Interview with Andrew Koppelman, Northwestern University John Paul Stevens Professor of Law

What impact will the Supreme Court’s decision on the Defense of Marriage Act have on the state of same-sex marriage? Sam Niiro discusses the details with Northwestern University John Paul Stevens Professor of Law, Andrew Koppelman.


Interview with Evanston Community Foundation President/CEO Sara Schastok


Evanston Community Foundation President and CEO Sara Schastok Interview, May 24, 2013

From the May 24, 2013 broadcast of Your World with WNUR News. We sit down with the President and CEO of the Evanston Community Foundation Sara Schastok to discuss some of the work ECF does both for Evanston and with Northwestern University, along with several challenges the community faces.

Evanston Residents Rally Against Fracking, S.B. 1715

Story by Anne Li ’16

A small but passionate group of Illinoisans gathered in Panera Bread in Downtown Evanston this past Thursday before presenting Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Ill.)’s office with a petition against a hydraulic fracturing bill.

S.B. 1715 was introduced mid-February of this year and would create the Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act, which among other things would prohibit fracturing without a permit and regulates where the operation could occur, and the Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Tax Act, which among other things imposes a tax on oil or gas provided via hydraulic fracturing.
The Evanston meeting was held on a statewide Day of Action presented by, an online advocacy group, against hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,” which is a controversial method of mining natural gas.

“If nothing else, [we’re here] to realize we’re not alone, and to learn things we don’t know already,” Kurt Bjorling, host of the event, said to the group of at least eight people.
Concerned individuals began trickling in to Panera’s conference room at 11 a.m. to simply meet each other before walking to Gabel’s office a little before noon. Their discussion covered a range of issues, including what they believe is poor or lack of media coverage of S.B. 1715 and the potential environmental issues that could result from hydraulic fracturing.

Though hydraulic fracturing does not occur in Evanston, members of Thursday’s meeting feared it could contaminate Lake Michigan and underground aquifers and spread to other parts of the state.

“Water doesn’t observe county boundaries, state boundaries,” Bjorling said.

Hydraulic fracturing gained national attention when Gasland, a 2010 American documentary on the health and environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing in a Pennsylvania town, was nominated for the 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary.

Since then, several states have been involved in the hydraulic fracturing discussion. The Evanston petition against S.B. 1715 directed at Gabel contained 205 constituent signatures. Those at the meeting agreed that Gabel was doing a good job in fighting for their cause, but hoped the petition would remind her that the issue remains relevant for many people’s lives.
Liane Casten, founder of Chicago Media Watch, said of the importance of Illinoisan movement against hydraulic fracturing, “[We need to] set an example.”

David Schwimmer (SoC ’88) Visits Northwestern

Northwestern University School of Communication alumnus and actor/director David Schwimmer visited campus as the 2013 Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Artist on May 20. He spoke with Tony Award-winning director and faculty member Anna D. Shapiro in front of a 350-member student audience. Photo by Justin Barbin (C11)

Northwestern University School of Communication alumnus and actor/director David Schwimmer visited campus as the 2013 Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Artist on May 20. He spoke with Tony Award-winning director and faculty member Anna D. Shapiro in front of a 350-member student audience. Photo by Justin Barbin (C11)

Story by Anne Li ’16

This past Monday, over 300 Northwestern University students flocked to a School of Communication-sponsored Question and Answer session with director, stage actor and Northwestern alumnus David Schwimmer.

Schwimmer is the School of Communication’s 2013 Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Artist and fielded questions in a packed Josephine Louis Theater with the Tony-award winning director, faculty member and friend Anna Shapiro.

But despite his best-known role as Dr. Ross Geller on the popular former television show Friends, he and Shapiro barely mentioned the show.

“Because my family was so strict, my friends were incredibly brilliant losers,” Schwimmer told the audience.

Thus began Schwimmer’s story, of a child of two lawyers who had no connections in the acting world. The closest contact Schwimmer had to a celebrity as a child was Nicholas Cage, who attended his high school and was three years older than him.

“He was Tony in West Side Story,” Schwimmer said, prompting laughs from the audience. “I was a Jet.”

When his parents required that Schwimmer go to college to find a career to fall back on “when” acting didn’t work out, Schwimmer decided on Northwestern University.

