Presidential Hopefuls Discuss Ideas During Pre-election Debate

Elise Foley

By Elise Foley The Daily Northwestern

ASG presidential candidates discussed their platforms and ways to improve the organization during a Wednesday evening debate in the Big Ten Room at Norris University Center.

Weinberg juniors Julian Hill and Jon Webber, the two presidential candidates, spoke to a crowd of about 30 people, most of whom were involved with ASG or with the candidates’ campaigns.

Hill and Webber answered both serious questions and a few comical ones, such as one posed by current President Jay Schumacher: how they would deal with the “lonely, isolating” job as Associated Student Government president.

“If you want us to give you sympathy, we can,” Webber answered.

After two weeks of campaigning, isolation might be a welcome change, Webber joked.

Hill emphasized the importance of support networks, including with “lady friends.”

“I’ve done a lot of laboring in the past year that I think will prepare me for it,” Hill said. “I’m used to not having a social life.”

When it came to discussing the future of ASG, the candidates were more serious.

“It’s time that we have a new ASG,” Webber said. “There’s a lack of response on ASG as a whole when it comes to student groups.”

ASG can improve by creating specific solutions to deal with specific issues, Webber said.

“We need a candidate that has a platform,” Webber said. “So many people come in with just a wish list of things they want to do. Nothing’s really accomplished. Everything that I want to do, I have an action plan and a timeline for.”

Webber said he has a 24-day plan for what he hopes to accomplish if elected ASG president.

“Hopefully by the end of the year, students can answer ‘What has ASG done for you lately?’ ” Webber said.

Webber also discussed his experience with ASG, where he most recently served as speaker of the senate.

“I have a track record of being solution-oriented and action-oriented,” Webber said. “The fact that I’ve been on ASG for so many years is very powerful.”

Hill also highlighted past experiences to explain why he should be elected ASG president.

“I’ve done a lot of different things and built a lot of different networks,” Hill said. “Now I want to bring a new type of leadership to ASG that can produce real results.”

Hill recently finished his term as coordinator of For Members Only, NU’s black student alliance.

Reaching out to students is important to make change, Hill said. If elected, he said he would try to get more students involved with ASG.

“You can’t create new initiatives if you don’t have new people,” Hill said.

As president, Hill said he would try to improve relations with the student body through a quarterly forum and a monthly “letter from the president.”

“ASG is losing its connection with students,” Hill said. “I feel like I’m more personable and more charismatic. ASG needs a combination of that and some big plans to achieve its goals.”

Hill has not served as an ASG senator, but said he has served on behalf of ASG on various committees.

“I’m willing to get into a new situation and figure out what I need to do to get things done,” Hill said.

Election commissioner Eric Parker, a Weinberg junior, said he thought the presidential debates were a success.

“There were some challenging questions and I think both candidates answered with poise,” Parker said.

Students have good options for ASG president, said Schumacher, a Communication senior.

“The candidates are two different people with two different backgrounds,” Schumacher said. “Both offer great solutions and I think either of them would make a great ASG president.”

Reach Elise Foley at [email protected]