Beatles biographers and historians disagree on how Cage acquired these lyrics from Ono and how Ono acquired them from The Beatles. The mystery of these lyrics’ path to Deering Library remains to this day. According to MacAyeal, even Paul McCartney doesn’t completely remember how John Cage obtained the lyrics. A few years ago, before the publication of McCartney’s 2021 biographical book, Paul McCartney, The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present, MacAyeal received an unexpected phone call from McCartney’s publishing company. A representative informed him that the company was looking for background on how the lyrics landed in Cage’s possession. “When things happen, you don’t really know how ephemeral that transaction is going to be,” MacAyeal says. “That was probably the case for Yoko Ono and John Cage and The Beatles at the time. Who could predict this amazing decades-long legacy that they’ve had?”

Take A Drink From His Special Cup In Beatles lore, it is often cited that Bob Dylan was the person who first introduced the group to marijuana, spurring a new era of creativity for the four songsters. But a lesser-known catalyst for their drug experimentation was actually Northwestern graduate John Riley. According to music writer Steve Turner, in April 1965, John Lennon and George Harrison, along with their wives, Cynthis Lennon and Pattie Boyd, visited their personal dentist in London for a small dinner party. Their dentist, John Riley, a Londoner and graduate of Northwestern University Dental School in Chicago, welcomed the stars into his home and offered them dinner and coffee. After the meal, when Lennon and Harrison stood up to leave, Riley insisted that they could not, as they were about to be tripping on LSD. Without their knowledge or consent, John Riley had spiked all four of his guests’ coffee with psychedelics. The incident is said to have inspired The Beatles’ song “Doctor Robert.” You’re a new and better man He helps you to understand He does everything he can, Doctor Robert If you’re down he’ll pick you up, Doctor Robert Take a drink from his special cup, Doctor Robert Although Lennon and Harrison were initially furious, they quickly became regular users of the hallucinogen, often finding songwriting inspiration from their acid trips. Ringo Starr and McCartney soon followed suit. The genesis of psychedelic music is often credited to The Beatles experimenting with the substance. All because of a Northwestern dentist. Maybe LSD really is in our DNA.



Where credit is due

How Northwestern’s urban dance community attempts to acknowledge Black culture’s influence. WRITTEN BY BRENDAN LE // DESIGNED BY HOPE CARTWRIGHT


n mid-November 2021, for the first time in nearly two years, Refresh Dance Crew, Fusion Dance Company and Boomshaka performed live in Cahn Auditorium for their Fall Quarter show, ReFusionShaka. Before the lights dimmed for their sold-out 10 p.m. performance, five executive board members from the three groups walked to center stage. They faced a crowd of approximately 1,000 students, alumni and parents, to the sound of deafening applause. “Before we begin the show, we would like to give a few disclaimers and reminders,” Fusion co-Artistic Director Matt You said as the noise quieted. “We recognize that we are a predominantly non-Black exec board and would like to acknowledge that the music, choreography and drumming in this show stems directly from Black culture.” The statement emphasized that their performance would not be possible without the contributions of Black artists and communities to pop



culture “under immense oppression, discrimination and violence.” Collectively, the dance groups committed to further educating themselves and continuing to acknowledge the Black community’s influence on their art. As a direct result of the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020, the national dance community took a hard look at the lack of recognition for the influence of Black culture on dance. For Northwestern’s predominantly Asian-led dance groups, Refresh and Fusion, the focus on listening to their Black members and crediting Black creatives became especially prominent as they prepared for their performance last fall. The groups discussed initiatives to better center Black voices in their dancing and spoke about the Asian American co-opting of hip-hop elements, a style originating in the Black community. They also discussed implementing dance education in their practices, as well as providing

Black members with a space where they are welcomed and heard. Refresh executive board members attended nationwide Zoom meetings held by professional dancers like Los Angeles choreographer and dance educator Danyel Moulton to learn how to provide Black team members with a safe and comfortable environment. They also sent board members to a virtual dialogue held by dance competition Prelude NorCal, which explored the gentrification and commodification of hip-hop while discussing anti-racist practices in the dance community. Weinberg fourth-year Aisha Lhabaik joined the Northwestern dance community in the Winter Quarter of her first year, when she was accepted into Refresh. She later joined Fusion in the Fall Quarter of her second year. Lhabaik says she first found community with the few fellow Black students in Refresh and Fusion. While she now feels more involved with the dance community,

she wishes it hadn’t taken so long for her to connect with the rest of the group. “I do wish that I didn’t have to go through this awkward period for a long time of, ‘I don’t really feel like I have friends here. I don’t feel like I have a place here. I don’t feel good enough,’” Lhabaik says.

about hip-hop’s roots in African tribal dance obscures important context that includes the origin of some moves and techniques, like grounding exercises with feet. “It would be really beautiful if we collaborated with Afrothunda [Dance Troupe] or maybe brought in an African dance instructor to help us with that

“I wish there was more of a bridge to be able to connect with them.” - Aisha Lhabaik, Weinberg fourth-year She hopes for better communication within the organizations — for Black members to express their discomfort and for non-Black members to provide the space for them to share their experiences. “I wish there was more of a bridge to be able to connect with them,” Lhabaik says. This lack of dialogue between non-Black and Black members led to decisions that disregarded the Black community’s contributions to dance. SESP third-year Camryn Smith notes that many dances for Refresh performances fall under the category of “urban dance” — a style that draws heavily from hip-hop. However, Smith feels that not understanding the background of hip-hop culture can limit the ability to properly execute dance moves. She says a lack of knowledge

movement,” Smith says. The executive board of ReFusionShaka, comprised of members from all three groups, also neglected to seek out the input of Black members while compiling the music for their performance. The board chose to censor all uses of the N-word without asking for their Black members’ opinions. When members heard the cut of the music for the first time, they were confused. “I was talking to a lot of people, and they felt like it was rude for that to happen because they didn’t understand like, ‘Who made this [cut]?’” Lhabaik says. “Nobody talks about who made the decision, who was in the room having those conversations.” After hearing the reactions of their Black members to the music cut, ReFusionShaka’s executive board uncensored the music, Fusion and issued an apology to the teams. Asian American involvement in the urban dance scene can be traced back to the dance team Kaba Modern, founded in 1992 by Arnel Calvario, a Filipino American student at the University of

California, Irvine. The team branched off of UCI’s Filipino cultural club, Kababayan. As Kaba Modern grew in popularity, other collegiate Asian cultural clubs began founding their own urban dance teams. Kaba Modern later appeared on the first season of America’s Best Dance Crew in 2008, which was won by another predominantly Asian team, the JabbaWockeeZ. Their national success helped popularize urban dance in the Asian American community at both competitive and collegiate levels. “For many Asian Americans, at least who are more heavily involved within the dance scene, it’s a college phenomenon that they don’t really get exposed to until they start college,” says Raymond San Diego, an Asian American Studies professor at Northwestern. “They might have lived in areas that were majority-white. They didn’t have experience with hip-hop culture other than — if I’m going old-school — through the radio or MTV. Now, it might be YouTube, and they’re getting involved that way.” San Diego says that many non-Black dancers learn about hip-hop through short TikToks or YouTube videos. This surface-level consumption of hip-hop decontextualizes the dancing, isolating it from its history and significance in the Black community. Members’ concerns about the absence of Black members’ input in creative decisions pushed the executive boards to address shortcomings in acknowledging Black culture’s impact on their art. Although the Refresh executive board has led quarterly town halls since the spring of 2015 for members to communicate questions and complaints, Refresh President Lili Wang and Artistic Director Joan Gwak say that the group intends to take more active steps to educate their members and center Black voices. Refresh plans to set up masterclasses with Black professional dancers to teach choreography and host in-depth conversations about dance education, such as the origin of certain moves and resources to practice them, Wang says.



Within Refresh’s own classes, Gwak and Wang want to push for greater awareness of the history behind hiphop dance and implement lasting practices that develop Refresh into a more educated and respectful group. “Having the choreographers take the time to teach their casts or setting that culture, I think, inherently makes a more healthy environment,” says Wang, a McCormick fourth-year. Medill fourth-year Gwak has also made an effort to promote Black dancers, especially in the Chicago dance community, by advertising classes held downtown taught by Black choreographers. Gwak encourages other Refresh dancers to come to these sessions with her, and almost every week, three or four members accompany her. “There’s a lot of dance forums that are right there, like 30 minutes away from us,” Gwak says. “But a lot of us don’t take the initiative to go out there.” Smith also wants to see changes to Refresh’s marketing. She suggests asking more Black members to hold open classes, which are sessions available to the public and taught by Refresh members. Smith says that if Black students only see Asian and white faces on social media posts advertising open classes, they might be less inclined to become involved in the community. Weinberg fourth-year Matt You and Medill third-year Ryan Kim, Fusion’s artistic directors, say that Fusion has promoted Chicago and Evanstonbased dance groups on social media. ReFusionShaka collectively has donated to these groups, as well as to other



Black-owned businesses. At the end of Fall Quarter, Fusion held their first-ever town hall, where members discussed the lack of communication with leadership. Black members specifically expressed concerns about not being consulted for decisions regarding their community. Kim feels that the town hall was productive, and he says he left feeling hopeful. “I was excited by our future prospects and projects and seeing how many members were willing to be vulnerable in the space that we created for the town hall,” Kim says. For Lhabaik, creating the space for these conversations is a step in a positive direction. She hopes that more open and in-depth dialogues happen and that Fusion’s executive board follows through on their promises. “Apparently, we were supposed to have some sort of education in Fusion, and that just never happened — like that was thrown out the window [Fall Quarter],” Lhabaik says. “So they said they were going to go back to doing that, and I’m expecting that.”

