Category Archives: Purple Pride

Students Feed the Hungry with ‘Points for a Purpose’

Points for a Purpose

Throughout Reading Week and Finals Week, students can donate their leftover meal plan points to help feed the hungry through “Points for a Purpose.” The student group uses point donations from students to raise money to provide food for the homeless and homebound in Evanston and the Chicago area. Read more about how Weinberg sophomore Dean Meisel and McCormick sophomore Bryan Berger started the organization and how to get involved.

Points for a PurposeMy friend Rachel had just finished her last final of freshman year and was heading home early for summer break. Rachel had gone through the quarter without resorting to her meal plan, so as she headed home, she was leaving behind not only a year of memories and friends, but also $400 worth of equivalency meals and meal points. Determined to not completely waste this money, she handed me her WildCARD and suddenly I had my ticket to a freezer full of Ben & Jerry’s. But after a few days of Norris sushi, Frontera Fresco and way too much ice cream, my consciousness started to overcome my stomach.

I approached Bryan Berger, who agreed that there must be a better way to deal with the excessive amount of unused – or misused—meal points at the end of each quarter. Together we thought of the idea to connect the inevitable waste of the Northwestern meal plan with the food insecurity of the Evanston area. What if students had the ability to donate their leftover meal points to people who could use it more effectively?

Our idea’s effectiveness lies in its simplicity. To help feed the hungry, all a student needs to do is ask the cashier at any C-Store to donate ‘X’ amount of points to Points for a Purpose.  The WildCARD is swiped, and the food is later assembled and delivered.  Bryan and I spent the summer dreaming of the possibilities.

Fast forwarding to fall quarter of this year, Bryan and I e-mailed the entire list of contacts on the nuCuisine website. We were pleasantly surprised by their receptiveness to the idea, and a couple meetings later, Points for a Purpose was born.

Our quarterly drives run during Reading Week and Finals Week, and since we did not officially begin until Reading Week during Fall quarter, we had low expectations as to the success of our first drive. However, our friends helped us spread the word and the campus responded with enthusiasm. Only 11 days after our kickoff, the Northwestern community came together, sacrificed their finals week Cheetos binges and donated $1,246 to our beneficiary—Campus Kitchens at Northwestern University.

While Campus Kitchens at Northwestern provides an amazing service to the community—taking leftover food from dining halls and preparing it for many of its deserving clients including Evanston individuals, the YWCA, the Salvation Army and Connections for the Homeless—they often lack the funds to package anything other than peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for their clients. With the help of the Northwestern community, they are now able to provide more balanced meals for homebound seniors, homeless people and other Evanstonians who depend on these services.

Since then, Bryan and I have been working passionately with Sodexo, Campus Kitchens and other groups on campus to attack food insecurity as effectively as we can. In addition, we have officially become a chapter of Swipes for the Homeless, a non-profit based in California with a similar mission. We added eight more students to our team and are looking for ways to not only expand our efforts at Northwestern, but to other campuses as well.

Points for a Purpose has not only contributed over $2,500—the equivalent of 1,000 meals—to fighting food insecurity in the Chicagoland area, but it has united the Northwestern campus and made many students aware of the harsh realities that our neighbors face on a daily basis.

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Students Present Innovative Global Health Solutions in Competition

Global Health Case Competition

Eight teams of undergraduate and graduate students participated in Northwestern University’s first Global Health Case Competition Saturday, Feb. 15, each giving a 15-minute presentation on how to decrease pneumonia-related deaths in newborn to 5-year-old children in Uganda. Medill junior Emily Drewry (far left) shared her experience of being part of the team that won the competition. Her team received a $1,000 award and will represent Northwestern at the Emory competition in March.

The competition was modeled after a similar event held annually at Emory University and organized by Kate Klein, a masters of public health student and assistant director of the Program of African Studies at Northwestern. Through the process, students are given the opportunity to engage with individuals in other fields, all toward the common goal of realistic experience in understanding global health interventions.

For the week leading up to the competition, 40 undergraduate and graduate students, split into teams that represented three Northwestern schools, got to know the details of our case, preparing to impress the judges with a solution that aimed to be innovative, realistic and, overall, successful. I was thrilled to be participating in the event—I am constantly trying to make the most of every experience I come across at Northwestern, and this competition seemed to offer the perfect mix of challenge and insight that I couldn’t pass up.

The work that went into creating our presentation certainly wasn’t easy and was even exasperating at times. But it was real, perhaps the most real opportunity I’ve had since coming to Northwestern.

When we filed into Harris L08 on Saturday morning, with a completed case and hours of waiting ahead, I was able to reflect on the experience as a whole. I was terrified to present to the judges—these three women are professionals at UNICEF and USAID and are the people we all aspire to be. How could we possibly impress them? In retrospect, the reason I was afraid to present was the very same reason I needed to embrace the experience, and the reason I am so grateful to Northwestern for giving us this opportunity.

