ASG reviews Frontera Fresco, elects new members to funding committee

Stephanie Haines, Reporter

Associated Student Government had a delayed start to Wednesday’s weekly Senate meeting after a select group of ASG representatives were invited to dinner at University President Morton Schapiro’s house Wednesday with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, following his speech earlier Wednesday afternoon.

When the meeting kicked off more than half an hour after its usual time, the Senate reviewed its preview of Frontera Fresco’s menu and elected six new account executive members to the Student Activities Finance Committee.

ASG members had dinner at Frontera Fresco in the Norris University Center on Wednesday night, two days before the restaurant’s scheduled Friday opening. At the start of the meeting, Julie Payne-Kirchmeier, assistant vice president for student auxiliary services asked the senators for feedback about their preview experience. Some students suggested potential problems, such as the food being too expensive to purchase regularly or meals taking too long to prepare.

Payne-Kirchmeier addressed the issue of cost, saying one of the reasons it is difficult to keep prices low is because the food is local, and thus more expensive.

“We will work with them on some of those,” Payne-Kirchmeier said about some of the feedback. “We will continue to put this in the overall assessment of the food program.”

After dinner, Senate held elections for SAFC. Three non-senators were elected to the SAFC, including Weinberg junior Amrit Kanesa-Thasan, McCormick sophomore Jason Arnold and Weinberg junior Siddiq Ather. Senators Weinberg junior Tori Zuzelo, Communication sophomore Sean Earley and Weinberg junior Sofia Sami were also elected to the committee.

ASG financial vice president Girish Pendse said SAFC’s goal is to allocate money from the student activities fee that all students pay in tuition to student groups and oversee their spending.

The Weinberg senior said he thinks the six new account executives are “energetic and enthusiastic.”

Following the elections, senators introduced B-status student groups funding recommendations for winter quarter. They will be voted on at next weeks’ meeting as old business. The process is the same as A-status funding, which includes senator voting on allocation recommendations from an ASG committee.

ASG Senate speaker Ani Ajith said the executive board plans to visit all residence halls and residential colleges with Residential Services executive director Paul Riel to survey living conditions in the buildings. Ajith said this is an “aggressive” move on their part, as they plan to visit two halls per week and check in with Riel on the progress of improving conditions. Elder Residential Community and Kemper Hall were two pilot residential buildings surveyed Fall Quarter, Ajith said.

Two new business items were brought up during the meeting. The first was an amendment to extend the application deadline for the service and community engagement grant from Jan. 1 to Feb.1, allowing students applying more time to solidify their service plans.

The second piece of new business proposes a new rule be added to the election guidelines to increase election transparency. The proposed rule will make sure students seeking to run for a campus-wide elected ASG position must formally declare their intention of running before meeting with campus leaders and administrators to build their platforms. Steven Monacelli, ASG community relations vice president, said this decreases the gray area for potential candidates and their different interpretations for campaigning.

“In the election season, it is basically a necessary component of running a campaign that a candidate meets with student leaders in their process of building a platform, but it is also essentially a mode of campaigning,” the Communication senior and former Daily staffer said. “We want to make sure everyone is on the same playing field.”

Despite the delay due to the president’s dinner, Wednesday’s meeting ended slightly after 10 p.m. as scheduled. ASG president Victor Shao said about 70 NU students, administrators, faculty, alumni and Mayor Emanuel’s people were in attendance at the dinner.

“It’s Emanuel’s birthday tomorrow, so we had cake and candles for him and then we sang,” the Weinberg senior said.