A guide to Associated Student Government, Northwestern’s body of student representatives


Illustration by Olivia Abeyta

Whether through launching a Senate campaign or joining a committee, all new NU students have the opportunity to become involved with these efforts.

Maia Pandey, Senior Staffer

Alongside dozens of student organizations, incoming Northwestern students have the opportunity to become involved with Associated Student Government during Fall Quarter. Ahead of the fall election cycle, here’s a guide to everything you need to know about NU’s body of student representatives.

ASG is composed of three separate branches: the cabinet, the Senate and committees. The cabinet is ASG’s executive branch, led by President Jason Hegelmeyer and Vice President Donovan Cusick, who were elected with more than 70% of the vote in spring 2022. 

While the president and vice president are elected in a student body-wide vote, the remaining members of the cabinet apply for their positions and are selected by an internal committee. 

Alongside a treasurer and chief of staff, the Executive Office includes newer positions like an executive officer of accountability and executive officer of justice and inclusion — created as a part of ongoing efforts to make ASG a more diverse and accessible body.

The Senate houses representatives from various student groups and each NU school. School senators are elected each fall, and freshmen are eligible to run for these positions. Each school receives a certain number of senators proportional to its size.

Student groups must apply for a seat. Groups that hold seats range from For Members Only, NU’s premier Black student organization, to Fossil Free NU, a group advocating for University divestment from fossil fuel. In efforts to make the body more accessible to student activists, ASG recently lifted internal rules regulating which student groups can gain Senate representation.

Senators meet weekly throughout the academic year to discuss campus issues and vote on legislation. Any student can write legislation, though a senator must co-sponsor it to ensure a Senate vote. 

Finally, ASG has 10 committees: academics, analytics, campus life, communications, community relations, finance, health and wellness, justice and inclusion, policy research and sustainability. Committee chairs are appointed in the spring, but any student can join an ASG committee — including freshmen.

Committees are also instrumental in brainstorming and authoring legislation. While not all ASG legislation is enacted, ASG leaders advocate for approved legislation in meetings with University administrators. Some recent ASG legislation that has come to fruition has included initiatives to serve ice cream in dining halls and to expand NU’s Gender and Sexuality Resource Center. 

While ASG’s visibility was a prominent debate topic during the spring election cycle, the organization tangibly impacts the student body in several ways beyond passing legislation. ASG controls more than $1 million of student group funding, and the Senate votes every year on how to allocate the resources.

This fall, the group is soft-launching a meal plan donation program, through which students can donate excess Dining Dollars to food-insecure and low-income community members. ASG has also worked to launch a grant for Indigenous and Native American students, which will see its first application cycle this fall. 

As the Senate looks toward another election cycle, the executive office has already voiced several priorities for the upcoming year. Hegelmeyer and Cusick’s campaign pledges included initiatives to support students of marginalized identities, address the spread of COVID-19 on campus and voice student concerns in initial meetings with Patrica Lampkin, interim vice president of student affairs. 

Whether through launching a Senate campaign or joining a committee, all new NU students have the opportunity to become involved with these efforts. And for students simply interested in keeping up to date, The Daily covers all of ASG’s weekly Senate meetings, as well as various committee initiatives and its annual election.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @maiapandey

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