Out of ASG, Ciryam plans to keep fighting

Evan Hill

As the sun sets on Northwestern’s Evanston campus and Prajwal Ciryam’s campaign for Associated Student Government president, Ciryam is still sprinting from dorm to dorm to knock on doors and ask for votes.

He and about 10 of his campaign workers have been crossing campus all day, telling students to vote in the runoff election.

“Right now adrenaline levels are so high, I’m just trying to get to the end,” says Ciryam, a Weinberg junior, comparing the stress of campaigning to taking the MCATs.

From 6 to 6:30 p.m., Ciryam speed walks from 1835 Hinman to Norris University Center to the Sorority Quads, repeating the same sentence to anyone he meets on the street. He says he is extremely nervous — someone he trusts told him at about 2:30 p.m. that he is running 300 votes behind opponent Patrick Keenan-Devlin.

“Hi, my name is Prajwal Ciryam,” he says. “I’m running for ASG president, if you could just take 10 seconds on HereAndNow to vote for me I’d really appreciate it.”

“Why should I vote for you?” asks Kathleen Arcovio, a Communication freshman, as Ciryam prowls the hallways of Jones Residential College.

He stops in her doorway to explain his platform, his endorsements and what he hopes to achieve, even as precious minutes that could be spent campaigning tick away. By the end of the conversation, he gets what he wants.

“OK, I will vote for you,” Arcovio says.

As Ciryam moves to the next door, she restates her approval.

“I’m really impressed that he’s walking around doing this,” she says.

In the end, it doesn’t matter. Patrick Keenan-Devlin won Thursday night’s runoff election for ASG president with 55.9 percent of the votes.

Ciryam’s renewed grassroots campaign efforts failed to earn him the majority he needed to win. By the time the polls closed at 8 p.m., he received 1,103 votes, 296 fewer than Keenan-Devlin.

“At the very least, we fought like hell,” says Rohan Sharma, a Weinberg sophomore and one of Ciryam’s campaign managers. “Democracy calls for both winners and losers.”

By 8:15 p.m., Ciryam is calling Keenan-Devlin to concede the election and to congratulate him on running a successful campaign.

“Be a good steward for the organization,” he says as his campaign managers and several friends look on. “The work begins Wednesday and the students are counting on you.”

He also advises Keenan-Devlin to take a closer look at health care, and to not sign off on spending unless it can be reported to students. Both were major goals of Ciryam’s campaign platform.

Ciryam continues to call members of his campaign and others he worked with on the Academic Committee, telling them the results of the election and encouraging them to stay optimistic.

Thinking about what it will mean to say goodbye to the organization he devoted himself to for most of his time at NU, Ciryam says, he will miss the relationships he formed with his committee members.

“That’s gonna be hard to say goodbye to (Academic Committee), to really say goodbye, because that really was ASG to me,” Ciryam says. “There is so much pride in these committees.”

Although he says he won’t run for another ASG position in the future, he still thinks he can do some “rabble-rousing” on campus regardless.

“You know, ASG is a little limiting actually, it doesn’t let you be as radical as you want to be,” he says. “I think I’ll be doing some more trouble-making next year.”

Tonight Ciryam’s thoughts finally turn from the campaign he has been running for weeks. That doesn’t mean the work is over.

“There are some papers that need to be written in my lab, some results that need to be gotten,” he says.

“And I probably should sit down and apply for med school at some point.”

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