Lhabaik says that accepting more Black students onto the team and accounting for diversity in recruitment would also help uplift Black voices. While she understands the groups only have so much control over how many Black students audition, she feels that the executive boards should factor diversity in more when selecting new members, as she knows many people who want to be a part of the dance community. Moving forward, Kim says that as Fusion interacts more with the Black dance community outside of Northwestern circles, the group will be more conscious of the responsibilities they place on their Black members. “We’ve all explicitly come to the consensus that when we are engaging with other collectives outside of the Northwestern sphere, it’s not the duty of our Black members or Black dancers to facilitate these kinds of initiatives or projects,” Kim says. At the end of Winter Quarter 2022, Fusion organized masterclasses with Black choreographers as part of their efforts to integrate dance education into their practices. Their plans for workshops and sessions dedicated to education have been put on hold for the quarter. Lhabaik wants to be optimistic about the future of the Northwestern dance community, but she still has some reservations. “I need to actually see results,” Lhabaik says. “But for now, I feel like the fact that we were able to have those conversations, it looks like a good step in the right direction.”

Indigenous voices

Indigenous students speak about their experience at Northwestern. WRITTEN BY JENNA ANDERSON DESIGNED BY ELOISE APPLE & EMMA ESTBERG




Content warning: This article contains mentions of anti-Indigenous racism.


n Sunday, Nov. 9, 2021, members of the Native American and Indigenous Student Alliance (NAISA) made a painful discovery. The Rock, which they had painted only two days prior to celebrate Native American Heritage Month, had been defaced with hateful and racist messages. Vandals attempted to paint over the original design, which included red handprints to represent the plight of missing and murdered Indigenous women in North America, land acknowledgements for the Anishinaabe tribes and a Jingle Dress Dancer to signify healing. “Ojibwe? No way!!” was spray-painted on the Rock’s ledge. At Northwestern, Native American and Indigenous students make up less than 1% of the undergraduate student body. They find community at an institution with ties to colonialism and anti-Indigenous violence. According to the school’s Land Acknowledgement, the Evanston campus is located on the traditional homelands of the Council of Three Fires: the Ojibwe, Potawatomi and Odawa Nations, as well as the land of the Menominee, Miami and HoChunk Nations. Northwestern was founded by John Evans, who served as the superintendent of Indian Affairs and territorial governor of Colorado. On Nov. 29, 1864, during Evans’ tenure, U.S. soldiers killed 209 Cheyenne and Arapaho people in the Sand Creek Massacre. In 2013, after repeated efforts from NAISA, Northwestern formed the John Evans Study Committee to review and issue a report on Evans and the nature of his involvement in the massacre. The report concluded that while Evans did not actively plan or support the attack, his actions created a conducive atmosphere for the massacre to unfold. In its wake,

We’ve had to work twice as hard to make sure that the image of Northwestern and Native students here isn’t hurt more.

he never explicitly expressed remorse or acknowledged the event as a massacre. During the investigation, the Committee hosted an open forum and concluded that Northwestern had made little-to-no effort to support or engage with Native American and Indigenous communities. Jasmine Gureanu, director of Native American and Indigenous Affairs at the University, said in an email to NBN that this failure could be seen as a continuation of Evans’ antiIndigenous history. As a result, Northwestern launched the Native American Outreach and Inclusion Task Force, the purpose of which was to “recommend strategies to strengthen Northwestern’s relationship with Native American communities through recruitment efforts, academic programs and campus support services.” The Task Force recommended establishing a research center to support the needs of Indigenous populations, and in 2015, the Mellon Foundation awarded Northwestern $1.5 million to support the Center for Native American and Indigenous Research (CNAIR). Additionally, NAISA, founded in 2012, has since seen a dramatic increase in participation. The organization now has enough members to form a council with various leadership positions. Despite these steps, which also include the formal Land Acknowledgement and the creation of the Native Studies minor, many members of NAISA feel that Northwestern has failed to support their community. The administration’s delayed response to the vandalization of the Rock serves as a painful reminder of its shortcomings. The following stories are condensed transcriptions of interviews with three Indigenous undergraduate students and leaders in NAISA, with the aim of creating a platform for them to share their experiences as Indigenous people and Northwestern students.

- Isabella Twocrow, SESP third-year



Isabella Twocrow Co-chair of NAISA I’m Oglala Lakota, and I’m a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation. I grew up with my father, who was Lakota, and he grew up on the Rosebud Reservation and Pine Ridge Reservation. My mother is also Lakota. My biological dad is HoChunk, and so a lot of decisions were made in terms of wanting to enroll in Ho-Chunk Nation, which had more benefits like helping pay for school. I’d say my own preference would have been to enroll with Oglala Lakota since I was raised that way culturally, but I’m still just on a journey of trying to understand being Ho-Chunk and what that means. That was one of the reasons I chose Northwestern. Northwestern is on Ho-Chunk land and is so close to the Ho-Chunk Nation in Wisconsin. My family lives there, and I have family here, too, so it’s just the perfect fit. My main priority when applying to colleges was to find a school with good Native programming and a big Native student population. Northwestern didn’t have the big Native student population, but it obviously helped that they had resources for Native students on campus and around Chicago. Other universities have had set programming for years. Northwestern is — was — behind. I’d say we’re now turning into a top competitor, and I know that from working in student admissions. My main goal here at Northwestern has been recruitment and making sure prospective students have a point person. Undergraduate Admissions now has an assistant director — his name is Niyo Moraza-Keeswood, and he’s Diné and part of the Chichimeca tribe from Mexico, specializing in Native and Indigenous student recruitment. I have worked with him on student recruitment for the past two years, and I hope to continue that work. Just being able to be in spaces with other Indigenous students and being able to tell them the resources we have here has been absolutely amazing and rewarding.

The support I’ve had here from the Native community has been infinite. If you’re a Native on this campus, we’re all in community together. It’s very intergenerational, nothing is separate. That’s the result of CNAIR. My first year in NAISA, which is the student group, there were three students that would show up consistently. It was amazing to have their guidance and support through everything, but there were only three of them, so the support they could offer was limited. Now, this year, we have 15 or 16 members, and we’re actually able to have a council. Having that growth has been incredibly special to all of us. Personally, it puts more pressure on me to make sure I’m supporting them in any way I can. That’s why taking this co-chair position has been so amazing. I’m able to offer that support. This is a predominantly white campus, so I want to make sure they know that we’re always here for them and that they always have a place on campus if they feel unsafe, isolated, angry or upset. I think that has to do with my dedication to my ancestors’ legacy, as well as the legacy of my future and my children. I’m doing this work to protect our youth. Speaking to Northwestern’s history, I think that is also hard to sit with. The John Evans legacy is just so violent, but we have responsibilities as students and as a school. I hold myself accountable to that history too. After what happened with the Rock last quarter, I felt so guilty for the new students that were here. I had worked to recruit them, and I was telling them Northwestern is a safe place, so that really hurt me when I saw them go through this. It also put a halt to all of our recruitment efforts, which harmed us. I was so angry about that for so long. When things like that happen and then the University doesn’t give an active response and engage with us, that’s harmful. Not just in that moment, and not just with current students, but on their image as a place for Native students. If I saw that, I would immediately know I don’t want to go here. We’ve had to work twice as hard to make sure that the image of Northwestern and Native students here isn’t hurt more. My dad never went to college and didn’t graduate high school. I am doing this work and have that responsibility

Isabella Twocrow


as a future leader and someone who’s trying to heal my family. Sitting with that today is really challenging. But obviously, there’s nothing else I want to do. I just sit with that pressure sometimes. My family doesn’t put pressure on me; they’re just proud that I’m here. I’m really proud of myself too, and so I just work every day to show them that. Part of that is the work that I’m doing with Niyo Moraza-Keeswood,

which is just so crucial to Northwestern as an institution. Despite the stuff that happened at the Rock and the ongoing microaggressions I get, Northwestern’s a good school. As a Native student, I don’t ever regret my choice coming here, no matter what has happened, and that’s because of my community support. I am excited to continue working to make sure we get other Native students here. FEATURES


Co-chair of NAISA

I’m Keweenaw Bay Ojibwe. I’m not enrolled. I’m what they would call a “descendant,” technically, but that’s a whole thing with blood quantum. Blood quantum is a really big, broad historical topic. The U.S. government made these rules for what makes an Indigenous person an Indigenous person or a citizen of their nation, because we’re considered sovereign nations. Tribes don’t have to use blood quantum anymore, but a lot of them still do. It’s a very colonial way of keeping track of citizenship, but at the same time, it’s a hard decision to make because there’s a lot of people who claim Indigeneity who have no real lineage. Keweenaw Bay Ojibwe, they still use blood quantum. According to them, you have to be one quarter to be enrolled. My dad is one quarter, which means I’m an eighth by those standards, and so I can’t be involved. People become not enrolled in their nations very quickly. We’re harming ourselves in a way. We’re just not making our communities as stable as they could be by following these colonial ideas of blood quantum. I’m from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I went to an elementary school called Indian Community School, and it’s a school for Native students in Milwaukee. I had curriculum that was centered on Indigenous knowledge systems. They had Ojibwe language, Oneida language and Menominee language, which are three big tribes in Wisconsin. Even though I grew up in community and with my culture, I would still identify as reconnecting because there are things I didn’t get to do. I didn’t really go to my reservation growing up, which is in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I’m still learning that history and that connection. It’s been surprising how connected I have felt at Northwestern. I think that’s because the Native community is small here, but everyone is so committed to each other and building community. If you’re not seeing yourself on campus



It’s been surprising how connected I have felt at Northwestern. I think that’s because the Native community is small here, but everyone is so committed to each other and building community.

