Deitchman, Patel aim to increase transparency, serve students

Weinberg+juniors+Ronak+Patel+and+Alex+Deitchman+discuss+their+campaign+plans.+Deitchman+and+Patel+will+compete+against+Weinberg+juniors+Julia+Watson+and+Erik+Zorn+in+the+Associated+Student+Government+elections+for+the+2014-15+school+year.
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Deitchman, Patel aim to increase transparency, serve students

Weinberg juniors Ronak Patel and Alex Deitchman discuss their campaign plans. Deitchman and Patel will compete against Weinberg juniors Julia Watson and Erik Zorn in the Associated Student Government elections for the 2014-15 school year.

Weinberg juniors Ronak Patel and Alex Deitchman discuss their campaign plans. Deitchman and Patel will compete against Weinberg juniors Julia Watson and Erik Zorn in the Associated Student Government elections for the 2014-15 school year.

Annabel Edwards/Daily Senior Staffer

Weinberg juniors Ronak Patel and Alex Deitchman discuss their campaign plans. Deitchman and Patel will compete against Weinberg juniors Julia Watson and Erik Zorn in the Associated Student Government elections for the 2014-15 school year.

Annabel Edwards/Daily Senior Staffer

Annabel Edwards/Daily Senior Staffer

Weinberg juniors Ronak Patel and Alex Deitchman discuss their campaign plans. Deitchman and Patel will compete against Weinberg juniors Julia Watson and Erik Zorn in the Associated Student Government elections for the 2014-15 school year.

Tyler Pager, Assistant Campus Editor

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Alex Deitchman never planned to run for Associated Student Government president.

However, in an effort to better serve the student body, Deitchman decided to step out of his comfort zone as ASG senator to ensure students had “a wide range of strong candidates.” Deitchman and his running mate, Ronak Patel, are aiming to increase transparency, reduce stigma surrounding mental health and guarantee that students have equal representation in Senate. The pair both serve currently as off-campus senators, and Deitchman is the off-campus caucus whip.

“Many issues at this University stem from a lack of transparency and information,” Patel said. “I think that is something we can definitely help enhance over the next year if we were elected.”

Their platform focuses on student groups and engagement, diversity and inclusion, the alcohol policy and reforms to the way Northwestern handles sexual assault and misconduct. Patel said the pair wants to increase funding particularly for new events and new student groups. As a result, if elected, the pair said they want to reserve 5 to 10 percent of the Senate Project Pool for new groups and events.

“We’re here not to put our own agendas on the table or put our own two cents into everything, but give those students who have the ideas and have that vision to get them the tools they need and to serve their interests as opposed to serving our own personal interests or ASG’s interests,” Patel said.

Outside of ASG, Deitchman serves as the president of the Northwestern University Veterans Association. Patel is a peer adviser and leads the public relations team for Northwestern University Model United Nations. Patel also served as the president of Delta Upsilon fraternity last year.

Although Deitchman transferred to NU during Winter Quarter 2013, he immediately became involved in ASG. He said one of his first tasks involved helping to write a letter following the mass shooting in Sandy Hook, CT, calling on representatives to support gun control in an effort to make college campuses safer. Although he said he did not necessarily agree with the resolution from a political standpoint, he supported it because he felt that it was something that NU students backed.

“That was kind of my first brush with the idea that you’re not just there as you,” Deitchman said. “You’re not just there as an off-campus senator. You’re not just there as a student who happened to get selected by a committee. You’re there as a representative of every single undergraduate at Northwestern.”

Prior to coming to NU, Deitchman served in the United States Marine Corps from 2005 to 2010. He said this experience also prepared him to be a leader.

“(Being in the Marine Corps) gave me an insight into an aspect of leadership that is often overlooked,” he said. “You’re not just a leader to tell people what to do. You’re a leader to be there for people when they need you.”

Deitchman and Patel also stressed the need for ASG reform. With the failed attempts to improve the organization this year, they said it is important that ASG takes a new approach.

“ASG does not have a vested interest in allowing itself to change,” Deitchman said. “I feel like the best way to go about ASG reform is to lay four or five good ideas on the table and have a referendum and let the students decide. Ultimately, everyone in ASG is probably going to feel uneasy about changing the status quo for various reasons and for various legit reasons.”

Deitchman added that currently, all students are guaranteed to have at least one senator representing them based on where they live. However, he said some students have more representation based on their student groups and other extracurricular activities. He wants to ensure that students have equal representation.

ASG senator Adam Roth, who is serving as the campaign manager, said he supports Deitchman and Patel because of their leadership in and outside of ASG and their emphasis on communicating with the student body.

“Neither of them is confined to the ASG bubble,” the Weinberg junior said. “They look to the students to see what should be accomplished instead of just an exec board.”

Email: tylerpager2017@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @tylerpager

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