ASG seeks new speaker, begins work on 100-Day Plan


Tyler Pager/Daily Senior Staffer

Weinberg senior Matt Clarkston, Senate’s interim speaker, swears in new senators at Associated Student Government’s meeting Wednesday. Senate will elect a new speaker at its meeting next week.

Shane McKeon, Development and Recruitment Editor

Associated Student Government Senate prepared for a speaker race and began work on its second 100-Day Plan in its first meeting of the year Wednesday.

Weinberg senior Matt Clarkston, usually the body’s parliamentarian, served as interim speaker during the meeting, stepping in for Noah Whinston, the previous speaker.

Whinston announced Oct. 7 he was resigning from the position and dropping out of Northwestern to take a job in Los Angeles as the CEO of a professional gaming franchise.

“This is not my day job,” Clarkston said. “Obviously, we need a permanent replacement for the rest of the term.”

Last week, Clarkston told The Daily he planned to run for the speaker position, which will be elected by Senate at next Wednesday’s meeting.

The meeting was the first official Senate meeting since ASG released its 100-Day Plan for Fall Quarter. In part, the plan says student government will investigate McCormick students’ workload and how it affects mental health, as well as if reducing the school’s credit requirement could address the problem.

McCormick junior Jason Arkin killed himself in May and his mother, Karen Arkin, told The Daily her son said McCormick’s academic requirements were a major stressor in his life.

ASG President Noah Star said ASG was pushing for reform in the school before Arkin’s suicide.

“It’s been front and center for a while,” the Weinberg senior told The Daily. “It’s important that students in any school on this campus are mentally healthy.”

The plan also says ASG will work with University departments to expand its mental health campaign, Take Time.

McCormick junior Wendy Roldan, ASG vice president for student life, spearheads Take Time and said the program aims to help students navigate their options for seeking mental health support.

“It’s more to raise awareness and to help improve the state of mental wellness on our campus,” she told The Daily.

The plan also says the accessibility and inclusion committee will work to conduct trainings for senators and ASG executive board members focused on “identity-based social inequality.”

SESP junior Matt Herndon, ASG’s vice president for diversity and inclusion, said the committee hopes to expand the training to student group leaders in the future.

“We want it to be mandatory,” he told The Daily. “We need to target communities that have been historically not accessible for students of marginalized identities … I’d like to see most student groups do it.”

Herndon said the pilot training for ASG members will be conducted in January.

Senators also discussed their goals for the year, and Clarkston encouraged senators to write and introduce their own legislation. Recently most legislation has been written by students outside ASG, he said.

“But we don’t want (senators) to be intimidated by introducing your own legislation,” Clarkston said. “You should very much feel empowered to do so.”

Clarkston also swore in more than a dozen new senators, most of whom represent students who live on campus.

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