Isabel St. Arnold

- Isabel St. Arnold, SESP fourth-year

and not having that community, that can be really hard, but I just immediately felt welcomed and like I had a place. There’s also a lot of people in NAISA who feel that they’re reconnecting as well. ​​They don’t feel like they have a connection at all, so it’s their chance to reconnect. I love when people come for those reasons. I know I’ve grown so much in terms of my identity over the past four years, so it’s really interesting, cool and beautiful to see other people grow in that way, too. I have full confidence in all of them that they will make NAISA even better and more amazing than it already is. I found out about the Rock the Sunday of Family Weekend. I saw in the GroupMe, “Oh my god, did you guys see the Rock?” I knew instantly that something bad happened. I was at the CNAIR House from noon until midnight, just helping people, comforting people, writing the statement. Most of NAISA was there. Whoever could be there was there. I’m already an anxious person in general, but it was a really high level of anxiety for me. In those moments, it really feels like you can’t mess up. Even when it comes to writing statements and everything, it’s just a lot. I didn’t do homework once that week because I didn’t have time, and if I did have time, I was too mentally exhausted to even think about it. The issue for me was that I was so busy trying to support other people that I didn’t really have the option to process it right away. I didn’t give

myself permission to process it. I kind of removed myself. But I was definitely angry in the moment. I was angry that this was all falling back on us, and we had to do all this work. I was angry that I was up until 4 a.m. writing a list of demands. The whole “Ojibwe no way” thing is a direct attack on me as an Ojibwe person. It took a really long time to process that and accept that. Now, I can be upset about it and give permission to myself to be upset and to be hurt. At the same time, it was also really amazing to see the way that our community came together to support each other. Immediately, so many people were like, “I’m coming to the CNAIR house,” or “I’m bringing food.” Just basic things to make sure that we were taken care of. What I’ve struggled with the most throughout my life is being Native and white and not being enrolled in my tribe. It doesn’t really bother me anymore if people don’t see me as Native because I know I’m Native and I know I have that connection. In the past, that was something I really struggled with. Especially because most people are going to perceive me as white only. Which is fine — that’s a privilege in and of itself. I am white, I am Native, both of these things at once, not any less of one or the other. Also recognizing the difference between race and ethnicity and all those things, and just being like, “Fuck blood quantum,” basically. I think it’ll be a journey forever, for the rest of my life.

Isabel St. Arnold

Kadin Mills Head of communications for NAISA


There’s so much that needs to change fundamentally. I think that comes down to just decolonizing the way institutions of higher education function. Northwestern needs to be held accountable for its history. - Kadin Mills, Medill second-year

I’m Keweenaw Bay Ojibwe. I’m not an enrolled citizen. Being unenrolled is very difficult. It’s disheartening. My mom, my aunts, my grandma are all tribal members. I come from a tribe that has a pretty strict blood quantum requirement. You have to be at least a quarter. My mom is technically a quarter, so I’d be an eighth, which, in the grand scheme of things, is actually not very far removed. That invalidation is very difficult. It’s also very difficult because I’m so pale. I’ve got wispy blond hair and pink skin. I’m also the only one in my mom’s family that has blond hair. In high school, there was one person who liked to call me “Redneck Redskin.” I’ve never felt like I could say that I was Native. I didn’t grow up with this strong identity, so sometimes it feels like I’ve just made it up. Which I haven’t, but it can feel that way. My mom’s also not very connected to our tribe specifically. She didn’t have the best relationship with our Native family, so there wasn’t that close family bond that kept that culture alive. Now she’s in a place where she’s also reconnecting, but it’s interesting. Normally it’s Native youth reconnecting with their families that they haven’t talked to about their identities because, a lot of times, families are encouraged to assimilate. In this case, it’s my mom reconnecting through her son who goes to an institution with a Native community and is learning about decolonization and abolition. When I filled out my personal information and demographic information, I debated whether or not I would put Native and white. I eventually decided that I would. Because of that, as an incoming freshman, I got emails from MSA. I saw an email about a Native family welcome roundtable. I responded, and it was something along the lines of, “I’m unenrolled, I’ve got an eighth blood quantum, am I allowed in this space?” I got an email like, “It just breaks my heart to have to address that because you’re always welcome in this FEATURES


space. We don’t care at all about blood quantum; we don’t care if you’re white. This is a space for you and your family.” Having that was very impactful. Then I got involved in NAISA. I knew that I wanted to reconnect, but I didn’t know how. Now, I would say I’m probably the most reconnected out of my immediate family. NAISA and the Indigenous community here were the catalyst. Through personal experiences and just watching the way the University has reacted to students voicing their concerns about inequity, it’s very evident that Northwestern cares more at the end of the day about their reputation, financial standing and alumni than they do their current students. In November, when the Rock was defaced, Northwestern didn’t really have a definitive stance on that. They didn’t send out an email when what happened with the Rock happened. I was pissed. I don’t care who did it, but I do care that we take this moment and use it to push what marginalized people have been pushing on campus for a long time, that they’re not represented and that they’re not protected by the institution.

The people who were forced to pick up the pieces were NAISA and the Native community. That night, when the Rock was found to be defaced, we were the ones who organized the gathering of all the Indigenous community at the CNAIR house. A lot of students felt the very heavy burden of having to deal with that, and then had to feel the heavy burden of planning these meetings with school leadership and Morton Schapiro. I think that these meetings are necessary. We’ve gotten lots of really good insight. It’s great to have that confidential space in which we can talk with these administrators and talk about our own experiences and just heal together. It’s not to blame anybody. It’s not to point fingers. It’s not to say, “You didn’t do enough.” It’s to heal and to heal as a community and to build trust so that communities like NAISA can have a good relationship with administration later on. There’s so much that needs to change fundamentally. I think that comes down to just decolonizing the way institutions of higher education function. Northwestern needs to be held accountable for its history. Northwestern

is not held accountable for the Sand Creek Massacre. Acknowledging that is one step in supporting Indigenous people. I know that there are students and staff working on the advent of a scholarship for the descendants of the Cheyenne and Arapaho, specifically as reparations for Sand Creek. But Northwestern has denied John Evans having been accountable for Sand Creek, and I think that’s a major problem. The University of Denver also has ties to John Evans, and they deemed that he is seriously culpable for creating the conditions for the massacre. At Northwestern, I don’t know exactly what their statement is, but it is one of denial, which is deeply problematic. Looking forward, we’ve got a lot to be grateful for. We’ve got a Native community that is beginning to thrive on campus. We’re planning our first powwow. Now we’ve got a much larger social media following, which has been nice for our platform. I think people are starting to realize that Native people on campus have been struggling for quite a while. I’m very hopeful that this is the beginning of a serious reckoning on campus in terms of racial and ethnic issues.

Kadin Mills




Living with loss How Northwestern students cope with losing loved ones. WRITTEN BY TERESA NOWAKOWSKI // DESIGNED BY S. KELSIE YU


y sister called as I hovered over the “Submit” button. It was the day after Mother’s Day, and I was purchasing an Amtrak ticket to St. Louis to see my grandparents. My family used to make the drive from Minnesota to Missouri to see them twice a year, but between the pandemic and scheduling conflicts as my siblings and I got older, it had been several years since my last visit. So when my dad told us that my grandma wasn’t doing well, I knew I should go. Even though courses were virtual, I was on the fence. With class and homework, travel timing would be difficult. But come Monday morning,

I had decided to meet my family in Missouri the next day. Then my sister called. My grandma had died that morning. My sister was already en route to Missouri with my parents and my other sister, but now I was adrift again. Could I justify missing school now that I had lost my chance to say goodbye? After agonizing over the decision for the afternoon, I booked a ticket for the following day. And as my train pulled into Gateway Station, I knew I had made the right choice. Still, if classes hadn’t been on Zoom, I don’t think I would have gone. I didn’t want to jeopardize my academics. The pressures of college life —

academics, living away from home and varying access to support — spell unique challenges for students when they experience the death of a loved one. A 2015 study published in the Journal of College Student Development estimates that 30-36% college students have lost a friend or family member in the past year. And, by the end of college, nearly two-thirds of students will have experienced at least one such loss, the authors write. At Northwestern, grieving students receive varying levels of support and often find themselves caught in the constant forward motion of college life. Those who talk about their grief may prefer to do so with friends



rather than reaching out to professors, administrators or counselors. Others, without a broader awareness of grief on campus or University resources, are left feeling isolated and struggling to process their grief.

