Q&A: Student body president Christian Wade discusses next steps, student advocacy and ASG return to campus

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Photo Courtesy of Christian Wade

ASG President Christian Wade discussed next steps in office and ASG’s return to campus in the fall.

Yunkyo Kim, Campus Editor

SESP junior Christian Wade and Medill sophomore Adaeze Ogbonna won the Associated Student Government’s presidential race in a landslide on May 1 and were officially sworn in the following week. Their victory came after a full remote school year where some students called for accountability from the University and for racial justice within ASG. Wade spoke with The Daily to discuss next steps in office, student advocacy and ASG’s return to campus. This interview was edited for clarity and brevity. 

The Daily: How are you spending your first days in office? 

Wade: I’m really just focused on starting on our initiatives, so we’ve so far been busy trying to put together our cabinets, trying to fill like the chairs of different committees. A big update that we’re planning on doing is delegating relevant and appropriate initiatives to them so that way it’s not just like us two working on the 40 plus initiatives in our platforms. We can take on the ones that are most important to us and delegate the rest to the chair so I think that’s been our biggest point. Once we have our cabinet in place, we’ll get to work.  

The Daily: You campaigned on six large platforms ranging from supporting student advocacy to ASG reform. What initiatives are you prioritizing your first days in office? 

Wade: I couldn’t really pick out the most important ones, but obviously there are some that are more timely than others. COVID-19 is going to be very important to try to tackle now. That’s what we really want to have in place by fall. Even now, if you look at the transportation reimbursement to get the vaccine for low income students so that people are getting vaccinated now, we want to try to add that in as soon as possible. We’re also looking at advocacy. There’s the protest policy we want to try to change now because protests are happening now, and also looking at the organizing grant on that. People are protesting. People are going to protest. So you want to try to have that in place sooner rather than later. 

The Daily: Since the undergraduate representative to the Presidential Search Committee is ASG’s Academic Chair, how do you plan to advocate for the student body in selecting the next University president? 

Wade: If ASG is involved in any proceedings, we definitely want to ensure that anything that we do is open to the rest of the students, whether that is trying to invite student groups to these meetings or if we can’t do that then publicizing the meeting notes or meeting minutes. So I think it really depends on how much involvement we have in the process. Any leverage we can pull to to make the process more transparent and open to students — we’re definitely going to try to do that. 

The Daily: Your platform states that it seeks to ensure activists have resources and support to communicate their demands and priorities to the administration. How does your leadership want to support advocacy, particularly pertaining to NU Community Not Cops and police abolition on campus?

Wade: The organizers are far more knowledgeable about the issues and their demands. So, how can we use our pipeline and any connections we have to facilitate them getting more face-to-face meetings with admin? There hasn’t been a key chance for organizers to communicate with the administrators, so facilitating those meetings is going to be key.

The Daily: The University has announced its plans to operate in-person instruction for undergraduates in the fall. How do you plan to steer ASG’s leadership during this transition?

Wade: It helps that both me and Ada were a part of ASG before the pandemic, so we can see how it looks in the physical setting. We want to be cognizant of the impact that physical space has on people with different identities, specifically marginalized identities. So we want to take a look at the way that we have used physical space in the Senate meetings in person and how we’re going to make those meetings more accessible.

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