One of the ways that ASG directly impacts students is by advising and funding student groups. Student groups often define a student’s experience at Northwestern. Therefore, it is ASG’s role to ensure that experience is the best it can be. From programming to collaboration, there are many aspects of student groups that ASG can help improve.
Anyone who has experienced the beast that is the Student Organization Finance Office knows that it is not the ideal system. Certainly, student groups must be held to the highest standard of accountability so that students’ activity fees don’t go to waste; however, there is definitely room for improvement without sacrificing accountability.
From balancing ledgers to submitting reimbursements, a lot of these financial processes could be automated and digitized. Ideally, a long-term solution would involve a fully electronic system on the students’ end, saving time and effort for everyone. ASG must work with Norris to make SOFO more efficient and convenient for student groups to use.
Student Group Storage
Many student groups have a need for storage but there isn’t an effective solution in place for them. Costs for storage are cutting into valuable funding that could be used for programming and other useful expenses, ultimately hurting the student experience. Student groups with large space needs such as theater groups are put at a large disadvantage, having to find public storage far away that is both expensive and inconvenient. ASG must pursue low-cost storage solutions for student groups to enhance group functionality and avoid unnecessary costs.
ASG has always encouraged collaboration between groups vocally but does not provide support for it. ASG’s Student Activities Finance Committee guidelines deter groups from coming together because future funding is at risk. Instead of creating a culture of uncertainty, ASG must work toward providing transparency and changing measures to ensure that groups are comfortable working together and are incentivized to do so.
Student Group Recognition and Advising
ASG and Norris’s Center for Student Involvement recognize more than three hundred student groups on campus. Despite the large number of organizations, the process for starting a student group is still quite difficult and unclear.
Bureaucracy and red tape should not hinder students if they have great ideas and passions. ASG must work to make it easy and convenient for groups to be formed. Many student organizations do not require funding. Rather, they seek support and guidance to make sure that they are sustainable. Pooling together best practices and institutional knowledge from the top groups on campus would go a long way toward improving the student group ecosystem at Northwestern.
For more initiatives that are directly relevant to student groups, please take a look at our Student Engagement section.