“Grieving can take months, but you don’t have months,” Swedberg says. “You have a couple days at best, depending on your professor.” The perpetual busyness of college life makes it difficult for students to find moments to rest. Medill third-year Vaibhavi hen my grandma died, it was the Hemasundar was a peer adviser (PA) during middle of Spring Quarter, close Wildcat Welcome 2021. One morning a enough to finals that it felt like I wouldn’t couple days into the week, Hemasundar catch up if I took a break or slowed down. was about to leave her apartment when I missed only one her mom called with the class that week. I logged news that her grandfather into the rest from the had passed away. pullout couch in the “My first instinct was living room of my just like, ‘Okay, I have to family’s Airbnb, which meet with my students, was also serving as and I will cry about it my bed. Afraid to lose later,’” Hemasundar says. participation points, I Conscious of her kept my camera on. tendency to throw That academic herself into work as a pressure seems to be distraction from her omnipresent. feelings, Hemasundar Weinberg third-year stopped herself and Ben Swedberg also called a friend. They felt the need to keep agreed she should take working after he lost a time and process what high school friend to was happening rather cancer during his first than rushing into year at Northwestern. another hectic day. Journal of College He went home to Grand Hemasundar did Student Development Rapids, Michigan, to take some time for be with his family and herself, but she felt a attend the funeral, but responsibility to her was back on campus the students and co-PA, so next week, attending she didn’t withdraw classes and practicing with his mock trial completely. She spoke with higher-ups team. and found a way to be a part-time PA so Swedberg says his classes were often she could make more time for herself, but a welcome distraction. However, looking continued assisting throughout the week back, he believes that although he wasn’t with activities and discussions. “miserable,” throwing himself into his “For the rest of that week, I was having work may not have been the healthiest to assess on literally a minute-by-minute decision. He describes his actions as basis, like ‘How am I feeling about this?’” keeping with a Northwestern culture she says. where students are expected to continue Because classes began immediately working no matter what, which he says after Wildcat Welcome ended, “doesn’t leave a lot of room for grief.” Hemasundar didn’t have time to check in



of college students have lost a friend or family member in the past year. -



with herself once the orientation was over. She stayed busy and didn’t get the time she needed to process what she was going through. Her grades began to worsen, and she struggled to stay afloat. Still, Hemasundar didn’t reach out to her professors. “It just felt like I’d be like, ‘My grandfather died,’ and they would be like, ‘A lot of people are dying right now because of COVID.’ I didn’t feel comfortable bringing it up, and so I just tried to struggle my way through it,” she says. For students who do decide to reach out, the results are mixed. Weinberg fourth-year Kiana Staples lost her dad during Spring Break in 2020. She had feared she would be in Evanston when he died and not have a chance to say goodbye, so she was thankful to be home in Pennsylvania when it happened. Being home with her mother, brother and boyfriend gave Staples a close support system as she grieved her father. Still, she wasn’t in an emotional state where she could fully engage in her academics. During this time, Staples found her professors very accommodating. “They did not ask me for any proof. They did not make any suggestion [that] possibly it was not true or anything,” Staples says. “They just heard me say that my father had passed away, and everybody very immediately showed me a lot of compassion.” Staples’ professors extended deadlines, allowed her to turn her camera off during classes and set up alternate ways to participate. Even the following Fall Quarter, they worked to accommodate her needs. “They were all completely concerned about my wellbeing all the time,” she says. However, some professors are less understanding. Weinberg second-year Aaron Klobnak’s grandpa died in the middle of Winter Quarter last year. He was at his home in central Illinois that weekend, but he still chose to return to campus the same day he received the

news. Toward the end of the week, he reached out to his professors to explain the situation. One of his professors was “very sweet” and understanding, he says. While the chemistry department required Klobnak to send his grandpa’s obituary for proof, he says his professor acknowledged “how awful that is” and apologized for the request. “We had a few emails going back and forth about it, which I really respected,” Klobnak says. However, in another chemistry class, despite Klobnak’s note and submission of proof of his grandpa’s death, he was given zeros on two assignments he missed. “I was literally at my grandpa’s funeral when they emailed me saying, ‘We don’t allow extensions for any reason,’” he says. The professor also didn’t let Klobnak make up an exam he missed while traveling to his grandpa’s funeral. “They literally acted like it was business as usual,” he says. “I really just needed them to understand what was actually going through my head, like it was crazy.” As time passed, Klobnak felt what academic support he did have — mostly offers of help on homework from friends — taper off. But he was still struggling. “People stop helping you, and then it starts to even it feels even worse because you start beating yourself up for not being able to do it yourself,” he says. Klobnak stopped turning in his chemistry assignments and pushed his schoolwork to the side for the rest of the quarter, narrowly passing his classes with the work he had previously done. “I just said, ‘This quarter is going in the garbage,’” Klobnak says. “’We’ll restart next quarter.’” Kaitlin Roberts-Cisneroz, a licensed social worker in Texas, wrote her master’s thesis about college students experiencing grief after losing a friend during her undergraduate studies. While her school held a vigil and



offered counseling to students, she says they didn’t offer guidance on “how a college student grieves on top of 18 hours of studying.” In the wake of her friend’s death, Roberts-Cisneroz experienced difficulties trying to complete her coursework. “I very vividly remember going to class right after it happened and feeling like, ‘I can’t even think straight. How am I supposed to take this final when I don’t even know how to spell my name right now?’” she says. Because being open with professors about struggles isn’t always easy or possible, Roberts-Cisneroz believes there need to be policies in place that address the loss of a loved one, such as an allotted amount of time for students to pause their academic work to grieve. Roberts-Cisneroz says it’s important that universities offer support as students grieve and have an open conversation about what assistance students need. “Death is inevitable, so we have to learn to support one another and how to learn more about grief,” she says.

Ever since, I’ve been trying to figure out why I didn’t say anything to the people I was close to. Part of it may have been the effort of trying to explain the context of my grief to someone who didn’t know my family. Weinberg alumnus (‘21) Colin Tichvon’s dad died during his fourth year at Northwestern. Tichvon didn’t see his dad often, so once the practical parts of funeral planning were done, the most defining characteristic of his grief was a lingering emptiness. “I think it hit me the hardest when graduation came around, and he wasn’t there for it,” Tichvon says. “That was when it really set in that there was a difference in my life that I could now visibly see and emotionally

“I was literally at my grandpa’s funeral when they emailed me saying, ‘We don’t allow extensions for any reason.’”


hen I left for St. Louis last May after my grandma’s death, I didn’t tell anyone at Northwestern. It was early afternoon, and most people were in class, so the lounges and halls were empty as I walked out of East Fairchild. While I was in Missouri, I texted with friends, but my messages didn’t indicate where I was or that I was gone at all. I came back two days later and kept going with the quarter. I told one friend what had happened. Otherwise, I continued like nothing had occurred. A few weeks later, while having lunch with a close friend, we discovered that we had both lost our grandmas within the same week, but hadn’t mentioned it.



- Aaron Klobnak, Weinberg second-year experience, because that was something that I wanted him to be there for.” Tichvon says one obstacle to discussing how he felt after his dad’s death with anyone other than his closest friends was the background information he had to offer first. “That was another barrier, I think, to opening up about it, just because it’s, ‘Okay, here’s how I’m feeling, and here’s the 12 years of context that you need to understand how I’m feeling,’” he says. The feeling of not being understood, combined with living independently from family, can also lead to a sense of isolation for grieving students. “I felt very lonely,” Klobnak says. “I felt like it was because no one understood except for my family, and they were back home. So it was literally just me deciding for myself, ‘What am I going to do?’” Swedberg also felt a detachment from others at Northwestern. While he was able to grieve as part of a community in Grand Rapids, when he returned to campus, Swedberg was alone again. “It was very weird to be here and feel like, ‘How are all your lives still moving?’” he says. Students can feel alone in coping with grief on campus when there is little discussion about how common it is. Bienen second-year Fiona Shonik used to FaceTime

with her grandma every day. But as her grandma’s health declined in the fall, their calls became shorter and less frequent. The slow transition has helped Shonik cope with her loss in some ways, but she is still working on processing what she wants to remember about her grandma. Shonik has talked about her grief occasionally with close friends, and during her time at Northwestern, she says she has heard of friends and classmates experiencing loss. Still, she says few were very open about it. “People kind of just left, and they came back and didn’t talk much about it,” she says. “Maybe it’s about taboo, [but] I don’t think it should be at all. I think people should talk more openly about it just because it’s something that everybody goes through, and maybe we should be taught to talk about grief.” Northwestern does offer some resources for grieving students. When asked for comment about these resources, Jon Yates, Northwestern’s Assistant Vice President of Communications wrote in an email to NBN that Religious and Spiritual Life and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) will coordinate to offer immediate care and grief support. Additionally, he wrote that CAPS offers grief support groups “when there is sufficient demand for these services. These groups are designed to support students with ongoing grief and are not well suited for the needs of individuals in the immediate aftermath of a loss.” According to Yates, CAPS is not currently running these groups due to “lack of demand,” and students who are interested in participating in such a group are encouraged to contact CAPS. “CAPS helps many individuals with grief-related concerns each year, only a small subset of which participate in grief support groups,” Yates wrote via email. “Students who do not want to participate in a grief support group are given other options to address their concerns such as individual therapy or community referral.”

However, students may be hesitant to reach out to ask for support. Klobnak had reached out to CAPS previously and hadn’t ever heard back. He thought contacting CAPS for help with his grief would be “a waste of my time.” CAPS did not respond to requests for comment for this story. Instead of using resources offered by the University, students often rely on friends. Roberts-Cisneroz says the tendency for students who are grieving to seek support in other students led her to establish a peer-led support group at the college where she was completing her masters degree. “When we invited these students into the room, they were willing to open up to people that one, were their age; two, were going through the exact same life stresses and three, knew what they were going through and had something in common with them,” she says. The group was an opportunity for students to talk about their grief and feel a sense of belonging, RobertsCisneroz says. It also gave them a space to advise and support each other as they faced situations like needing to reach out to professors for accommodations. Roberts-Cisneroz says her research into the effects of grief on college students and the resources they need has shown her the importance of the role of university administrations. “The main thing that I get from [my research] is not being scared to talk as university leadership,” RobertsCisneroz says. “Death is inevitable, so having an open conversation with our students and saying, ‘What can we do for you?’” At Northwestern, Hemasunder and Swedberg say they don’t see a dialogue happening between administration and students about what they need, which presents obstacles for a healthy grieving process. “I don’t think Northwestern facilitates campuswide conversations about [grief],” Swedberg says. “And I think on a pretty basic level, that makes it harder to grieve here.” The lack of student demands for better University resources leads Hemasundar to worry that there are broader underlying issues for the student population. “The fact that you don’t really hear people being like, ‘Oh yeah, I wish the University provided more support,’ makes me feel like people are just trying to push themselves through it,” Hemasundar says.

