Associated Student Government: The year in review


Daily file photo by Katie Pach

Sky Patterson speaks at ASG Senate.

Gabby Birenbaum, Assistant Summer Editor

While the political science majors show off their knowledge by discussing obscure house races and the politically-inclined check FiveThirtyEight every day as congressional midterm elections heat up in the fall, there’s another governing organization that all students should pay attention to — Northwestern’s Associated Student Government.

ASG, the body that represents the undergraduate population of Northwestern, is composed of everyone from freshmen making their first forays into student life to a seasoned executive board, led by ASG president Sky Patterson and executive vice president Emily Ash.

The Weinberg seniors, elected last April in a tight and often contentious race in which they received 49.2 percent of the vote to their opponents’ 42.25 percent of the vote, ran on a platform of wellbeing, academic equity and community development.

Their victory was not without drama — resignations from the majority of ASG’s accessibility and inclusion committee, captained by the losing executive vice presidential candidate, and the vice president for student activities occurred soon after the winning candidates took office. However, Patterson and Ash are moving into the 2018-2019 school year with a new executive board, chief of staff, speaker of the senate and parliamentarian, and Patterson told The Daily in April she plans to demonstrate integrity and treat everyone with respect.

In the past, Patterson, the former vice president for academics, said she helped expand the Books for Cats program, which loans textbooks to low-income students for STEM classes, and created a trans-inclusivity guide for faculty.

ASG had a busy 2017-2018, enacting structural changes with far-reaching resonance and passing resolutions supporting various causes. In April, ASG Senate, which meets weekly, voted to overhaul its student organization funding system, something former ASG president Nehaarika Mulukutla said was a goal of six prior administrations. In June, Senate passed seat apportionment reform, allotting ASG seats on the basis of undergraduate school rather than housing district.

Earlier in the year, ASG passed a sexual assault training mandate for student organizations, hosted a pitch competition called Improve NU and created Wellness Week to foster conversation and provide tools regarding students’ mental and sexual health.

ASG plans to recruit new members in the fall. Whether you want to represent your undergraduate school as a senator, use your expertise in public relations, technology and a myriad of other topics in a committee or simply observe from afar, ASG will continue to attempt serve your needs as a student.

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Read more from the 2018 Orientation Issue here.