NU Program Connects Students With Evanston Community

C&W Market and Ice Cream Parlor co-owner Clarence Weaver speaks with Northwestern Go and See program participants on Sept. 30.

October 8, 2023

During his first year at Northwestern, Weinberg sophomore Michael Brouse only ventured into Evanston for brief errands and Trader Joe’s runs. 

“I’ve mostly stayed within the Northwestern bubble,” Brouse said. “So this year, I was like, ‘It’s a great time to explore Evanston a little bit more.’”

Brouse participated in NU’s Go and See program this fall, which included nine Evanston immersion events hosted by NU Leadership Development and Community Engagement.

He said he was able to connect with Evanston residents through meet-and-greets with community leaders, scenic walks and food.

On Sept. 30, Brouse and about 20 other students attended the Go and See Sweet and Savory Taste of Evanston tour, one of the nine events. Brouse and other students spoke with small business owners in Evanston’s 5th Ward and tried free samples from Black-owned local restaurants Soul & Smoke, C&W Market and Ice Cream Parlor. 

“It’s very helpful to be able to feel like you’re really home here in the Evanston and Chicagoland community,” LDCE Associate Director Val Buchanan said. “That doesn’t happen without intentionality … and many students can go through their four years without having a meaningful relationship with the community. We’d like to change that.”

Buchanan said the program aimed to serve not only students but also community leaders who got the opportunity to share their stories.

Clarence Weaver, co-owner of C&W Market and Ice Cream Parlor, said he was happy to connect with Northwestern students through the program.

“People need to know why we’re here,” Weaver said. “It’s not just to make money. It’s about making an impact and (making) connections.”

On Oct. 8, the program brought NU students to the seasonal Maker’s Market hosted by local nonprofit Evanston Made. LDCE organized for student attendees to hear from organizers of the market and browse the event’s booths, set up by local artists with products ranging from wooden clocks to wallet-sized photo prints. 

Weinberg junior Linh Ly, who attended several of the program events, said she saw the opportunity to further her knowledge about Evanston as a plus. 

“I’d never seen this program before,” Ly said. “It’s new and really interesting. First, it’s free food, and second, I get to meet people.”

The event series also included an interfaith activism discussion, a tour of local book and music stores and an urban garden exploration. According to Buchanan, many of the events drew dozens of students.

McCormick freshman April Wang said the program reminded her its important not to stay isolated on the NU campus. 

“We’re going to be living here for the next four years,” Wang said. “So why not see what’s here?”

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Twitter: @BrumerDelilah

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