There, he flourished. He enjoyed classes on the history of Ancient Greece and philosophy. He used his Bar Mitzvah money to fund productions, and he and his friends eventually realized that, “With enough Chutzpah and determination, we can produce.”

And so, the spring of his graduation, Schwimmer and seven friends founded Lookingglass Theatre Company in Chicago.

Shapiro told Schwimmer that she always thought it was bizarre seeing Schwimmer on television because he was, deep down inside, a stage actor. And now, after his work on Friends, Schwimmer has returned to the stage as an actor and director.

“I love just being one of the many parts helping a director realize his vision. I want to kick ass for the director,” he said.

The road hasn’t been perfectly smooth, however. Schwimmer said often he is not cast because directors fear that he will project his Friends character onto the production.

“I’m at a place where I can’t be anonymous yet,” he said.

Despite that, Schwimmer focuses on the future, not the past (Shapiro lauded him to for being well-grounded, an unusual trait in actors, she said). He has a two-yearold daughter, and spoke briefly on parenting, saying that he would not allow his child “to enter that world” of Hollywood until she discovered who she was.

“I would never raise a daughter in Los Angeles. There’s so much pressure on appearance,” Schwimmer said. He clicked his tongue. “I’m like, ‘Not gonna happen.’”

Many students who attended the question and answer session came to see the Friends star. While they waited in the lobby before the talk, wait listed students waited anxiously and girls bearing tickets gasped when Schwimmer walked past them to enter the theater.

14 Illinois Teachers Nominated for First-Ever GRAMMY Music Educator Award

Over 200 music teachers across the United States have been announced as quarterfinalists for the first-ever GRAMMY Music Educator Award. Out of the 30,000 total applications received, fourteen Illinois teachers have been chosen to advance in the selection process, including three from Naperville, one each from Joliet, Lake Forest, Wilmette, and several from other area schools.

The semifinalists will be announced in August.

More information about the award via the press release:

“The Music Educator Award was established to recognize current educators (K – college, public and private schools) who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the field of music education and who demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools. A joint partnership and presentation of The Recording Academy and the GRAMMY Foundation, this special award will have its inaugural presentation at the Special Merit Awards Ceremony and Nominees Reception honoring recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Trustee Award, Technical GRAMMY® Award during GRAMMY Week 2014.”

How to End Poverty in 90 Minutes

Only a couple performances left! Look below for showtimes.

Check out the Your World interview with producers from How to End Poverty in 90 Minutes, an innovative student production at Northwestern University that uses audience participation in a group decision-making experiment to give out $1000 each night to a charity or cause of the audience’s choice.


How to End Poverty in 90 Minutes
(with 199 people you may or may not know)
Conceived and directed by Michael Rohd

May 15-25, 2013
Wed 5/15 7:30pm, Thu 5/16 7:30pm, Fri 5/17 8pm, Sat 5/18 8pm, Sun 5/19 2pm, Wed 5/22 10am, Thu 5/23 5pm, Fri 5/24 8pm, Sat 5/25 8pm

Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston

“How to End Poverty in 90 Minutes” is not a play; it’s not a lecture, it’s not an interactive workshop; it’s not a physical theatre piece and it’s not a public conversation. It is all of these things. The show invites a different audience at every show to explore the question: how do you attack the problem of poverty in America? Over the course of 90 minutes, the audience will be witness, investigator and, ultimately, agent of choice. The choice — how to spend a $1,000 in cash from ticket sales, which will sit onstage, waiting to be put to use. The show is an experiment in dialogue, in collective decision-making, in shared responsibility and in the potential (real or imagined) for art to help us make our world a better place. Spectacularly eclectic in form, playfully participatory, often delightful and occasionally uncomfortable, “How to End Poverty” will engage student and Chicago-area audiences alongside community experts. Come spend with us.

Tickets: (847) 491-7282 |

Full price: $25 general public; $22 seniors (over 62), NU faculty/staff, educators; $10 full-time students; $5 NU students, advance purchase only ($10 at the door)

Discounts also available to groups of 8 or more. Call the TIC Box Office Manager at (847) 491-7282 to learn more.

This production is sponsored in part by a grant from the Alumnae of Northwestern.
Partially supported by a grant from the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in the Arts Committee at Northwestern University.
Co-sponsored by the Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities.
Supported by an Innovations grant from the Northwestern University School of Communications.