“Death is inevitable, so we have to learn to support one another and how to learn more about grief.” - Kaitlin Roberts-Cisneroz, licensed social worker


emasundar had been journaling and meditating often during college, but those habits fell to the wayside as she grieved her



“All of a sudden, you’re right back at the grief and that’s very disorienting.” - Ben Swedberg, Weinberg third-year grandfather. Instead, she spent most of her time out of her apartment, attending any event she could to stay busy and distract herself. But that soon took a toll on her wellbeing and academics. Her grief and other circumstances led Hemsundar to complete the end of Fall Quarter virtually from her home in Texas, where she focused on processing. She made her therapy sessions more frequent, and began journaling on a regular basis again. Unable to see her extended family in India, Hemasundar coped by leaning on her mother. “I worked through a lot of it by just talking to my mom and hearing her stories about my grandfather and pinning down what exactly I want to remember about him,” she says. Shonik, also apart from her family in New York, has found solace in “mentally dedicating” her work as a trumpet performance major to her grandma. “She’s always been the number one cheerleader for me, so I think playing music helps a lot,” Shonik says. “It’s definitely been a good coping mechanism for me. I know there have been a few moments where I’ve started to get a bit emotional while I’m playing.” Dealing with the death of someone his own age left Swedberg grappling with anxiety and immense existential dread. He found himself unable to invest in school the same way he used to.



Now, Swedberg has largely made peace with his new priorities and plans to graduate early. He sees a therapist and believes he has become better at handling loss. Still, he wishes he had been more compassionate toward himself while he was first processing his grief. “Grief comes back, and you don’t expect it to because you feel like you’ve been traveling away from grief in a straight line,” he says. “And then all of a sudden, you’re right back at the grief and that’s very disorienting. I didn’t understand that at the time, and I would really be hard on myself.” Grief can pop out unexpectedly — sometimes long after you think you’re past it. In October, I received a package with Halloween decorations, something my family does for many holidays, and that my grandma, who always had an eye for crafts and design, regularly did. In the box, there was a card signed “Happy Halloween! Love, Grandma & Grandpa ‘N.’” I read it and began to cry. I’m still not over my grief — and I don’t think I ever completely will be. There’s no day marked as the end when you can shut that off, for me or anyone else I’ve talked to. Like Roberts-Cisneroz says, death is inevitable, and many of us will experience the loss of a loved one during college. Let’s talk about it.

The social tuition

Low-income students navigate Northwestern’s expensive social scene.



rowing up in Brazil, Weinberg second-year Maia Montemagni says a large portion of her mom’s salary went toward paying for her primary school education. International schools were too expensive for Montemagni’s family, but she received a scholarship to attend a top high school in her area. Now at Northwestern, Montemagni is among the 20.5% of the Class of 2024 that is eligible for the Pell Grant, a federal grant program for students from low-income families, according to the University’s 2020-21 Diversity Report. Weinberg second-year Agustin Bayer followed a similar path to Northwestern. Near the end of high school, he worked 30 hours per week on top of AP and honors classes to cover his living expenses. He says he wasn’t sure he would be able to afford college until his counselor introduced him to an opportunity for a full-ride scholarship through QuestBridge. In Fall 2021, Montemagni and Bayer co-founded the Personal Finance Student Association (PFSA). Through the group, they hope to build a community that helps fellow students increase their financial literacy in college and beyond. The quintessential college experience is traditionally centered around finding community, whether through common interests, shared meals or social outings. But at Northwestern, these activities often require money. Cost can pose a pivotal barrier in shaping low-income students’ social lives, even with strategic budgeting. FEATURES


A different kind of culture shock Considering an imaginary trip to Chicago, SESP second-year Emily Lester sets aside $35 for an event with an admission fee of $25. But then, she adds the additional costs of grabbing a coffee, eating dinner and getting dessert. Her fictitious $35 trip has turned into an $80 expense. “There have been times where I have to kind of act like I don’t want to go,” Lester says. “It seems like it’s almost a reflection of my personality and a reflection of what I want my social life to be, when really I am just trying to think about money.” Lester grew up in Lebanon, Missouri, a rural manufacturing town with an average household income of $39,911 as of 2019. She identifies as low-income but says that she is “middle-class passing.” In her hometown, Lester says most students enter the workforce after high school, and those who do pursue higher education typically go to state schools. However, after attending a camp with Northwestern’s Center for Talent Development in middle school, Northwestern became Lester’s dream school. Yet, even when her college aspirations became reality, she still faced barriers when forming connections with many of her peers. Lester says that many students bond over experiences like concerts and international vacations. At Northwestern, she notices people taking weekend trips with their parents or going into Chicago. While she would love to have these experiences, she says they wouldn’t be financially feasible considering her typical budget. “I had to almost brand myself as the girl who was low-income from Missouri so that they’d understand why I wasn’t showing that side of myself,” Lester says. Communication first-year Kiara Hill says the Northwestern community sharply contrasts with her hometown of Jackson, Mississippi. Growing up, she says she always knew everyone around her and kept the same group of longtime friends. “I came from an area where I’m surrounded by Black people that look like me,” Hill says. “So here it was a culture shock just seeing everyone different and not having that close, tight-knit community that I was used to.” Hill identifies as low-income, and in her hometown, she and her friends spent their time coming up with cost-free activities or going to one of the few nearby museums, she says. At Northwestern, Hill formed friendships with peers diverse in both identity and socioeconomic status. Unlike her high school friends, Hill says her college friends often ask her to go out multiple times a week, which she can’t always do. “I find it difficult because I don’t like telling people no,” Hill says. “I want to hang out, and I want to make friends and things like that, but I also know myself — I just don’t have the type of budget to be able to do that.” While declining invitations can lead to guilt, Hill says that her number one priority is recognizing that saying no is OK and not something to feel bad about. “I had to almost “If you find some good people, they’ll understand,” Hill says. “[We’ll do] simple things like going to a park. Or I’ll even go out shopping with them, brand myself but maybe I won’t get anything. I’m just there for the experience and for as the girl who the camaraderie.”

Balanced budget

was low-income from Missouri.”

- Emily Lester, When Montemagni started her first quarter at Northwestern, she didn’t have any experience with American taxes. She needed to file tax SESP second-year returns for the full financial aid package she received from Northwestern but couldn’t access the necessary campus resources since her first year was virtual. She tried to contact Student Enrichment Services (SES) but was told that they didn’t offer tax help. She says this struggle motivated her to create the Personal Finance Student Association (PFSA). “It was really complicated and really difficult,” Montemagni says. “So I felt like there was a need for a community of people who are in the same boat and interested in



managing [their] finances in a responsible way.” However, taxes are not the club's sole focus. PFSA also covers topics like budgeting, long-term planning, setting funds aside for personal expenses and managing social activities. McCormick third-year Matt Schilling says he hasn’t heard of PFSA but would be interested in joining, especially considering the club’s guidance on filing taxes. Like Montemagni, Schilling is on a full scholarship. Because his scholarship exceeds his tuition, he receives tuition refund checks from Northwestern, which are directly deposited into his bank account. “I can still remember the first two quarters of freshman year after the dorm and food or meal plan, you get eight to nine hundred bucks,” Schilling says. “And that has to cover textbooks, and at the time, I was also paying for my cell phone plan.” After the pandemic prompted him to move to an off-campus apartment in the spring of his first year, Schilling’s tuition refund increased to $6,300 a quarter and then to $6,500. His checks go toward rent, groceries and general living expenses. He usually makes a spreadsheet with columns for the three months of each quarter with rent, utilities and subscriptions as expenditure categories. From there, Schilling looks at his refund and his balance, using spreadsheet functions to calculate his remaining spending money. Still, he says there are limitations to his budgeting system. He recounts a time near the end of Fall Quarter his first year when one of his friends was organizing a team for the White Space Product Development Challenge, a crossuniversity problem-solving competition. To prepare for the challenge and to get to know each other better, the team went to Table to Stix, a ramen restaurant in downtown Evanston. Schilling says that he wanted to go, but his budget was squeezed so tightly that he wasn’t able to afford the meal. “I just kind of went along with it, but when we got there, I didn’t order anything,” Schilling says. “It felt kind of awkward, but at the same time, what else was I supposed to do?”

Widened disparity During the pandemic, Professor James N. Druckman recalls seeing people gather on porches to socialize outdoors, using large space heaters for warmth in the sub-30 degree weather. “They have the space, and they have the resources to do that,” Druckman says. “It’s an example of something that’s not available to people without resources, because [a space heater] is a pretty luxury item.” Druckman notes that lack of access to safer social opportunities likely creates anxiety for low-income students. Druckman is the Payson S. Wild Professor of Political Science, a Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern and a coprincipal investigator for the COVID States Project, a multiuniversity research group launched in March 2020 that analyzes the links between social behavior and the coronavirus. Part of his research focuses on how the pandemic has isolated lowincome individuals, and he speculates that this effect may be especially prominent at Northwestern, given its socioeconomic divisions. “It’s fairly well-researched and documented that people from lower income brackets who go to elite schools [with] people from high income brackets face a lot of what’s called ‘striving to fit in,’” Druckman says. “That leads to mental health challenges, because it’s a big cognitive load to try to adapt culturally and lifestyle-wise to being surrounded by people from a very different socioeconomic [stratum].” For students like Montemagni, who spent her first year at Northwestern behind a FEATURES


“We shouldn’t let the fact that we come from a less affluent background keep us down or make us feel that we don’t belong here at Northwestern.” - Agustin Bayer, Weinberg second-year computer screen, Druckman speculates that social isolation is magnified. He says the pandemic only exacerbated pre-existing socioeconomic inequalities. Bayer believes that, regardless of these challenges, low-income students shouldn’t be defined by their socioeconomic status. “We shouldn’t let the fact that we come from a less affluent background keep us down or make us feel that we don’t belong here at Northwestern,” Bayer says. “Sure, there are going to be some differences in difficulties, but what we want to do is help people overcome those in the best way that we can.”

