Category Archives: Purple Pride

Loving Northwestern All Over Again

For the past week, more than 200 students served as peer advisers to the incoming freshmen class and transfer students. After a week of training, the PAs spent the duration of Wildcat Welcome making new students feel at home at Northwestern: helping them move into their residence halls, answering questions about college life and shepherding them to numerous orientation events and activities.

Orko Manna, a 19-year-old Medill sophomore from Libertyville, Ill., reflects on his experience as a first-time peer adviser.

Orko MannaLast spring, I wanted to be a peer adviser because I enjoy mentoring people and I absolutely love Northwestern. But over the course of the past two weeks, I realized being a PA is more than just being a leader for new students and a cheery person wearing free t-shirts.

Being a PA reminded me of how much I love Northwestern.

It is often said that a PA is a new student’s first impression of Northwestern—someone who will set the tone for the next four (or three, two, etc. for transfer students) years. One of our goals is to get them excited about Northwestern, its people and everything it has to offer. But, ultimately, I think it does something much greater than that. Being a PA has re-energized my own passion for this school. It’s hard to describe or explain, but the past several days have reminded me of the day I found out I was accepted to Northwestern. When the moment came, there was such a rush of exhilaration and joy that I could hardly contain myself. I was smiling uncontrollably. I had options, but I knew NU was the place for me.

As my freshman year went on, I went through many emotions. Sometimes when you’re thinking about classes, extracurricular activities, friends, family and basically everything else in the world, it’s hard to remember that feeling of joy and pure happiness. I rediscovered that feeling during PA Camp and Wildcat Welcome. Being surrounded by the most amazing Northwestern students and leaders—who are now good friends of mine—it’s hard to think of a time when I was happier. PA Camp was wonderful because all the peer advisers spend a week preparing for Wildcat Welcome and forging a connection to one another. Our biggest connection? We all love Northwestern.

Wildcat Welcome came immediately after camp, and it was a blast because of the new students. They are truly exceptional. I can only really speak for the freshman and transfers in my PA group and those I have met in my residence hall, but I can tell they are pretty special. Watching the students in my group get excited about this amazing place—from the academic opportunities to the lakefill to the city of Chicago—reminded me of why I was so excited about Northwestern.

Even though Wildcat Welcome is over and I am no longer wearing those snazzy peer adviser t-shirts, my experiences with other peer advisers, new students, and NU faculty and staff will stay with me forever. Their passion and interest makes me even more passionate and interested in everything I am doing.

As I begin my sophomore year, I can’t wait to see my students do great things on campus. It’s hard to believe that I was in the same place they are just one year ago. So much has changed, and definitely for the better. Good luck to everyone on the start of a new academic year, and GO ‘CATS!

PA Group

Spread Far the Fame…

NU Class of 2017

The newest batch of Wildcats has arrived, and the start of classes is just around the corner. It’s the perfect time to proudly launch our new blog — Life in Purple — where we hope to present the people, places, events, news and stories of Northwestern in a fresh and engaging way.

But we need your help! Northwestern is your community, and these are your stories. We need you to share all the special things that are happening here, and we want to tell some of these stories in your voice.

Is someone in your residence hall doing something really cool in their free time? Are you taking a class that’s changing your perspective? Are you spending winter break in a unique way? Do you know a Northwestern alum who is making a difference? What do you love about Northwestern? We want to know! Send your ideas and story tips to socialmedia@northwestern.edu.

Spread the word, thanks for reading and Go ‘Cats!

Spring Break at NU-Q

Qatari flagPhoto by Syed Owais Ali

Darcy Coussens (Communication ’14) joined 15 other students from Northwestern’s Evanston campus on a spring break journey to NU’s campus in Doha, Qatar. This is the final installment of her blog posts documenting the group’s adventures in the Middle East. Read more posts here.

