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February 2012
What's On Your Mind? Northwestern University's Staff Advisory Council (NUSAC) helps you find answers to some of your questions.


A.M. from the Evanston campus asked, "I've been at my job for a few years now, and am looking for opportunities to help my local neighborhood by volunteering in my free time.  What are some possible charitable organizations that NU staff can get involved with?"

Great question!  Northwestern staff are involved in a variety of charitable organizations in Evanston and Chicago.  In fact, NUSAC has an Outreach Committee that organizes a number of opportunities for Northwestern staff, faculty, and students to give back to their community through donation of their time, energy, and tangible goods.  Below is a brief list of some options.

Feel free to contact the chair of the Outreach committee (Tracey Gibson-Jackson) if you have further questions.  If you are looking for a specific activity that involves other NU staff, NUSAC will be organizing a team specifically for NU staff during the Chicago Cares Serve-a-thon on June 9.  Stay tuned for more details in May.

  • NCDC (Northwestern Community Development Corps)
    • www.ncdcnorthwestern.org
    • Volunteer alongside Northwestern students in a variety of activates that enrich our university and neighboring communities.
  • Asian Youth Services
    • http://asianyouthservices.org/
    • After school tutoring program for students ages 5 to 20 in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago.
  • Connections for the Homeless
    • http://www.cfthinc.org/
    • Works primarily on homelessness prevention by providing housing services, employment services, and daily meals for the homeless population of the North Shore.
  • Y.O.U. Evanston
    • http://www.youevanston.org/
    • Y.O.U. is a youth development agency that provides services and leadership for youth and their families in the Evanston/North Shore communities.
  • Family Focus
    • http://family-focus.org/centers/evanston-our-place
    • Family Focus provides mentor programs for children and teens, pregnant and parenting teen resources, adult services, and family support programming.
  • PAWS
    • http://www.pawschicago.org/volunteer/volunteer-faq/
    • Chicago's largest no kill animal shelter and adoption service.  Volunteer to work in the welcome center, adoption center front desk, assist potential adopters in the "Kitty City" or "Dog Town".
  • Chicago Cares Serve-a-thon
    • http://www.chicagocares.org/CCI_about_SAT
    • Chicago Cares organizes a variety of service opportunities all across Chicago.  Their largest event is the annual Serve-a-thon, which will be on Saturday, June 9 this year.  Thousands of volunteers go to Chicago public schools to help improve the learning environments for students by painting, landscaping, and renovating the facilities.

Now it's time for NUSAC to ask YOU:

•    Do you have other questions that you'd like to ask as NU staff?  Please send us suggestions for future "NUSAC in Action" topics at nusac@northwestern.edu.

•    Do you know a staff member at NU who's been very helpful and deserves some recognition?  Suggest someone you think should be highlighted as an Unsung Staff in a future NUSAC Newsletter at nusac@northwestern.edu.

NUSAC – Celebrating over 35 years of staff advocacy and pursuing excellence!


January 2012
What's On Your Mind? Northwestern University's Staff Advisory Council (NUSAC) helps you find answers to some of your questions.

At the Health and Benefits fairs, NUSAC asked staff to pose questions for future NUSAC in Action emails. We took a few of those questions and answered them this month with a focus on tips to help you start the New Year healthy and stress free!

Does NU provide benefits/discounts for fitness clubs?
ANSWER: Yes! Discounted memberships to various on-campus recreation areas and area fitness centers are available to eligible Northwestern staff members on the Chicago and Evanston campuses.
Chicago Campus
Northwestern employees are eligible for discounted membership to The River East Club (355 East Grand Avenue; recently purchased by the LA Fitness Company) and the Chicago Park District's Lake Shore Park Field House (808 North Lake Shore Drive).
Evanston Campus
A membership pass is available to eligible employees and provides access to the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion, Norris Aquatics Center, Combe Tennis Center, NU North Beach, Patten Gym and Blomquist Recreation Center.
Additionally, employee discounts are offered at the following off-campus facilities in Evanston:

  • McGaw YMCA membership discounts. Call (847) 475-7400
  • Evanston Athletic Club and its Chicago Affiliates

