Fong nabs SSVP spot in private Exec vote

Janette Neuwahl

Associated Student Government’s Executive Board announced Monday that Weinberg junior Mike Fong will replace Tiffany Berry as the new student services vice president.

After a campuswide election put Tiffany Berry into office Spring Quarter, Fong was appointed to the position by a confidential vote of ASG’s Executive Board Sunday night.

“He really showed us his desire to do what’s necessary to get the job done, and I am confident in his ability to advocate for what students want done,” said Rachel Lopez, ASG president.

Berry resigned over the summer to devote her time to an outside project.

During his freshman and sophomore years, Fong served as senator for Kemper Hall. Despite losing twice for ASG academic vice president, in 2001 and 2002, Fong rejoined the academic committee and had planned to join the executive committee. In addition, Fong served on the Northwestern University Dining Services committee with students, faculty and administration.

Lopez said Fong primarily was chosen for his devotion to ASG and thinks Fong will be a perfect fit for the executive board.

“Mike is willing to stick to something — the best indication of that is the fact that he ran for academic vice president and stayed on the committee even after he lost,” Lopez said. “It shows his dedication because he was still going to work for the students.”

Student services vice president was not the only replacement ASG has had to make this fall. New treasurer Edith Rivera was appointed last week after J.D. Robertson resigned from the position in May.

Some of Fong’s goals include responding to student input so students “feel they are making a difference and their voices are heard,” he said. He also wants to revamp e-commerce at NU by improving the Online Book Exchange, and expanding it to include furniture students can sell to one another from a link on the HereAndNow Web site. However, most of his ideas for improving student life at NU will come from suggestions he receives in committee, Fong said.

“The grand bulk of my ideas will ultimately come from my committee, and they are going to get a ton of responsibility,” said Fong, who has not served on the student services committee himself.

To ease into his position, Fong said he will meet with Berry and her predecessor, Weinberg senior Courtney Brunsfeld, to discuss initiatives they would recommend continuing and others they should not.

Although Berry was chosen in the general student election Spring Quarter, ASG’s constitution does not allow for a re-election in the event that an elected member drops out. To find a replacement for Berry, applications were posted online at the end of August. Four applicants vied for the position, including Fong.

Two of the other applicants, Public Affairs Residential College Sen. Eileen Keeley and College Democrats Sen. Jason Lake, ran against Berry during the Spring Quarter elections. The fourth applicant was former ASG Academic Vice President Ebo Dawson-Andoh, who currently serves as A&O Productions senator.

Dawson-Andoh was the only applicant who had prior experience serving on ASG’s executive board. Putting someone such as Fong, who never has served on the student services committee he will now head, was a risky move, he said.

“(The Executive Board) is going into something blindly, and I wish them the best of luck, but they’re going to have their hands full,” said Dawson-Andoh, an Education senior. “Usually Spring Quarter is for getting acclimated to the position, and ASG usually has someone to transition (the new person) coming into it. So it’s going to be hard (for Fong) to learn the ropes of the job.”

But despite Dawson-Andoh’s discomfort about the board’s decision, he has no intention of abandoning his commitment to ASG.

“Whether or not I’m on (the) board or not, I have more experience that any of them, and it would be irresponsible of me not to bring my experience and previous knowledge to Senate,” Dawson-Andoh said.