ASG honors terror victims, NU in 1st meeting

The Associated Student Government welcomed new and returning senators and unanimously passed two pieces of legislation Wednesday at their first meeting of the year.

ASG President Jordan Heinz remembered aloud his freshman year as senator for Ayers College of Commerce and Industry — and the seat he sat in during the first meeting.

“I honestly thought we would be planning dances, spirit days, perhaps a homecoming dance,” said Heinz, an Education senior. “Little did I know how much ASG means to the student body.”

Heinz told the new senators never to forget that students are the reason ASG exists. The senators were told to speak with their constituents often and plan quarterly dorm meetings to create a forum for discussion.

After officers gave introductory speeches, senators passed resolutions supporting Northwestern’s sesquicentennial and honoring the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

The resolution honoring the victims garnered some debate over a clause that pledged ASG’s grief about “the losses of life and property.” Some senators felt the group should only mourn the loss of life, while others pointed to a 150-year-old church that collapsed in New York as an example of property that should be mourned. The resolution eventually passed with both life and property being remembered.

The spur of debate was a good sign for the new Senate, said Bassel Korkor, speaker of the Senate.

“As uncomfortable of an issue as it is, people seemed to be comfortable addressing it,” said Korkor, a Weinberg junior.

Heinz also was pleased with the new senators.

“The energy tonight was just awesome,” he said.

Energy is what ASG will need this year, with goals to make Senate meetings more student-friendly and to make the Students First Initiative a standard part of procedure instead of a special exception, Korkor said.

“One thing we want to do is to make Senate less of an obligatory place to be,” he said.

A bill-tracking system will be enacted at ASG meetings this year to help the Senate follow legislation from the time of its committee introduction until its implementation, Heinz said. The Senate will chart the progress of bills on large pieces of paper stretching across the eastern wall of Norris University Center’s Northwestern Room, where ASG meetings are held.

The system should help the Senate implement more legislation, Korkor said.

“The bill-tracking system is going to help us keep track of legislation until the end, so that we never forget what we’re supposed to be doing,” Korkor said.

At the meeting, senators also heard from ASG’s advisors, economics lecturer Mark Witte and Assoc. Director of Campus Activities Paul Wolansky.

Wolansky encouraged the senators to be bold in their proceedings, despite praise or criticism they might receive from others.

“The best thing to do is the right thing to do,” Wolansky said.