Representatives from Northwestern University and the City of Evanston shared joint plans for Dillo Day, Northwestern’s annual music festival run by student organization Mayfest Productions, at a virtual community meeting Monday evening.

Dave Davis, the university’s executive director of neighborhood and community relations, led the meeting for a Zoom audience of more than 50 people. The meeting also covered other end-of-class-year events such as graduation, student move-out and the inauguration of new university president Michael Schill – all without running over the advertised length of one hour.

Harm reduction leads safety measures

Northwestern’s 51st Dillo Day festival will take place on the university’s lakefill on Saturday, May 20. Attendance is limited to Northwestern undergraduates and community members who have bought wristbands, and the lakefill will close to the public at 9 a.m. on Saturday.

Teyana Taylor peforms at Dillo Day in 2019. Credit: Justin Barbin Photography/Mayfest Productions

University police and private security firm Luna Security will be stationed around the lakefill, while a group called the “Student Intervention Service” will move around and respond to situations as needed. The student task force, first used in Dillo Day 2022, is intended to serve as an intermediary and resolve concerning situations before a police or security response is necessary.

Mayfest Productions co-chair Nicole Tank said in addition, this year’s task force is also trained to administer Narcan, an emergency nasal spray which reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

“In the event of an overdose on the lakefill, we’re going to have members of our crew carrying Narcan to help stop that situation before it gets any worse,” Tank said. “We’re very excited about that, that was a huge development for this year.”

A Northwestern University slide showing informational safety posters displayed for Dillo Day 2023. Credit: Northwestern University

Elsewhere on campus, university police will run a unified command with personnel from Northwestern police, Evanston’s police and fire departments, Superior Ambulance and Luna Security. This group will monitor dispatch radio traffic, security camera footage and calls for service out of the university’s Department of Safety and Security, according to Northwestern Deputy Chief Eric Chin.

The Evanston Police Department will also be increasing its presence off-campus, especially in the area around Firefighter’s Park, where many upperclassmen students live. Sgt. Chelsea Brown said an EPD tent at the park will be staffed by two officers and a special detail of officers will patrol the surrounding neighborhood throughout the day.

“Evanston PD will still maintain appropriate staffing for the rest of the city,” Brown said. “The detail that will be working [the] Dillo Day event will be 100% focused on calls for service relating to nuisance complaints, etc., that stem from Dillo Day events.”

Reducing noise and trash

Patrolling alongside EPD’s detail will be staff from the university’s Student Affairs division. Clad in green hats, the staff will be available for students to flag down for assistance, and will also intervene in loud parties or groups of students before they result in a noise complaint.

Assistant Dean of Students Jason McKean, who oversees the university’s Off-Campus Life office, said staff have already taken measures to preempt some of the rowdier houses in the neighborhood.

A Northwestern University slide detailing the Off-Campus Life office’s plans for Dillo Day 2023. Credit: Northwestern University

“We’ve met with members of houses that have either been confronted multiple times by EPD or even cited for noise concerns over the last academic year,” McKean said. “That [way] we can share expectations with them about how things should go and how things should look, and also provide for them the resources of, we will be in the neighborhood as well.”

Student Affairs staff will also run a water station at Firefighter’s Park, and Northwestern is working to place additional trash cans and portable toilets around the neighborhood, McKean said.

Come 8 a.m. Sunday, Northwestern’s Associated Student Government will lead a clean-up effort across the off-campus area to clear any remaining trash. At the same time, McKean and other staff will tour the neighborhood to find student residences with messy yards and exteriors.

“We’re going to do some knocks on doors, if we’ve noticed that there are certain homes that did not do a, let’s say, a good enough job or a timely job of cleaning up their area,” Davis said of the clean-up plans. “We are going to be out in the community in full force.”

Other end-of-year events

Davis also shared information on several other university events at the end of the academic year in June.

First is the inauguration of new university president Michael Schill, who succeeded previous president Morty Schapiro in September 2022. Previously president of the University of Oregon, Schill was selected was selected as Northwestern’s 17th president in August 2022 after the previous president-elect, the late Rebecca Blank, stepped down due to a later fatal cancer diagnosis.

Schill’s inauguration ceremony will take place 10 a.m. Friday, June 2, in the Ryan Fieldhouse at the north end of campus. Davis said he expects “a few thousand people” to attend the event, which is limited to Northwestern’s academic community. The event will also be livestreamed for the general public to watch.

The following weekend, Northwestern will hold “approximately 65 events” over four days to celebrate the graduating Class of 2023. The largest event by far will be the university’s commencement ceremony, held at Ryan Field at 10 a.m., Monday, June 12. This year’s commencement speaker will be Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, who graduated from Northwestern law school in 1983.

“We’re on track for the same type of weekend this year that we’ve had in the past,” Davis said. “We’re looking forward to hosting the different families of the graduates and everyone in Evanston for what we expect will be a wonderful weekend.”

Davis said that as of last Friday, May 12, more than 2,700 graduating students have ordered guest tickets for the commencement ceremony.

Finally, Davis addressed on-campus student move-out, the deadline for which is noon Saturday, June 10. He said Northwestern will not block off portions of Emerson Street for move-out as in previous years, since the parking area for students’ families is moving to an area on the campus.

Davis also shared that Northwestern will contract with the City of Evanston to provide multiple rounds of bulk trash pick-up for the Firefighter’s Park neighborhood to help off-campus students who are moving out. He said the service will run on June 6, June 8, June 13 and June 15 in the area bounded by Noyes Street to the north, Ridge Avenue to the west, Emerson Street to the south and Orrington Avenue to the east.

Alex Harrison

Alex Harrison joined the RoundTable in 2022 for the summer in between his undergraduate and graduate studies at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Since then, he continues to write...

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  1. If I understand correctly, multiple student groups will be on hand for security, clean-up, a water station, there will be a command center, access to Narcan, extra police, campus security, etc etc etc.

    Does Northwestern plan to marshal all these resources ten times a year for the concerts they want to throw at their proposed new stadium?

    1. Yes Timothy, absolutely correct.
      And moreover, what about the NU proposed “up to 60 of the 7,500 person events to take place outdoors and year-round with amplified sound” on the U2 area? The proposed NU amendment also “eliminates all traffic, parking and safety regulations” for those 60 events.