ASG student activities VP selected in first competitive election


Lauren Duquette/Daily Senior Staffer

Student group leaders learn about University resources at the Student Organization Symposium. After the symposium, student groups elected Rose Gambrah as the vice president for student activities.

Erica Snow, Assistant Campus Editor

Student group leaders elected Weinberg sophomore Rose Gambrah as vice president for student activities in the position’s first-ever competitive election, Associated Student Government announced Tuesday.

Last year was the first time groups at the Student Organization Symposium elected someone for the position, when then-Weinberg junior Parag Dharmavarapu was the only person on the ballot. Gambrah ran for the position — essentially ASG’s liaison between student groups and student government — against Weinberg sophomore Jake Rothstein and SESP sophomore Josh O’Neil.

Gambrah said she has been involved in ASG since her freshman year, previously serving as a senator for the African Students Association and working for the Student Activities Resources Committee, which is chaired by the vice president for student activities.

“(The election) makes this decision more validated,” Gambrah said. “People want to do this. People have initiative that they want to bring to this job. It humbles me, the fact that people think I’m the student who’s going to do the best job.”

Before ASG amended its constitution last May, the position was filled by a nomination from a selection committee and confirmation from Senate, like most other cabinet positions.

Dharmavarapu said the election last year was “symbolic,” with the intention of developing into a multi-candidate process in future years. He added that allowing student groups to choose the vice president for student activities is more fair because student groups should have a direct say in their representative, especially after the news that administrators want to move toward open admissions policies for most student groups.

“I’m glad multiple people are running just because it gives it more mandate,” Dharmavarapu said before the vote.

Student groups elected Gambrah after the three candidates made speeches at the symposium, held last Monday and last Thursday. The symposium was a required event for University-recognized student groups and hosted by Northwestern Student Organizations & Activities to train student leaders about using University resources.

Three people have held the vice presidential position since last year’s election. McCormick junior Macs Vinson filled the role first as interim vice president in September after Dharmavarapu left campus for an internship. SESP junior Annabel Liou, the current interim vice president, took on the role after Vinson became executive vice president in April.

Gambrah will be sworn in at Senate on Wednesday and is the last executive board member to take office for next year.

Vinson said the vice president for student activities must strike a balance between working with the student activities resources committee and other key executive members, such as the vice president for A-status and B-status finances.

“They’re effectively responsible for student groups,” Vinson said. “That triumvirate will be instrumental in pushing forward things like funding reform but also making sure that communication with student groups are going well and making sure any initiatives that are going to affect student groups are represented.”

Gambrah said her focus now is to recruit a committee passionate about helping student groups.

“(To the) people who didn’t vote for me, I want to be a resource for them and show them I’m the person for this job,” Gambrah said. “I just want this committee to be as functioning as possible and for all student groups to just be thankful that there is this resource and we actually do things to help students.”

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