The search for aid During Schilling’s first year, a constrained budget forced him to pick between competing with the Northwestern Track Club and visiting family. Then, he found out about the Student Activity Assistance Fund (SAAF). “It looked like I was only going to get to do one of those things because with flight prices, it’s just not feasible,” says Schilling. “But then I realized if I did SAAF, I could do both. I put the flight to Nationals on SAAF and basically reused the money to go to see my grandma.” SAAF, formerly known as the Student Activities Scholarship Fund, was established in 2012 to remove financial barriers for students who want to participate in campus clubs and organizations. The fund is completely supported through private donors and allots students up to $600 each academic year for dues, travel fees or other expenses. Schilling has also used SAAF to purchase running shoes for track practices. Joe Lattal, the associate director of Student Organizations & Activities, is responsible for managing SAAF’s budget. He stresses the importance of maximizing the fund’s usage so it can support as many students as possible. “At the end of the year, we use every single penny of it,” Lattal says. “When our colleagues in the Development Office approach donors about this opportunity, they can show that this is something that is being utilized, and it’s being utilized well.” Joe Lattal, the associate director of Student Organizations & Activities, emphasizes the importance of spreading awareness about SAAF and its extensive effort to remove obstacles for students trying to get involved in enriching experiences outside of academic life. “We want co-captains [and] exec boards to include mention of SAAF anytime they bring up personal expenses,” Lattal says. “We want to support as many students getting involved in these activities as possible. The students and advisors that relay this message for us throughout the year have been real allies in that effort.” In addition to SAAF, Student Enrichment Services (SES) is another Northwestern resource that aids low-income students. Through the SES One Form, students can apply



for funding for necessities like winter gear, textbooks and groceries. SES provided Hill with money to purchase a winter coat. For Lester, it meant she could afford a laptop loan. However, Bayer says that it is sometimes unclear what expenses these services cover. Furthermore, he says SES staff turnover has made it difficult to build connections with workers — many of the staff that he had developed relationships with left before the start of the current academic year. Daviree Laurel Velazquez Phillip, the executive director of Campus - Maia Montemagni, Inclusion and Community, says that out of their five full-time staff Weinberg second-year members, two departed during the 2021-22 school year, and one has become part-time. Phillips says that she is in the process of hiring new staff. Currently, the staff includes two graduate assistants and a member of AmeriCorp Vista, a government nonprofit employment program.

“I think that sometimes when you come from a place of privilege, you can sort of be stuck in your bubble.”

Efforts toward understanding In her spare time, Hill likes to attend free jiu jitsu classes in the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion. When the weather is right, she and her friends meet outside and play in the snow. Afterwards, they’ll go to Norbucks to grab hot chocolates and hang out. Some nights, they’ll congregate in one of their rooms and watch a movie. “You find different things to do, whether that’s just walking around exploring new buildings or meeting up together like in the CRC lounge and playing pool or ping pong,” Hill says. “It’s pretty fun.” One of Schilling's favorite activities is visiting museums, though he only goes when there is free admission. When he's not exploring museum exhibits, Schilling likes to do a little shopping, which he categorizes as a non-recurring expense. Hill and Schilling believe that money is not always a requisite for having fun or finding community. Still, Montemagni says that it may be difficult for wealthier Northwestern students to recognize when their friends are struggling with affordability. "I think that sometimes when you come from a place of privilege, you can sort of be stuck in your bubble," Montemagni says. "And even though you understand poverty, you know what it is, it can he hard to identify it and hard to have empathy with it. I don't think a lot of the privileged students at Northwestern really understand what it's like to just not be able to afford the social activities that they pursue." Bayer hopes that PFSA will help students to better empathize with their peers. He emphasizes that the group is not exclusive to lower income students — it’s a community where all students can gather and learn from each other. By having conversations about finances and backgrounds, students can break down barriers that hinder mutual understanding. “Even affluent kids are going to have to learn how to manage their own finances. That’s something everybody has to do,” Bayer says. “I think that as [students] learn and rub shoulders with other people who might have been their classmates already but they just didn’t notice were in different circumstances, we will have a more understanding student body.”



Meet Northwestern royalty Three student performers share their drag journeys.





he summer before his senior year of high school, Medill third-year Jude Cramer attempted drag for the first time, using makeup that he’d stolen from his mom. Cramer’s interest in the art form increased from there — but only in secret. To complete his looks, he started stashing away wigs from his high school’s costume shop and poaching dresses from his sister’s closet. In the privacy of his childhood bedroom, Cramer’s drag persona began to take shape. After almost two years of practicing his craft, Cramer finally gathered the courage to start an Instagram account for his drag persona: Karma ‘ZaBitch. Since then, ‘ZaBitch says she has become somewhat of a microcelebrity as one of Northwestern’s drag performers. Drag is an art form that typically involves the use of makeup and clothing to embody a heightened version of femininity or masculinity. However, the performance of drag doesn’t have a singular definition, and it can be interpreted differently depending on the artist. During Fall Quarter of his first year, Communication fourth-year Gus Moody saw an open call for a drag show. The event was a fundraiser hosted by The Dolphin Show, a nonprofit theatre organization on campus. It was accepting performers of any experience level, so Moody, who had never done drag before, signed up. He spent two months contemplating what to do for his debut appearance before deciding to lip sync to Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl.” In drag, Moody is Filet Mignon. He says Mignon's performances are “an outward expression of the craziest, most elaborate dirty jokes that anyone could ever think of.” Unlike Moody, Communication third-year Xanthe Brown started doing drag with no intention of performing it. “I did drag on my own through high school, just in my room doing makeup looks,” Brown says. “I never really thought I would share it. But then my dad got COVID, and I had to quarantine at home for two weeks last winter. One night, I was like, ‘Fuck it, I’ve always wanted to do this. I don’t know if my family’s gonna die; I don’t know if I’m gonna die. I might as well start.’” Brown’s drag persona, Even Steven, sources most of his wardrobe from Brown’s parents’ '80s rock cover band “The Brat Pack.” “Occasionally, if I need inspiration, I'll go into the garage and just start opening boxes and be like, ‘Mom, do you need this next weekend?’ And she'll be like, ‘No, you can take it,’” Brown says. “That’s where 50% of my wardrobe comes from. My assless chaps are from there.” Even Steven, Filet Mignon and Karma ‘ZaBitch have performed together several times in the past — most notably this fall at A&O Productions’ drag show speaker

event, which also featured RuPaul’s Drag Race alumnae Alyssa Edwards and Shea Couleé. The three Northwestern performers have been referred to by peers as “the unholy trinity,” Brown says.

FRESH-FACED NBN joined Cramer, Moody and Brown at a pre-photoshoot makeup session to discuss their experiences as drag performers. The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. NBN: How did you choose your drag name? Jude Cramer: I've actually kept a note on my phone since high school of any time that someone says something and I think, “That’s a drag name!” That has hundreds of names on it. Gus Moody: There was never anything else but Filet. I don’t know where Filet Mignon came from honestly. But I thought of that in high

Mignon, Steve and 'ZaBitch strike a pose.



Xanthe Brown | Even Steven Instagram: @even_steven_drag

school and decided it would be my name in college when I started doing drag. I think it suits my drag perfectly. Xanthe Brown: It was in the kind of frantic liberation [after my dad got COVID] that I chose my name. I didn’t really think about it that hard. The name was always a barrier to me, too, where I was like, “I have to find the perfect name.” I think I just chose Even Steven because it wasn’t that complicated, because I feel like I’m not that complicated. Steven’s kind of this even guy. He’s normal, he’s fair. NBN: Why did you decide to try drag? What was it like when you were first getting started? Cramer: I got into RuPaul’s Drag Race in high school. I was watching it, and I was like,



“Damn, all the challenges — I could totally do that if I was wearing the makeup and the wig.” That kind of led to the discovery that the skills that it takes to be a drag queen are all things that are right in my wheelhouse, and it's an art form that speaks to me way more than any other. It’s like storytelling — dancing, sometimes singing, sometimes acting, sometimes comedy. I feel like storytelling is the most important part of being a drag queen. Moody: When I started drag, I was trying to emulate womanhood, and I was really bad at it. I just hadn't realized what Filet was yet. It took me until sophomore year when I was like, “Oh my god, I suck at looking like a woman. I should not try to do that and do what I'm good at instead, which is just looking

“Steven’s kind of this even guy. He’s normal, he’s fair.” - Xanthe Brown, Communication third-year

like a man with bad makeup and a wig, grinding on stage.” Brown: I also got into it through [RuPaul’s Drag Race], [but] there’s never been a king on Drag Race. I was just kind of into it because of the way it made me feel. As I got more into it, I discovered drag kings. It's really such a small world — once you follow one drag king and follow their mutuals, you’ve followed all of them. NBN: How would you describe your relationship with your drag persona? Cramer: I'm not that different in and out of drag. I honestly think I'm a little nicer in drag. I have a lot of fun with Karma when I act crazy. I think of her as the teenage girl version of Joe from You. Like, she will kill somebody. But that's more the performance character. The behind-the-scenes version of Karma

just wants to be friends with every single person that she sees. Moody: I think that’s a really good way to put it. [Filet] is just sort of an extended version of myself. Brown: I feel like my masculinity — Xanthe’s — has been so hidden because we’re back in person. And it was very, very much at the surface when we were online, because I just didn’t feel pressure to be any other way. But I feel like Steven is just allowing all of that to bubble up to the surface. I don't feel like Steven is me. Steven isn’t Xanthe. Steven is Steven, but we're really not that different. He's just a lot of the parts of myself that can't go anywhere else.

