Sid Ahuja elected ASG vice president for student activities


Source: Sid Ahuja

Sid Ahuja. The McCormick sophomore was elected to be the new ASG vice president for student activities.

Gabby Birenbaum, Assistant Campus Editor

As one of the leaders and planners of the Improve NU Challenge — a pitch competition for student ideas to improve campus — McCormick sophomore Sid Ahuja said he enjoyed providing students with the tools they needed to implement their ideas.

In his new role as Associated Student Government’s vice president for student activities, Ahuja plans to continue creating opportunities for students. Ahuja, who ran unopposed, was elected to the position by student leaders on May 8.

“My goal (with Improve NU) really was to impact students and give them an outlet to do whatever they want,” Ahuja said. “I see myself working with these student groups to provide resources, helping them deal with challenges that they face. I can directly support students.”

Ahuja, who transferred from the University of Texas at Austin this year, joined the public relations committee in the fall, where he worked directly with former vice president for public relations Emily Ash, who now serves as ASG’s executive vice president. Ahuja worked on the Improve NU Challenge during the fall and winter, helping to secure the support of administrators and stage the competition, he said.

ASG President Sky Patterson said Ahuja’s involvement with Improve NU gives her confidence in his ability to serve as vice president for student activities.

“He helped with Improve NU, which was a really big project,” Patterson said. “That shows a level of competency. Also, he was elected by student leaders — not Senate — which shows that the people who he’s gonna be working with have confidence in him.”

Ahuja’s election completed ASG’s 2018-19 executive board, after nine vice presidents were confirmed on May 2. He said he wants to emphasize collaboration among the vice presidents during his tenure.

If he is working with a student group to create a safe space, for example, Ahuja said he would join forces with vice president for campus life Peter Hillenbrand. Ahuja added that it is also important for him to consult with vice president for accessibility and inclusion Tyler Washington.

Ahuja said he wants to help achieve Patterson’s campaign goal of providing stipends to student leaders who may have to choose between giving their time to a student group and getting a job or doing work study for financial stability.

Additionally, Ahuja said he hopes to hold quarterly forums for student groups with similar missions to address mutual goals and obstacles.

“A lot of groups face similar challenges,” Ahuja said. “(Hosting forums) could be very valuable — talking to each other and learning about the challenges that we face, how we deal with them and what can I do to help them resolve those challenges.”

In late April, former vice president for student activities Alecia Richards said she hopes her successor, who hadn’t been elected at the time, builds on the work her committee did. The Medill senior resigned last month, saying her views no longer aligned with those of ASG.

Richards also said the position must serve as an advocate for student groups in navigating University policies and must remain mindful of unfairness.

“I hope in the future that they can help student groups better plan events,” Richards said. “I hope that they promote equity and especially assist those groups on campus that serve marginalized students as a way of bettering the student experience as a whole.”

Jonah Dylan contributed reporting.

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