As I spoke with a peer early on in the day, I expressed that I was intimidated by how established many of the participants were. “But here’s the thing,” she responded. “We know so much.” My first inclination was to disagree, but then it dawned on me. We as individuals know what we have learned in our three or four years at this incredible institution—but we as teams know so much more.

I could not have asked for a better result. I am so honored to be a part of the team that will be representing Northwestern at the Emory competition next month. But beyond the results of the competition was a bigger success. It took the form of a life lesson I won’t be forgetting for a long time.

The theme of the weekend wasn’t competition. It was collaboration. Though our goal was to create a viable situation, the work each participant put into the weekend was reciprocated two-fold in opportunity. We put an incredible amount of time into the case itself, learning about pneumonia, Uganda and past public health efforts. I am so proud of the final result my team presented to the judges, but I am prouder of the comfort I now feel, knowing that so many talented individuals out there will one day be presenting these solutions to real donors and make real impacts.

In his closing remarks, Michael Diamond stressed the same point that I had arrived at by the end of the day. “Collaboration,” he said, “as we all know, does not come easily.”

Neither do the solutions to global health problems. But, after this weekend, I am confident that members of the eight participating teams will be part of the movements that, with dedicated efforts and innovative ideas, will go on to change the world.

A huge thank you goes out to Program in African Studies, Office for International Program Development, the Buffett Center and the Center for Global Health for sponsoring the event, as well as to Noelle Sullivan and my teammates for being incredibly patient and supportive throughout the weekend.

The winning team, consisted of Suvai Gunasekaran and Smitha Sarma, Emily Drewry from the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, and Grace Jaworski and Pooja Garg from the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. Suvai, Smitha, Emily, and Pooja will head to Atlanta in March to compete with students from 24 other universities.

Alice Millar Chapel Turns 50

Completed in September of 1963, Alice Millar Chapel and Religious Center has served as the location for many spiritual and ceremonial events in the life of Northwestern University. As we honor the 50th anniversary of the building, read Northwestern magazine’s full story on the chapel’s rich history. Scroll below to take a virtual tour of some of Alice Millar’s truly unique stained glass window designs with University chaplain Rev. Timothy Stevens.

Medicine Windowmedicine window

Commerce Window
commerce window

Communication Window
communication window

Space Window
space window

Scientific Discovery Window
scientific discovery window

Front Window
main window

Read a full description of each of the chapel’s windows.

World War II Midshipmen’s School at NU

As World War II raged in Europe, Northwestern University was one of three schools to open a Midshipmen’s School to train Naval officers. By 1945, more than 25,000 men had graduated from the school.

Rev. Robert Wilch graduated in 1943 and looked back fondly on the time he spent training for the Navy on Northwestern’s Chicago campus. Hear his memories in this 2009 interview, featuring archival footage of the Midshipmen’s School at NU. Read more

NU has a long history of naval training on campus, as one of the six original Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps units was established on campus in 1926 and remains today. Last Friday, current NROTC students honored alumni who gave their lives in war.

On this Veterans Day, we honor and remember all the courageous men and women–past and present–who served our country in the military. Thank you for your service.

Northwestern Homecoming Weekend 2013

Any Northwestern students, alumni, faculty, staff or fans who participated in Homecoming 2013 festivities would agree that it was one of the most exciting weekends on campus in a very long time. With two ESPN sports shows broadcasting live from campus and a night game at Ryan Field between the No. 16 Wildcats and the No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes, the Purple Pride and football buzz on campus far exceeded anything Northwestern had previously experienced at Homecoming, making the annual parade, pep rally and alumni reunion events extra special for the hundreds of alumni who returned to campus.

The excitement reached its pre-game pinnacle Saturday morning, when ESPN’s College GameDay went on the air live from the Evanston campus lakefront. Swooping overhead camera shots showed television audiences the scope of diehard school spirit exhibited by ‘Cats fans, as throngs of purple-clad people had lined up at 4 a.m. to get a prime spot near the show’s elaborate lakefront stage and set. Wildcat fans crafted clever signs–a staple of College GameDay broadcasts–and USA Today quickly proclaimed NU’s signage as “the best week so far.” See more photos from the GameDay experience and watch the video below to witness the sea of purple that assembled for the occasion.

The game time atmosphere at Ryan Field was electric on Saturday night, and not just because a massive thunderstorm had blown through in the hours leading up to kickoff. A sell out crowd of NU and OSU fans were pumped for the prime time matchup that was broadcast nationally on ABC. Both teams played hard, and the ‘Cats held their own for the majority of the heart-pounding game, but a few bad breaks in the fourth quarter ensured victory for OSU.

The Wildcats and their fans had nothing to be ashamed of, however, as the team proved its mettle against the powerful and still-undefeated Buckeyes. Relive the excitement of the game with NU Sports’ storify recap of social media posts from the game. The ‘Cats will look to win their first Big Ten game next weekend at Wisconsin, which will be broadcast on ESPN2 and regionally on ABC at 2:30 p.m. CT.

Check out our coverage of the rest of the weekend’s Homecoming festivities by following the links below.