Meet ASG presidential candidates Christian Wade and Ada Ogbonna


Photo courtesy of Adaeze Ogbonna

In Associated Student Government’s second virtual election cycle, Christian Wade and Ada Ogbonna are running for president and vice president, respectively.

Jacquelyne Germain, Assistant Campus Editor

SESP junior Christian Wade said he had wanted to enter Associated Student Government’s presidential race since he came to Northwestern, but felt deterred by wanting to take a break during his senior year. 

However, the idea of making meaningful change at NU kept eating away at him, Wade said. So when Medill sophomore Adaeze Ogbonna suggested he run, he agreed without hesitation. 

“I knew that if I didn’t run I was always going to regret it,” Wade said. 

After ASG’s sole presidential slate dropped out of the race on Monday, Wade and Ogbonna officially announced their candidacy to run for president and vice president, respectively. Later this week, the pair will release their campaign platform and participate in a Tuesday town hall co-hosted by For Members Only, Northwestern’s Black Student Alliance. 

Wade and Ogbonna will face off against McCormick and Communication sophomore Sahibzada Mayed and Bienen and Communication sophomore McKenna Troy in this year’s election, with voting scheduled to begin on Thursday at 7 p.m. and end on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Wade is currently ASG’s Campus Life Chair and Ogbonna is the African Students Association Senator, and both have been part of ASG since their freshman year. Last year they worked together on ImproveNU, a competition run by ASG that allows student teams to pitch ideas to better NU and compete for University funding. Wade said last year’s competition was the most successful ImproveNU project in history, seeing the most applicants, teams and funding for the event. 

Ogbonna said she and Wade are committed to having an inclusive platform that every student has a stake in. Their platform focuses on making ASG more accessible to the student body, supporting marginalized students and holding administrators accountable. She added that their platform centers justice, equity and advocacy as broader values. 

A holistic approach

Wade said the slate is focused on ways to better advocate for marginalized students on campus. He said he hopes to make campus an equitable space for students to ensure that everyone has the resources they need to thrive. 

“It’s really important that our platform is something that not only has a lot of initiatives and a lot of opinions and desires, but is also something that is feasible and it’s not just a bunch of empty promises,” he said. 

To ensure their platform is as inclusive as possible, Wade and Ogbonna said they have met with Rainbow Alliance , Alianza and FMO, among other student groups.  

Wade also said he hopes to hold administrators as well as those involved with ASG accountable to the student body. The University should take student demands to heart and listen to students who are actually impacted by certain policies on campus, he added.

Opening ASG to students

Wade said he wants to make ASG more of community-oriented and student-oriented space. He added that once people enter ASG, they become insulated in a “bubble” that excludes the larger student community.

“For too long ASG has been for the people that have been a part of ASG, and ASG is supposed to represent the student body and what you need to do when you’re creating a platform is talk to the student body,” Ogbonna added. 

Weinberg junior Margot Bartol, ASG’s Policy Research Chair, said she’s spoken in-depth with Wade and Ogbonna about making the organization more accessible to all students.

ASG’s foundational structure has not changed in decades in a way that shuts out students from participating, Bartol said. 

“A lot of the ASG reform based (initiatives) are looking to tighten the relationship between ASG and students and making sure it’s a lot more linear,” she said.

To encourage more interaction and engagement between ASG and the student body, Wade said the slate plans to institute office hour requirements for senators. They will also urge executive board members to meet with student groups and host roundtable discussions before crafting their term initiatives for the year, he added. 

Ogbonna said she wants to facilitate a comfortable environment where students would feel comfortable seeing her around campus and bringing up issues that ASG should evaluate. 

At the end of their term, Wade said he hopes people can look back and say that he and Ogbonna improved Northwestern and made a positive impact on campus.

“We’re both here because we want to serve the student body, we want to help uplift people and give students voices who have otherwise been ignored by administration, by ASG,” Wade said. “I think our goal to really just make an impact and help to get everyone engaged with ASG as a whole.”

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @jacquygermain 

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