Letter to the Editor: Students should vote to ensure voices are heard

Victor Shao and Brad Stewart

As students, we are accountable for our own education and quality of life.  We fight hard for issues we believe in — the Living Wage Campaign, NU4DiversityNow and the New Student Center Initiative, to name a few.  As a student body, we are unrelenting in our efforts to make Northwestern the best University it can be.

But, the four years we spend here are defined by so much more than what happens on campus. Half of our student body lives off-campus. We frequent Evanston businesses, walk the streets and generate an inordinate amount of revenue for the city every time we have a home game. Yet, our voice often goes unnoticed beyond the “Northwestern bubble.”

Whether you live on- or off-campus, you are represented by an alderman on the Evanston City Council. If you live on campus and west of Sheridan Road (excluding Elder), you live in the 1st Ward. If you live on campus and east of Sheridan Road (including Elder) you are in the 7th Ward. If you live off-campus you are likely a resident of the 1st, 5th or 7th ward.  Yet, if history is any indication, few of us will vote in the Evanston aldermanic elections Tuesday.

Why should we care who represents us on the Evanston City Council?

For far too long, the student voice has been marginalized in Evanston politics. Students make up almost 10 percent of Evanston’s population, yet we struggle to consistently have our voices heard on issues such as the Brothel Law, off-campus lighting and many other decisions that impact students on a daily basis.

Most of the aldermen in this year’s election are running unopposed. But in Evanston’s 1st Ward, there is what will likely prove to be an incredibly close race between incumbent Judy Fiske and challenger Ed Tivador. We don’t want to tell you who to vote for, but please, do a little research on the candidates and vote for who you feel best represents your interests.  As students, we will only ever have our voice heard if we stand up and refuse to let politicians ignore us.

Historically, alderman elections have been decided by a very narrow margin of votes.  In 2009, the 1st Ward election was decided by less than 200 votes. Thousands of Northwestern students live in the 1st Ward. We can and should choose a representative who will lobby for us to the City Council.
More information on voting and your polling location can be found on the Cook County website. Vote Tuesday because we deserve to have our voice heard.


Victor Shao                         Brad Stewart
ASG President                    ASG Executive Vice President