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Area Councils Event

Northwestern Area Councils Foster Community and Area Pride

‚ÄúThere are so many people at Northwestern, but this provides an opportunity to really get to know someone.”

Jeremy Fredricks
Medill Sophomore

From pumpkin-carving to Chicago field trips, Area Councils engage students on campus

When Weinberg junior Maria Feng arrived at Northwestern last year after transferring from Harper College, she was eager to meet other new students and find a sense of community within her residence hall.  

Feng remembers stumbling upon a flier advertising a painting event hosted by the Northeast Area Council. At that moment, Feng knew she had to attend.  

“I started going to a lot of Area Council events after that,” Feng said. “There were a lot of other transfers that I kept running into and just decided to hang out with them. By proximity, we became friends that way.”  

Residential Services created the Area Councils during the 2021-2022 academic year to give students a chance to plan and participate in community-building events across four geographic areas across campus: South, Southwest, North, and Northeast. All students who live on campus automatically belong to one of these Residential Areas 

Area Council events are run mostly by and for students. In each Area Council, an executive board of four elected student leaders meets weekly to brainstorm and plan events for their respective residents. Additionally, each residence hall has building representatives who meet with their Area Council monthly to provide suggestions on how to improve events and increase reach.  

This year alone, Area Councils have hosted a variety of events, ranging from informal events like ceramics painting and pumpkin carving contests to more elaborate excursions in Chicago and beyond. 

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It is all part of a commitment to barrier-free programming that is central to the residential experience framework at Northwestern, focusing on student agency, community and belonging, care and support, and academic linkages. 

Last Spring, the Southwest Area Council brought a group of Northwestern students to see the Broadway performance of “Into the Woods” at the James M. Nederlander Theatre in Chicago. Transportation to and from the theatre, as well as sandwiches and cookies, were provided to participants.  

This performance marked Feng’s first time seeing a Broadway production, an experience that she says she could not have afforded on her own. 

“It’s an opportunity that I would not have gotten otherwise, and I’m just happy and thankful that they offered it,” Feng said. “I had a really great time.”  

Earlier this fall, the Northeast Area Council took a group of students to explore the “world’s largest corn maze” at Richardson Adventure Farm in Spring Grove, Ill. Students received vouchers for a free apple cider donut and beverage, and each got to take home a free pumpkin.  

 For Medill sophomore Jeremy Fredricks, the event was both a stress reliever and an opportunity to immerse himself in the college experience outside of academia.  

 “When I was at Richardson Farm, I felt a sense of calm,” Fredricks said. “I was not worried about tests or papers. I was just focused on being in the moment.” 

In addition to boosting his mental health, Fredricks also said the area council events have helped him meet new people and solidify his friendships.  

“There are so many people at Northwestern, but this provides an opportunity to really get to know someone,” Fredricks said. “Instead of just sitting around and talking in the dining hall, these events allow us to actually do something together, which strengthens those bonds.” 

Area Council programming takes place a few times each month, and students can read the weekly area newsletter delivered by email every Saturday at noon to learn more about upcoming events.