How I can improve my health through smart food choices?
ANSWER: In the November NUSAC in Action email, we asked YOU, Northwestern staff, to help NUSAC answer a staff member's question regarding where to find sustainable meat options in the NU area.    While "sustainable food" often has a broad interpretation, the general concept is that "sustainable agriculture is a way of raising food that is healthy for consumers and animals, does not harm the environment, is humane for workers, respects animals, provides a fair wage to the farmer, and supports and enhances rural communities." (Source: www.sustainabletable.org)
NUSAC received a few responses regarding where to find nearby sustainable food options.

  • Hope noted that Edzo's, "an amazing burger shop on Sherman Avenue" has 2-4 options of "burger upgrades" that allow you to choose (for a higher price) different types of meat options. Per Edzo's Web site, they "use only American beef– USDA choice chuck.  Never frozen.  We cut and grind the beef for our burgers every morning, right here in the restaurant. Nothing's added to it until we shake some salt and pepper onto the meat as it cooks.  That's it. We're also pleased to offer locally-raised and/or grassfed beef as an upgrade option." Check out Edzo's Burger Shop at 1571 Sherman Ave., Evanston.
  • Carol responded that Whole Foods may provide options. Whole Foods has locations in both Chicago and Evanston. Visit their Web site to learn about their healthy meat options and quality standards (www.wholefoods.com).
  • Stephan replied that Chipotle offers sustainable food. Per Chipotle's Web site (www.chipotle.com), they are committed to "serving the very best sustainably raised food possible."  

As noted in the November NUSAC in Action, staff members have two ways to save when dining in residence halls and at other nuCuisine locations. Per www.nuCuisine.com, nuCuisine is committed to supporting sustainable food purchasing and use of locally grown foods. They provide weekly menus that detail sustainable or local foods and they offer a wide range of vegetarian and vegan options.

Do you offer counseling or mediation programs to help handle stress?
ANSWER: YES! Northwestern provides an employee assistance program from Perspectives, Ltd. From time to time individuals experience personal problems that can become overwhelming. These problems may include family problems, concerns about children or aging parents, financial or legal issues, depression, and/or struggles with an addiction or everyday stress.
This service is designed to offer confidential and professional help without charge for faculty, staff, and members of their families who need assistance with personal problems. Confidential evaluation, counseling and referral services are provided at no cost to faculty or staff or their family members. Additional information: www.northwestern.edu/hr/benefits/plans/fsap/.
Mind/Body Conditioning Programs are offered through the University's Department of Fitness and Recreation. Visit www.fitrec.northwestern.edu/classes/group/mindbody.html for additional information.
Massage therapy is also available through the Department of Fitness and Recreation: Visit www.fitrec.northwestern.edu/classes/wellness/massage.html for details.

Other Helpful Resources:

  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) members are eligible to save money on value-added health care products and services that help support healthy lifestyles through the BlueExtras discount program.
  • Don't forget to utilize your Wildcard for special discounts on both campuses. Visit www.northwestern.edu/uservices/wildcard/advantage_discounts/category/index.html to view discounts on sporting equipment, beauty and health, fitness, medical specialists and more.

Tip of the Month:
January begins a new academic quarter and a new calendar year, so it is time to think about professional development. In case you missed it, last October Human Resources announced a new education assistance option for Northwestern employees. Full-time employees can now be reimbursed for taking work-related courses at college and universities outside Northwestern. This benefit is available as part of the Employee Portable Tuition plan. Additional information: www.northwestern.edu/hr/benefits/plans/tuition/index.html.

And now here's a question for YOU, Northwestern staff: A staff member inquired about volunteer opportunities available for staff on campus. Does your campus group need help planning events? Does your department or school sponsor an event or organization within or outside the Northwestern community? Please send your suggestions to nusac@northwestern.edu and we will list the options in an upcoming NUSAC in Action!
Please send us suggestions for future "NUSAC in Action" topics. Contact us at nusac@northwestern.edu.
NUSAC – Celebrating over 35 years of staff advocacy and pursuing excellence!