Cilento, Vinson win ASG election
April 8, 2016
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Christina Cilento and Macs Vinson narrowly won the Associated Student Government election Friday and will serve as Northwestern’s new president and executive vice president.
Cilento, a SESP junior, and Vinson, a McCormick junior, won 47.78 percent of the 4,060 total votes. Cilento and Vinson beat Weinberg junior Joji Syed and Weinberg sophomore Archit Baskaran by 81 votes. Voter turnout far exceeded the 2,991 votes cast in 2015 and 1,758 in 2014.
Cilento said both tickets inspired students who had little previous interest in ASG to vote, which explained the close results.
“Students who feel marginalized really showed up to vote for us and students who are in Greek life and may not have normally cared about ASG really showed up to vote for them,” Cilento told The Daily after she found out the results. “When you think about it, that makes sense to me that there would be that close of a margin, that students would be inspired to be involved even if they hadn’t previously been.”
Weinberg junior Lauren Thomas, the election commissioner, told The Daily this is the highest voter turnout for ASG elections in “institutional memory.”
Thomas said she predicted it would be a tight race but was not anticipating the narrow margin with which Cilento and Vinson won, adding that the high turnout demonstrated how seriously both tickets took the election.
“I was shocked by how close it was,” Thomas said. “I did not think it was going to be within 100 votes.”
Cilento said finding out she won was “an out-of-body experience,” and that she envisioned larger change for campus.
“I thought that I would cry or be so overwhelmed. I feel surprisingly calm right now,” Cilento said. “Setting a campaign that is entirely centered around marginalized voices is incredibly hard to do at Northwestern. The fact that we did (win) really shows that Northwestern is ready for this kind of change.”
Cilento and Vinson’s campaign focused on improving opportunities and the culture on campus for marginalized students, pushing for widespread reform to make NU welcoming to the entire student body.
Cilento said she and Vinson plan to circle back to student groups they met with during their campaign as they set priorities for their term.
“Spring time is when we set ASG’s budget,” she said. “We’re really going to need to talk to groups like Quest (Scholars Network) and figure out what they need … to create stipends and scholarships.”
On the other side, Syed said she enjoyed meeting with students and was proud of the work her campaign team did over the past few months while preparing for the campaign.
Syed thanked all of her supporters and said she is excited to see what Cilento and Vinson accomplish.
“Since day one, I’ve said this is all about seizing the opportunity here and Northwestern is a place where you can do that,” she said. “We decided to do it through ASG and it didn’t work out, but I’m very proud of what we accomplished.”
Cilento and Vinson will officially assume their roles after being sworn in at ASG Senate on Wednesday.
In addition to the election of a new president and executive vice president, five off-campus senators were elected from six candidates after 1,815 votes were cast. McCormick freshman Aaron Kaplan, Weinberg sophomore Jake Rothstein, Weinberg junior Grant Klein, McCormick junior Natalie Ward and Weinberg junior Alec Blumenthal will also be sworn in Wednesday.
This story was updated with results from the off-campus senator election and a photo on Sunday, April 10 at 8:47 p.m.