Greetings from Chicago! Now that I have slept quite a bit and readjusted to Central Standard Time, it seems amazing how much we fit into just four and a half days of break. I am extremely fortunate to have been flown halfway around the world for spring break, and while my days in Doha included a lot of sightseeing and tours, I am glad it was not just a tourism trip. Besides the falcons, camels, and that cute puppy I got to hold at the souq, what stands out the most are the times I spent with the NU-Q students. We had a lot of fun and some great discussions, and what surprised me the most was how similar our student experiences are.

Sure, there are some differences. I don’t see many thobes and abayas around campus in Evanston, and not many NU-E students own land cruisers. Evanston also definitely does not see as many eighty degree days in March.

Yet I found it fairly easy to adjust to life in Doha and Education City. After all, class is still class. Students at both campuses come from all over the world, work hard on film, theatre, and writing projects and have a lot of school spirit. We did not meet all 150 or so NU-Q students, but I found those we did get to know to be very open and energetic. Northwestern is much smaller in numbers over there, but combined with the rest of Education City, NU-Q feels like one community within a larger group of students.

Easily the most valuable part of the trip for me was having the unique opportunity to spend time talking with native Qatari students and expatriate students about all kinds of things. They were curious about American perceptions of the Middle East, and we were interested in their perceptions of the U.S. I have never so comfortably discussed democracy in a nation that is not one. Journalism students there have ongoing conversations about balancing Medill’s teachings with Qatari laws, and their passion for a free press takes on new meaning given the various Middle Eastern and African countries most of them are from.

Some of these discussions may not have come about in Evanston, nor would they have had the same context or diversity of background. I certainly returned home with a new perspective on America, Qatar, and the Middle Eastconvincing me that one must visit a place and talk to the people there in order to really understand it. It just would not have been possible to teach this experience in a classroom.

Doha is a really exciting place to go to college. So much change is happening there and it is easy to see: in the education system, the rapid growth of Al-Jazeera, and quite literally in the construction all over the city. Everything looks shiny and new, and in a way it was strange to visit a city that is younger than I am. The diversity of Doha is also visible in the variety of thobes, abayas, hijabs, jeans, and other clothes people wear. Qatar is rapidly moving forward and I am glad Northwestern is one of the universities that gets to be part of that.

On our final bus ride together from O’Hare Airport to the Evanston campus, the other NU-E students and I discussed our impressions of NU-Q and made plans to drink karak together soon. We had been briefed on a few legal and cultural differences before we left, such as advice on what to wear or where to avoid taking photographs, so we are curious about what they heard about us before we arrived and what they will be told before some of them visit in May. It surprised us all that we could get to know each other and the students in Qatar so quickly, but we are already keeping in touch and I can’t wait to show them around Chicago.

Journey to Jacksonville: ‘Cats Win!

The Northwestern football team traveled to Jacksonville, Florida to take on Mississippi State University in the 2013 Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl. A large contingent of students, alumni, faculty, staff and fans joined the team for the historic game that resulted in NU’s first bowl victory since 1949. This is the final installment of our blog posts documenting the experience. Read more posts here.

The Wildcat faithful waited 64 years for this moment, and when victory appeared imminent, a surreal euphoria set in quickly. Was this really happening? Kain Colter took a knee in victory formation, and it was officially in the books: Northwestern University defeated Mississippi State University 34-20 to become the 2013 TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl champions.

Happy NU Year!The ‘Cats played a fantastic game of football, but the recap of the X’s and O’s can’t quite capture the Purple Pride that instantly erupted on the field, in the stands and wherever members of the Northwestern community were watching the game around the world. After time expired on the game clock, the football team immediately ran over to a corner of EverBank Field for the traditional post-game victory serenade of “Go U! Northwestern” with the Northwestern University Wildcat Marching Band (NUMB) and the fans. As you can see in our Game Day photo gallery, Northwestern had strong support in Jacksonville from passionate fans who wear their NU love right on their sleeve…or their purple wig…or their purple suits. It was a truly historic day and a wonderful start to 2013. It’s a great time to be a Wildcat! Happy NU Year!