Grow-Vicens ASG presidential campaign focuses on safety, accessibility and student voices

A brown-haired girl and brown-haired man sit on a bench in front of colorful paintings.

Courtesy of Camila Vicens

Grow and Vicens sit on a bench in Main Library. The pair have won the 2022 ASG presidential election.

Alex Perry, Newsroom Strategist

Weinberg junior David Grow and Weinberg sophomore Camila Vicens are running for Associated Student Government president and vice president, respectively, in this week’s election. 

While Vicens is a newcomer to ASG, Grow currently serves as the College Republicans senator and sits on the Finance Committee, where he helps evaluate rules regarding fund allocations. The slate’s platform lists campus safety, mental health resources and transparency between students, ASG and the administration as priorities.When picking a running mate, Grow said he prioritized bringing in a new voice. 

“The student government lately hasn’t been a government for the students,” Grow said. “It seems as if they’re ruling from above, almost. That’s not the way a student government should be running at all.” 

The pair will partake in the ASG presidential debate from 7:45 to 8:30 p.m. on April 12 in a livestreamed debate hosted by Northwestern News Network and The Daily. Voting opens on Wildcat Connection at 7 p.m. on Thursday and will close at 7 p.m. Saturday. 

Campus safety

According to its platform, an integral part of the slate’s campaign is improving campus safety by rethinking student services like Safe Ride, a late-night rideshare option offered by the University. The service is available every day from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. 

“A lot of students on this campus have extremely long wait times for Safe Ride, to the point where it isn’t even a feasible method of getting home,” Vicens said. “When you’re in a precarious situation, it is not a reliable source for students.”

Vicens said she and Grow have reached out to similar universities to learn how their rideshare services operate and figure out if it’s possible to workshop Safe Ride to better fit student needs.  

The pair is also focused on increasing administrative transparency regarding student safety incidents, specifically crime notices. Vicens said improving communication between administrators and students is paramount to the pair’s platform, and is a particular concern for her after being consistently left in the dark.

“We really want to see more accountability from the University when it comes to their responses to student safety crises,” Vicens said. 

Mental health and internet accessibility 

One of Grow and Vicens’ campaign policies advocates for extended hours at Counseling and Psychological Services, making counseling available on the weekends and increasing overall staffing.

“​CAPS mental health services at Northwestern is both woefully understaffed and under-resourced,” the slate’s platform reads. “As a campus that is dedicated to supporting its students, Northwestern has done a lackluster job in this area.”

If elected, Grow and Vicens plan to boost lecture accessibility by promoting a policy that would encourage professors to record lectures. Their platform also seeks to improve eduroam, NU’s student internet network. 

Vicens said students rely on eduroam to engage with clubs, social media and classes. She said the network’s range should extend to the Lakefill and be improved in areas like the sorority quad. 

“It becomes an issue of equity and accessibility,” Vicens said. “Having good Wi-Fi on all areas of campus is imperative for students to be engaged within our campus and within the curriculum. It’s just so foundational.”

A new University President

With University President Morton Schapiro leaving before the fall, Grow and Vicens expect to work with his successor, Rebecca Blank, if voted into office. Vicens said if elected, the pair plans to establish a strong relationship between students and the new administration.

“We want to make sure that there is an open line of communication between the students and  the incoming president,” Grow said. 

Grow and Vicens plan to streamline the process for submitting student concerns about the University policies by hosting regular meetings with student organizations. They also intend to host student forums and panels to make concerns easily accessible for the governing body. 

Although Grow has prior experience as a senator, he maintains he brings a unique perspective because he believes power is distributed from the executive board. 

“We’re really just trying to focus on all students,” Grow said. “Any student can come to us and tell us, ‘This is important.’ We will try our best to do what we can for everybody at the school.”

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