As the representative body for the entire campus, ASG must help to foster and maintain a culture of openness and inclusion. While the Coalition of Colors, Rainbow Alliance, and other student organizations have done great things to promote diversity, much more can be done. ASG has a large role and responsibility in promoting the candid conversations that build a sense of community and discourage insensitivity to any and all backgrounds. There is much room for improvement in this area and it is time for ASG to acknowledge the problems at hand and push forward in unison with other groups on campus.
Improved Communication and Multimedia
With the joint efforts of ASG and Coalition of Colors, a new committee was recently established to coordinate efforts that improve diversity and inclusion on campus. Through this committee and its leadership, ASG must help guide the conversation and lobby the administration. A few tangible and high impact proposals such as a diversity report and increased multicultural resources have been put forth and coordination is vital in accomplishing these goals.
From a communication standpoint, the committee must open up lines of communication to incorporate student voices and work effectively with administration. Northwestern should create a diversity report and better publicize the resources available for incidents of discrimination. Such initiatives would provide more transparency and identify areas for improvement.
From a multimedia standpoint, social platforms including the Global Engagement Summit’s OpenShutter Project and the Asian NU Project aim to tell powerful stories that people can empathize with and showcase Northwestern’s rich culture. These platforms can have a significant impact on students and ASG must encourage and facilitate their development.
Expanded Multicultural and LGBT Resources
There is a high level of unmet need for multicultural and LGBT resources. Multicultural Student Affairs, the primary resource for multicultural groups and under-represented minorities as well as LGBT groups, is severely understaffed and underfunded. ASG must do more to promote awareness of these tools and push the administration to increase MSA’s faculty and budget so that they can effectively serve the large proportion of Northwestern’s student body that could benefit.
Gender Neutral Housing and Bathrooms
Accommodations for the LGBT community have been severely lacking at Northwestern. Increasing options for gender neutral housing, especially for freshmen, would go a long way towards making Northwestern a more accepting place at no cost.
For academic buildings, an area that needs improvement is gender neutral bathrooms. Students who may otherwise feel uncomfortable are forced to subject themselves to potential harassment and discrimination. As Northwestern looks to renovate and expand, they must put gender neutral bathrooms on their agenda. ASG must work closely with the LGBT community and allies to ensure that the administration works to resolve this issue.