FULL BEAT Since starting their drag journeys, the members of “the unholy trinity” have

performed at a number of venues. A week before this Halloween, the three appeared together at “Meat Heist 3,” a drag show hosted by Filet Mignon and Betty Theft, a fellow drag queen and Northwestern alumna (Comm ‘21). In October 2021, ‘ZaBitch won fifth place in “Survivor,” a drag competition hosted by the popular gay bar Charlie’s Chicago. NBN: What’s your favorite memory from a performance? Even Steven: My favorite performance was definitely [at “Meat Heist 3”] to the song “still feel.” by Half Alive. It was that whole performance from start to finish. It was Halloween. I was in a great mood. I’d seen the music video for that song, and I was like, “This is gender envy!” The whole video, I loved it. The concept was that I was a zombie that was coming back to life. So I was like, “I can take this

Gus Moody | Filet Mignon Instagram: @filetmignon69



Jude Cramer | Karma 'ZaBitch Instagram: @karma.zabitch, Twitter: @karmazaqueen

song that I love and make it relevant for Halloween, which I love, and I can do spooky makeup, which is also a thing that I love — and I’ll spit blood everywhere.” I think I came off the stage and literally collapsed in the stairs just from pure exhaustion. And then I had to get back up and go out and get all the tips. I mean, that was amazing. I hope I can do something like that again. Filet Mignon: Mine was also at that show. I did my bolognese baby number, which is, like, the best thing I've ever done in my opinion. I performed to “E.T.” by Katy Perry, and then towards the end of the song I was impregnated by an alien. Then I gave birth to a baby, tore its head off and inside the baby, I had hidden a bag of bolognese sauce, which I proceeded to pour down my throat as if I was eating my baby. It was just, like, the pinnacle of Filet. It was so much fun. I had a blast. I've never had



an audience reaction like that. That is what drag is for me and will always be. It was one of the best nights of my life. Karma ‘ZaBitch: As far as my most affirming drag experience, it was definitely sometime during “Survivor”; either doing [a] lip sync for the win, or winning [a challenge]. I mean, obviously that's affirming because this is a competition judged by drag queens. NBN: When do you feel the sexiest in drag? Mignon: I think that my drag sex appeal comes from my male sex appeal. As I said, I don't try to look like a woman, so a lot of my drag reveals end up with me shirtless wearing body tape that spells out words. Filet loves a body tape moment. I do it for myself. It’s very selfcentered, self-absorbed. I just want to look hot on stage.

Steven: I think it's when I start sculpting my body. When I bind, it gives me this appearance of having a buff chest or having pecs, which is super fun for me. Even packing is really fun. I just think when it all comes together, and I have men's shoes on and a flat chest and all that stuff, I look at myself in the mirror and I feel really attractive. ‘ZaBitch: I first feel pretty when I put my lashes on, which also happens to be the last step of my makeup. I feel kind of crazy until they’re on, and then all of a sudden I can’t stop looking in the mirror. Sexiest is when I’m in full drag in an outfit that makes my body look right. When I am wearing something more revealing, like a bodysuit or a little romper, where I have hips and I’m cinched in, I feel like, “Bitch, I’m a bombshell!”

Brown says the three Northwestern performers have been referred to by peers as “the unholy trinity."




57 Bad and boozy 58 Wildcat warnings

61 Seducing your professor 101

60 Ven-mo money Ven-mo problems

63 First (and last) date spots





We’re drunk and (embarrassingly) in love with these drinks. WRITTEN BY WHITNEY PINK // DESIGNED BY MOLLY BURKE


ou’re 18, fresh out of high school with a brand-new fake ID. Strapped for cash but still looking to get hammered, your first stop is a liquor store with vodka so cheap it tastes like nail polish remover. But if you can’t stomach Skol, here’s a comprehensive list of the most delicious liquors you can find for the cheapest price — if you’re willing to pay with your dignity.

Svedka Strawberry Lemonade


This drink is the epitome of wanting to be intoxicated, but your toddler-like palate can only handle alcohol if it’s masked by the taste of a Capri Sun. But unlike a Capri Sun, this drink doesn’t deserve any respect. It will ruin any fun you were planning to have. Don’t fall for the cute packaging: This drink will take you straight back to your worst high school memories. Remember your junior prom afterparty when you blacked out for the first time and woke up with bangs? Svedka Strawberry Lemonade remembers. Utterly humiliating.





Mike’s Hard Lemonade

Drink this if you have a thing for your dentist and you’re ready to spend dozens of hours and thousands of dollars getting cavity fillings. It’s the kind of drink that bears so little resemblance to alcohol that your mom accidentally packs it in your elementary school lunchbox. The only thing that’s hard about this beverage is its hit to your reputation. During the blistering heat of midsummer, it can slide as a refreshing beach drink, but at any other time, Mike’s Hard is the definition of mortifying.

Deep Eddy Lemon Vodka

Deep Eddy’s place is at a luncheon where you “accidentally” get hammered and banned from your boss’ house. But who cares? It’s delicious. From deep in the heart of Texas, Deep Eddy travels straight into your bloodstream. This will hit you hard and fast, kind of like midterm season. But unlike midterm season, Deep Eddy provides a great escape from Northwestern’s 11 weeks of studying, crying, dropping your microeconomics class, crying and repeating. While it tastes amazing, there’s a reason it’s more elusive than your average shooter. This is definitely a drink that feels most at home at a suburban mom’s gardening club brunch. Somewhat humbling.





Truly Margaritas

While they don’t get any points for authenticity, Truly Margaritas at least have some tasteful carbonation. These aren’t delicious, but they taste just enough like La Croix to be palatable. This is what you get when Midwesterners try to emulate Mexican food and drink: the Taco Bell of beverages. No, it doesn’t capture the bliss of a delicious frozen marg on a beach, but it’s not bad if you’re trying to channel the tropics during frosty winter nights in Evanston. If you get as drunk as you did on your spring break in Mexico, they’re actually amazing. Northwestern is a beach school, and this is the drink to prove it. Just embarrassing. HANGOVER


Wildcat warnings Northwestern’s top 5 red flags. WRITTEN BY CARLY WITTEMAN // DESIGNED BY ESTHER TANG


orthwestern students looking for love often realize too late that they were ignorant of traits that should’ve sent them running for the hills. At Northwestern, there are a few instant deal-breakers (theatre major living in Bobb, wearing a Purple Pride shirt past Wildcat Welcome), but some questionable qualities evade even the most eagle-eyed students on the hunt for their perfect partner. Fear not, because NBN has compiled a list of the top five red flags for you to look out for!


The comedic improv narcissist

Zip, zap, zop! Let’s play an improv game: whose quick wit is actually lies in disguise? Got it! Improv enthusiasts! You may think their charisma is charming at first, but most people who think they’re funny are really just narcissists. Improvers will never say “I love you, too” — they’ll only say “Yes, and.” People who are good at improv are great at telling lies on the spot, like about where they were last Saturday night or whether they’ve been DMing that one girl from their RTVF class. Steer clear.

The student journalist who needs you to know they’re a student journalist


BREAKING NEWS: Student journalists’ only personality trait is being in Medill. They’ll constantly complain about being up writing until 2 a.m. while simultaneously bragging about how many hours they spend in the newsroom. When they realize they should ask you a question about yourself, they’ll ask if you’ve seen their latest headline yet. Also, how the hell do they have enough news to publish every day? What news do we even have? Call me when the Loch Ness Monster visits the Lakefill lagoon. Until then, please stop asking me for interviews when I’m just trying to get to class.



Dining hall horrors


There are many dining hall red flags to look out for. Athletes who take a glass of chocolate milk to-go. Being rude to the stir-fry man in Plex East. Talking about cryptocurrency while manhandling one of those little chocolate cakes. Toasting and buttering a slice of gluten-free bread every morning, but they’re not actually gluten-free (definitely the same sort of person who would improvise an elaborate lie about that girl from RTVF class). Using their hands to pick up food from the stations instead of the proper serving utensils — just imagine how dirty their sheets are. Enjoying the ketchup turkey meatloaf. No explanation necessary.


Post-first-year Deuce attendees

Freshman year of college is the uncool high schooler’s opportunity to reinvent their social life. This means avoiding an idle Friday night at all costs. In the communal bathrooms and Norbucks line, we’ve all heard legends about a magical place called the Deuce. With wide-eyed wonder, we flocked to the “local” bar. Little did we know that rather than a promised land, only a dimly lit establishment of questionable sanitation lies on the other side of the $30 Uber ride. Maybe once or twice your first year is acceptable, but if you meet anyone who frequents the Deuce after freshman year, stay away.

The “studying abroad totally changed me” person


We get it, we get it. France changed you, and you see things from an entirely different perspective. But you have to admit that it’s hard to take someone seriously when they refuse to go outside without wearing a beret and holding a baguette. They will complain that their grilled cheese is missing ham, no longer making it a “croque monsieur.” They will scoff at your pronunciation of “croissant” when you’re just trying to get breakfast at Dunkin’. They will only purchase Bonne Maman French Raspberry Preserves at Whole Foods, claiming “That’s how the French do it.” If they think the Euro they “forgot” to take out of their wallet will buy your love, avoid them at all costs.




