The Daily Northwestern

Meet the Candidates: Sami, Kottenstette, Flagler run for ASG executive board

Jeanne Kuang, Assistant Campus Editor

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Sofia Sami, running for academic vice president

Associated Student Government academic vice presidential candidate Sofia Sami views all her classes with a critical eye.

The Weinberg junior, who is running unopposed, stresses a curriculum focused on involvement, whether it be through capstone experiences that give students chances to apply classroom skills in the world or the integration of student group involvement with the academic sphere.

In the past year, Sami was an ASG coalition senator for student groups and is a current member of the diversity and inclusion committee, the academic committee and the student activities and finance committee.

It was through these experiences that Sami realized the passion of her fellow students, she said.

“There are very few students that you’ll find that are very passionate about their classes, per se,” she said. “But you’ll find them very passionate about almost everything else they do. Why is there such a huge divide between these two parts of our lives as students?”

Sami dislikes using the term “extracurricular” to describe student activities and student groups. Instead, she hopes to encourage a curriculum that allows academics and application to intersect.

Although Sami said she wishes she could experience a contested campaign, running unopposed has allowed her to have more productive meetings in the past week.

“I’m not really campaigning so much as I am getting very literal and visceral feedback from students about what they want me to work on if I’m elected,” she said.

Anna Kottenstette, running for student life vice president

Communication junior and Daily staffer Anna Kottenstette, an ASG student life vice presidential candidate, does not hesitate to share her unusual experience as a Northwestern student.

“I came here as a freshman biological sciences major, really gung-ho,” she said. “I honestly just didn’t know what to expect. I was really overwhelmed. I involved myself in too much stuff too fast.”

Kottenstette left NU to spend a semester at the University of Iowa. She said she returned to NU her sophomore year with renewed vigor, experimenting with her major and joining groups on campus. She became involved with ASG that year when she applied to be on Alex Van Atta’s student life committee.

She currently serves on that committee, as well as the athletic advisory and university parking advisory committees.

Kottenstette is running on a platform of “collaboration, facilitation and integration” based on increased efforts on ASG’s part to work with student groups, to reach out to students to hear their concerns and to combine their ideas with administrators’ resources.

She brings to her campaign an emphasis on student wellness and safety, including an idea for a “Wildcat Wellness Day.”

“We can highlight the resources that Northwestern has in terms of safety, in terms of mental health, in terms of just physical health,” she said. She also wants to make campus resources more readily available, suggesting a wellness center or relaxation room in Norris University Center for students who are stressed.

Speaking about her campaign so far, Kottenstette said she has enjoyed meeting with students and groups to find out their interests.

“I’ve been able to talk to a lot of people, and in the coming week I’ll be talking to more people … just making sure I have a good idea of what students want,” she said.

Harrison Flagler, running for student life vice president

Bienen freshman Harrison Flagler believes that when running for ASG student life vice president, he makes up for his young age with concrete results.

Flagler, a senator for North Mid-Quads Hall and South Mid-Quads Hall, was head of a committee this year that toured all the dorms on campus to look for potential improvements. He was also heavily involved in the resolution calling for University transparency in the disaffiliation of Chabad House.

Flagler is unfazed that he is a freshman running against a junior for a top position — in fact, he embraces it.

“It’s important as a freshman to bring this sort of idealism that ASG needs to be fixed,” he said. “It needs bold change. It needs a fresh mind.”

Flagler said he is dedicated to making ASG an organization that serves student interests. His campaign team is composed almost entirely of students who are uninvolved with student government, he said, and he considers himself an outsider voice uninterested in a “top-down model.”

“What we bring to this table is this sort of pragmatic view of knowing we’re students. We’re not within ASG,” he said. “Maybe if an idea were presented to ASG and ASG said, ‘We can’t do this because of administration and such and such,’ I’m with a group of people who says, ‘Why not?’”

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About the Writer
Jeanne Kuang, In Focus Editor

Jeanne is a Medill senior studying journalism and political science. Her past positions at The Daily include managing editor and campus editor. The...