New ASG committee to grant $5,000 for campus improvement proposal

Tom Meyer

Associated Student Government elected a committee Wednesday night to determine which proposals for campus improvement will be eligible for a $5,000 grant from the ASG Senate.

The six committee members will evaluate suggestions from the Northwestern community as part of the 5K Initiative, a program intended to help students engage with ASG.

“The point was really to allow students to be able to enhance their NU experience, but also find ways to enhance others’ NU experiences,” ASG president Austin Young said. “There’s so many ways for this money to be spent. We want to open it up to the students to come up with and vote on ideas.”

The committee will include three members of ASG: Weinberg junior Amalia Namath, Weinberg junior Ian Coley and Weinberg senior and ASG vice president Ash Jaidev. It will also include three students who do not serve on ASG: Medill junior Brad Stewart, Weinberg junior Ellie Graham and McCormick senior Sahil Mehta.

The ASG Senate selected the non-ASG students during the meeting from a group of six NU students in attendance.

Young said the mix of ASG and non-ASG students was intentional in order to ensure the voices of students are heard.

“I think it’s imperative,” said Young, a Weinberg senior. “I couldn’t picture the committee any other way.”

The committee will begin reviewing student proposals for projects or services once the application process begins Monday. NU community members can submit ideas online and may submit as many proposals as they wish, Young said. Anyone with a NetID, including faculty members and students, can enter proposals, but only students will be able to vote.

Once the committee vets and selects the best proposals, the ASG Senate will vote to put those ideas on a ballot that will then be open for vote by the student body.

“It seems like the committee is a great group of people with very diverse backgrounds on campus,” Namath said after she was elected. “They all seem to bring good perspectives and ideas.”

Namath said she has been invested in the initiative since she worked on Young and Jaidev’s campaign during ASG elections last year.

When first considering running for president, Young said, he and others looked to other universities for ideas and found the 5K Initiative at Yale.

“We’re committed to really grounding ASG in the students, and I think this does a good job of accomplishing that,” Young said.

Jaidev said the creation of the committee is the continuation of Young’s campaign promise.

“This initiative came about during the campaign and from there we made it part of the platform,” Jaidev said. “We really wanted to get students involved in a positive way, so I’m glad we were able to get $5,000 for it.”

In addition to the money ASG has devoted to the initiative, NU vice president of Student Affairs Patricia Telles-Irvin has pledged to match the funding, allowing a second proposal to be approved in the spring.

Overall student reaction to the new initiative has been overwhelmingly positive, Young said.

“Word of mouth has been really encouraging,” he said. “The people I talk to say that it’s really neat that they have the opportunity to impact their school.”

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Editor’s note: This article incorrectly stated one of the committee members. The article has been updated to reflect the change.