The financial advice you really need.


ocial media analysts around the globe have been calling Venmo “2022’s Hottest Social Media Platform.” Where else can you exchange money with ease while showing the world how cool and witty you are? As any successful Venmo influencer knows, every Target trip or Tapas Barcelona dinner is an opportunity for top-tier comedy. With caption creativity comes fame, fortune and the adoration of your avid financial followers. If you want to step it up from basic and overused captions — or worst of all, the descriptive emoji — this cheat sheet is for you. You’re paying your roommate for the rent, but they don’t do the dishes, so you’re trying to send some subliminal messages. 30s 🍽 Paying for rent. Including utilities. Including our dishwasher. 🍝 At this point, whatever’s growing in your two-week-old pasta bowl on the counter should be paying rent, too. 🧽 What if every time I paid rent, we washed one dish?


You’re paying a friend back for a dinner that you don’t remember because you blacked out on a bottle of wine. 4d 🍷 I’m sorry you had to see my ravioli twice. 🍻 Are you missing a glass eye? I woke up with an extra one. 🍾 Sorry we got banned from your favorite Italian place. Olive Garden next week?


Your roommate walked in on you and your sneaky link, so you’re trying to repair the friendship with some petty cash. Feb 14 🍑 Really sorry you saw my bare ass. I hope this won’t affect our relationship. 🛏 I promise I’ll wash your sheets tomorrow! 👪 I know we didn’t address three-ways in our roommate agreement, but my partner and I really like your vibe. 🍆 Did my nipples look weird? Be honest.


You gave your friend COVID, and you’re Venmoing him for his DoorDash order. Jan 06 🍗 Evanston’s hottest new club is 1835 Hinman. They have everything: dry chicken, free masks and a case manager named Lisa who won’t return my fucking calls just because I told her I had a dingle and asked if she wanted to come over and make the most of it. 🍲 Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down all of your trash bags tied together so your Dasher can deliver your soup. 🏥 Dinner (and 5 free nights in 1835 Hinman) on me! 😷 *Coughing* up the cash for your dinner!


Paying an NUDM member to leave you alone. Jan 01 💃 There’s no way I’m gonna start training now for a DANCE MARATHON. 🔥 The pitchforks and torches were unnecessary — you could’ve just asked nicely if you wanted me to donate to your Instagram story bingo that badly. 🔫 Here’s the cash. I swear it’s all here. You don’t have to point that thing at me, I already have 10 flyers. Hey, take it easy! Just leave my family out of this, OK? They don’t even go here!





Pay or Request









Se D U Y








In G

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PfiThffflffi— ffl x ffh s s . WRITTEN BY ASHER MARTIN-ROSENTHAL



TfiTh Offflffi—fflTh Every Northwestern class is an opportunity — not only to find passion for the subject you're learning but also for the person teaching it. Every student has felt it: a soft salt-and-pepper-streaked beard here, skin-tight pantyhose melting into creased brown loafers there. Your heart racing as your favorite PILF™ scans the lecture hall, eyeing you with an irresistible gaze to ask about a reading you didn’t do. Luckily for the lonesome student, NBN has prepared a one-of-a-kind, foolproof guide to seal the deal with your hot professor.

SfiThff 1: fleffi t—Thffl afi fi o

SfiThff 2: Iflffi—ffl e c —

Your first job is to plant the seed. On the first day of class, be sure to wear your most ostentatious outfit under a massive coat and make a huge scene when you take it off. This is your opportunity to show some skin and stand out among the other boring students. When you turn in a quiz, allow your fingers to gently sweep the back of their hand. Compliment them on their Canvas profile picture or make subtle references to their published works. Intentionally answer one question incorrectly per class to establish that you are young, inexperienced and in need of an education. When class ends, you should still be on their mind.

To take it to the next level, you need to get this crush out of the lecture hall and into the DMs. With professors, take this leap via email. After class, send them a quick message with sexy yet subtle hints. Don't be too bold, but make sure to use plenty of the following buzzwords: “I loved being in class today,” “The reading really stimulated my interests” or “Class today was arousing.” You need to establish a more casual relationship with them as early as possible, so make sure you send this from your personal email. Trust me, “u.northwestern.edu” is the quickest path to rejection.

SfiThff 3: Fflffi—ffl By this point, you certainly have them craving more, and as Luke Figora says, you need to to shift your strategy “with the aim of starting in-person activity.” Office hours are the obvious answer but not the most effective. Every hot ‘n bothered student shows up scantily clad to their favorite professor’s office hours; they're expecting it, and they're sick of it. Take them somewhere special, dim-lit and sultry — a place where no professor has ever ventured: Elder Dining Commons. If they offer to pay, brush it off. You have to be chivalrous (and what are the chances they know about your unlimited swipes?). As you converse over dry chicken, pineapple and disappointment, keep the conversation in line with the following syllabus. This is where professors are most comfortable, and you want them to feel at home. HANGOVER


SfiThffflffi—s • Talk about where you’re from and your interests, and ask them about theirs: “So, have you signed up for NUDM yet?” • Complain about the quality of the food: “We should totally get tapas next time.”

Midterm #1: Footsie under the table • Talk about their class and why you enjoy it: “I love how you cold-call the kids in the back!”


Did your Marriage Pact love story go awry? Were you matched with your best friend’s ex? The guy in your dorm that walks barefoot in the hallway? Yikes! If all seems lost, look no further than Wildcat Divorce Attorneys, LLC, located in the steam tunnels under Main Library. Our firm is prepared to facilitate a definitive split for any relationship — from Marriage Pact pitfalls to festering freshman year friendships. With our expert separation services, you can navigate important conversations such as:

• Compliment them on their outfit: “Tweed is SO in.”

Who gets the two front row tickets you bought for Dillo Day? (It’s free — where did you even get those?)

• Discuss the future: “Any chance there will be a curve?”

Who gets rights to your sexy couples costume idea next Halloween? (Pitney Bowes and her package)

Who gets custody of your campus goose? (He’s a rescue)

FINAL EXAM (6:0fiThff - 8:0fiThff, flffic— Affl ): Slip a sexy Polaroid onto their podium.

SfiThff 4: Eflffi—ffl Th You did it! You sealed the deal. You tamed the silver fox. Plus, after a few weeks your relationship will be tenured, and they’ll be stuck with you. At the end of the day it's a win-win: You get a whimsical, romantic quarter, and at the very least, they get a really, really good CTEC.

Fees payable with dining dollars, coupons for white light therapy at SPAC or the “Trust Yourself ” T-shirts they gave out at that one football game. Qualifications: Dad is a lawyer; I’m a candidate for the Business Institutions and Practices certificate. “Excellent service — my Marriage Pact match won’t even look me in the eye anymore!” - Allison Hall, WCAS '24 “Five stars! My clingy freshman year roommate finally stopped “coincidentally” meeting me in the dining hall!” - Your freshman year roommate “The campus divorce attorneys made my Marriage Pact split quick and seamless — now I can finally make a move on his hotter roommate!” - You Email us or yell your grievances into the sewer grates to join our Listserv! There’s no unsubscribe button!





First (and last) date spots Not the date we wanted, but the date we deserve. WRITTEN BY RAYNA SONG // DESIGNED BY ESTHER TANG Your hot Russian literature classmate just sent you a DM asking if you want to discuss the erotic undertones in War and Peace sometime. You’re already imagining your first date: a candlelit dinner at Chicken Shack. But let’s face it — ­ you’re probably more likely to hit up Tech Express together between finals. Romance is hard to come by on campus, and a good first date spot is just as elusive. So instead of daydreaming about your perfect Evanston love story, take the quiz below to find out where you might end up on your worst first date. How did you meet your date?

Tinder Swipe Surge

They fell asleep on my shoulder in Tech LR2

D&D’s (We both reached for the last sour grape FourLoko)

It’s Friday night. You’ve just been grilled by four midterms. What do you order at the bar?

What’s your favorite class at Northwestern?

What’s your favorite sneaky link spot on campus?

Marriage 101 (My marriage pact didn’t work out)

The bowling-themed part of Norris (No way you’ll “strike” out)

The map room in Main Library (Let’s talk longitude, baby) What’s your go-to date flick? Most dining halls are closed, and you’re absolutely Ratatouille ravenous. How are you Pulp Fiction (Classy, sexy, taming your hunger? (OK film buff ) mouth-watering) Make the cold walk to Fran’s

Demolish a Caspian at MOD

A tall glass of orange juice

MUSIC 126 Aural Skills (I’m learning how to use my mouth) Where are you showing off your athleticism? Love Island (Can I pull you for a chat?)

A “purple line” (Long Island iced tea with a shot of pomegranate syrup)

You just got invited to a rager and need a quick pregame location. Where do you text the homies to meet up?

Bedroom (I can hold a plank for 60 seconds ;))

Segal Rooftop

My a capella show (I’m not athletic) The Sheil Catholic Center

Mudd Library

Abandoned Burger King It feels extra dark outside the shell of the former Burger King. You wait on the sidewalk embedded with fossilized ketchup packets and hope the rat you saw is a culinary genius. You can feel the ghost of the Impossible Whopper mocking your pick-up lines.

You prioritize school, but you’re not alone — so does your date. Your attempts at conversation trigger angry stares from other students. Your mind drifts to the problem set you’re working on, killing any sexual tension you managed to build. To make matters worse, you bump into your group project members that you blew off for this date.

Shakespeare Garden

Jacobs Center

You attempt a midnight meetup among the shrubbery, envisioning a romantic 1600s British literature vibe. Unfortunately, the only reminder of classic literature is that rusty bust of Shakespeare cringing at your poorly crafted love poems. The Dead Poets Society, who convene there at midnight, walk in on you trying to make a move.

There’s a new email from Luke Figora: another mandatory test next week? You use the University-mandated excursion as an opportunity to meet up with your date. Staring into each other’s eyes while you do 15 big circles in each nostril is just as intimate as you expected, but not in a good way.



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