ASG holds Senate leadership elections, passes legislation on catering and mental health


Seeger Gray/The Daily Northwestern

Senators vote during Wednesday’s meeting.

Russell Leung, Assistant Campus Editor

Associated Student Government elected Weinberg sophomore Dylan Jost as speaker of the Senate and SESP sophomore Dalia Segal-Miller as parliamentarian at Wednesday’s meeting.

Jost, the incumbent speaker, and Hillel Senator Segal-Miller, who succeeded SESP sophomore Leah Ryzenman, both ran unopposed. They were sworn into their roles at the end of the meeting.

Segal-Miller previously served on the ASG Rules Committee and said her experience previously filling in as parliamentarian demonstrated she is qualified for the job.

“I know what it takes,” Segal-Miller said. “I know that not only can I do the job, but I really enjoy doing the job.”

In his speech, Jost touted his leadership during the four-hour ASG meeting on Palestinian human rights last May, as well as achievements like expanding the Senate for more diverse student representation and implementing ranked-choice voting for elections.

Jost said he hopes to implement more accountability for the Senate and improve communication between the legislative body and the rest of Northwestern.

“Senate has given me an opportunity each week to make a difference and improve the lives of others,” Jost said. “This job means the world to me, and this community has been a bright light over the past year.”

The Senate also passed two pieces of legislation, both without opposition. Communication sophomore Jordan Muhammad presented a proposal for ASG to adopt a DefaultVeg catering plan, which would establish plant-based foods as the default for ASG catered events.

The policy calls for 70% of catered food to be plant-based, with an exemption for pizza. Individuals must specifically request animal-based foods if the catering is divided into personal orders, and animal-based foods will be placed last in buffet lines.

Muhammad, a community ambassador for the DefaultVeg advocacy group along with Weinberg freshman Anna Dellit and SESP sophomore Lauren Walcott, said students can help substantially reduce their contribution to climate change by eating more plant-based foods. Ki added ASG would be the first student government in the U.S. to enact the policy.

“Serving plant-based meals by default is an inclusive way to promote sustainable eating while preserving freedom of choice for all diners,” Muhammad said. “DefaultVeg is not about forcing anyone to change their eating habits, but rather it merely helps shift our norms to help the planet, animals and ourselves.”

Weinberg Senator and sophomore Stephanie Shields also submitted a resolution asking the University to fully subsidize student subscriptions to mental health apps like Headspace and Calm. 

Shields cited the benefits of mental health routines like mindfulness techniques and the many cases Counseling and Psychological Services handles as reasons why the legislation would help students.

“Practices like meditation have been proven through research to be really beneficial to the mental health of anyone, in particular college students, nationwide,” Shields said.

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Twitter: @rjleung7

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