Young and Jaidev win ASG presidential ticket

Weinberg juniors Austin Young and Ash Jaidev won the Associated Student Government presidential ticket, election officials announced Wednesday night. The pair took 53.57 percent of the 3,035 votes cast to beat Medill junior Matt Bellassai and Communication sophomore Jazzy Johnson for the respective president and vice president positions, according to Eelction comissioner Elizabeth Broder.

Running unopposed, both McCormick junior Katie Bradford and Weinberg junior Gabby Daniels were reelected to the student life vice president and academic vice president positions, respectively, which they already hold.

Young and Jaidev campaigned on the slogan “make it matter,” vowing to reconnect ASG with student groups on campus through partnerships and to “solidify the character of ASG” through improving its internal teamwork. Both Young and Jaidev said they intend to use their experience as members and leaders of other campus groups to improve the efficiency of ASG.

Young has served as an ASG senator representing A&O Productions, Mayfest and Niteskool as well as working on the Wildcat Welcome board. Jaidev has served as director of the New Student Center Initiative and the Student Activities Finance Committee.

They awaited campaign results in Rogers House on Wednesday night, and found out just minutes after polls closed.

The ASG voting website was down for a little more than an hour Wednesday afternoon, causing polls to close at 8 p.m. rather than the slated 7 p.m. end time.

But it took just a matter of minutes for Young to get a phone call from the elections commission and learn of his victory. Upon receiving the call, Young jumped in the air and his campaign team and close friends broke out into applause and cheering.

“I was blown away when I heard the news,” Young said. “I heard the word ‘congratulations’ and asked myself if it was real.”

Young immediately expressed his thoughts for action as he thanked his campaign team. During the presidential debates held Monday, Young said if elected he would spend his first day in office anywhere but the office, electing instead to canvas campus and speak with students about their hopes for ASG.

Wednesday night, Young echoed that sentiment in his first speech as president-elect.

“The first thing we’re going to implement is creating a culture of serving students starting with a solid team,” he said.

Just a few buildings away at Public Affairs Residential College the mood was a bit more somber as Bellassai and Johnson learned of their defeat.

“The thing is, like, I’m still the same person,” Johnson said. “Elections won’t stop you just like positions don’t fuel me.”

Bellassai has served as vice president of student affairs and public relations, while Johnson has worked as ground director of the New Student Center Initiative and member of the presidential leadership initiative committee. Bellassai and Johnson’s campaign was anchored in their extensive experience with ASG and ran with the campaign slogan “empowering you.”

“Our platform talked about partnering. That includes partnering with them,” Young said of the opposing candidates. “I’m very excited to team up with them to work to better Northwestern.”

Bellassai said he thought the result was “a little surprising,” and his team was visibly upset at the news.

“I think the other campaign had a lot more endorsements from student group leaders. That’s definitely something that they had over our team,” he said. “I think that obviously there are things that we could have done better. Our team worked 24 hours a day for the past 10 days and we did a great job.”

Young and Jaidev received endorsements from the Progressive Alliance, which includes the College Democrats, the College Feminists, the Global Engagement Summit, NCDC, Rainbow Alliance and SEED. The alliance held debates last Saturday to determine its candidate endorsement.

Bellassai and Johnson garnered endorsements from outgoing ASG president Claire Lew as well as the edit board of The Daily.

Lew hugged Bellassai after hearing the election’s outcome but in an interview congratulated Young and Jaidev.

“Austin and Ash clearly ran a better campaign and deserved to win,” the SESP senior said. “I’m excited for them, to work with them, and to transition them, and I think Matt and Jazzy have a lot to be proud of.”

She said she’s “excited to pass the baton,” and does not think the word “disappointment” applies to her feelings.

“Disappointment infers regret or a wish that things could have been different,” she said. “Everything that happens is part of an important learning process.”

At Rogers House, Jaidev was short on words after hearing the news.

“I’m ecstatic,” he said. “I don’t know how to explain it. So much adrenaline.”

He also focused on students’ needs when reacting to the victory.

“I want to stress the importance of taking the time to find out what everyone thinks,” he said, “and make their goals our goals.”

Rachelle Blidner, Sean Lavery and Safiya Merchant contributed reporting

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