Not just a four-year customer’

Jerome C. Pandell

The last time a Northwestern student served as both the president of Associated Student Government and of fraternity Beta Theta Pi was 1962.

His name was Dick Gephardt.

Korkor, who has served in ASG as Speaker of the Senate and rules chairman, said he isn’t looking to become the House of Representatives’ Democratic minority leader, but he does hope to follow after Gephardt’s example at NU.

Korkor’s presidential platform is full of ideas to bring NU together and establish a greater sense of campus community. His presidency would focus on beefing up student input and creating a greater sense of self-governance among groups like ASG, the Residence Hall Association and the Interfraternity Council, he said.

“I don’t understand the claim that this campus is apathetic. Everyone cares about something intensely,” he said. “Apathy comes from the fact that students aren’t involved in student life as much as they should be. A lot of student life is run by the administration.”

Student input in the decision-making process should be more than symbolic, Korkor said.

Under Korkor’s proposed system of self-governance, students would hold themselves to certain standards.

“Every single student will have part ownership of the system,” said Korkor, a Weinberg junior. “When you’re at Northwestern, you’re not just a four-year customer.”

When Korkor came to NU, he said he did not feel at home because there wasn’t an active Arab cultural group on campus. He proceeded to co-found the Arab Cultural Society and has served on its executive board for three years.

Although Korkor took initiative in forming the student group, his involvement in ASG was a result of chance.

Before participating in the Freshman Urban Program, Korkor received a call from his group counselor Jordan Heinz, current ASG president.

“He was the first Northwestern student I ever talked to,” Korkor said. “He told me about ASG. … He gave me a lift and helped me get started.”

Korkor also joined NU’s chapter of Beta his freshman year. The fraternity had only been be back on campus for two years. At the end of his sophomore year, he was elected president.

His pledge son, Matej Polomsky, said Korkor was a dedicated president and made sure everyone did his part to improve the fraternity.

“If I ever had anything I needed to ask him, he would always make time,” said Polomsky, a Weinberg sophomore.

Having enlarged Beta’s presence on campus and focused its members on upholding principles, Korkor said he is ready to bring the same ideas to ASG.

“I don’t want to lie or make ludicrous, once-a-year campaign promises,” Korkor said.

“Campaign week is this one week a year where ASG shows up and candidates go around saying we want your input. That’s hard for me to buy.”

Korkor said he would like to preserve the Heinz’s leadership style, adding that his experience of serving on ASG’s Executive Board the past two years, as well as on the boards of several student groups, is his strongest asset as a candidate.

But Korkor said he will depart from other traditional areas of ASG’s focus.

He plans to use his experience to more effectively lobby administrators and expand student voice.

“I want to include more of the campus … and give them viable and tangible ownership over student life,” he said. “ASG needs to be there for the students all year.”

Korkor said voters should focus on each candidate’s past job performance and knowledge of presidential responsibilities.

“The president is elected to serve the students, to serve Northwestern. These are principles,” he said. “Promises go away at the end of the campaign. Principles never go away.”

Bassel Korkor

School: Weinberg junior

Hometown: Canton, Ohio

Leadership experience:

_Ѣ ASG Speaker of the Senate junior year, rules chairman sophomore year

_Ѣ President of Beta Theta Pi fraternity and Interfraternity Council risk management coordinator

_Ѣ Founding member and executive board member of Arab Cultural Society

Platform goals:

_Ѣ Form a group of student leaders to work toward student self-governance

_Ѣ Continue student outreach program by holding Table Talk sessions each quarter and an Internet mandate for ASG to work immediately on the three top concerns conveyed by students during these forums

_Ѣ Reserve spots on university committees for non-ASG students