Associated Student Government nonverbal campaigns officially launch

The campaigns for David Harris and Josephine Lee (left), Ani Ajith and Alex Van Atta (top right) and Benison Choi (bottom right) kicked off at 12:01 a.m. Monday. Aaron Zelikovich and Henry Brooke (not pictured) also began their campaign, with a private event.

Photos by Skylar Zhang, Melody Song and Cat Zakrzewski

The campaigns for David Harris and Josephine Lee (left), Ani Ajith and Alex Van Atta (top right) and Benison Choi (bottom right) kicked off at 12:01 a.m. Monday. Aaron Zelikovich and Henry Brooke (not pictured) also began their campaign, with a private event.

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The four tickets for Associated Student Government president and executive vice president officially kicked off their campaigns early Monday morning, gathering for launch parties and publishing websites and social media accounts.

The four candidates, who had to gather at least 300 signatures by 5 p.m. Friday to run, were allowed to campaign verbally over the weekend but were forbidden from flyering, chalking or publishing online communications until 12:01 a.m. Monday. The election will be held April 19.

Weinberg juniors Aaron Zelikovich and Henry Brooke, SESP junior Benison Choi and Weinberg junior Danny Kim, SESP juniors David Harris and Jo Lee, and Weinberg junior Ani Ajith and McCormick junior Alex Van Atta are the four tickets that will be on the ballot April 19.

Each of the presidential candidates brings leadership experience from both inside ASG and out. Harris is wrapping up a two-year stint as services vice president and also served as public relations co-chair for Dance Marathon. Ajith finished his term as Speaker of the Senate on Wednesday and is the president of Delta Tau Delta. Zelikovich has served as ASG’s Greek caucus whip and sits on the Sodexo student board of directors. Choi has been a senator, served on multiple ASG committees and is active in Project Wildcat and Camp Kesem.

Campaigning also began Monday in races for academic vice president and student life vice president. Weinberg junior Sofia Sami is running unopposed for academic vice president and Bienen freshman Harrison Flagler will take on Communication junior Anna Kottenstette, a Daily staffer, for student life vice president.

The presidential campaigns kicked off at four separate launch events late Sunday night and early Monday morning.

Ajith launched his campaign Sunday night at The Black House with about 20 members of his core campaign team. He said he and Van Atta were running because they could offer both “experience and perspective.” He said he would focus on student engagement as president.

“It’s about being a friend and an ally to every single group on campus,” Ajith said. “We want to make sure ASG is a partner and not an obstacle.”

Harris launched his campaign Sunday night at The McCormick Tribune Center, where he and his running mate gave speeches and strategized with about 100 members of their campaign team.

“ASG has an immense opportunity to improve the Northwestern student experience in tangible ways,” Harris said. “But it consistently underperforms. We’re running to address the gap.”

After spending a year without participating in ASG to observe the student government as an outsider, Choi said he decided to run to shake up the status quo and give students more hands-on involvement in ASG’s work. About 15 students gathered Monday morning at The Rock, which Choi’s team had guarded for 48 hours to ensure they were the first candidates to paint.

“ASG should be working to have everyone work together, but it serves as a roadblock to student organizations and progress in general,” he said. “I’m here to bring it back to the people.”

Zelikovich chose to have a private launch event Sunday at Hillel. Also removed from ASG for a year, he said his time in other student groups gave him a fresh perspective on the organization.

“The issue with ASG isn’t that it doesn’t do anything, but that it’s an inside-out organization,” Zelikovich said. “We want to make it an outside-in organization.”

ASG will host debates for each of the positions. The debates for student life vice president and academic vice president will be Thursday and Friday, respectively. The debates for executive vice president and president will be April 15 and 16, respectively. All debates are at 7:30 p.m.

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