The Daily Explains: How do ASG Senate elections work?


Daily file illustration by Yunkyo Kim

Northwestern students can now vote for school senators for the Associated Student Government.

Pavan Acharya, Assistant Campus Editor

Associated Student Government kicked off its fall election Thursday night, and Northwestern undergraduate students can vote for their new school senators until 7 p.m. Saturday.

ASG is employing ranked-choice voting for the first time this year after passing legislation for the change in April. Students can rank candidates for senator positions on Wildcat Connection, and elected school senators will serve terms that last from Fall through Spring Quarter.

The distribution of Senate positions is proportionate to the number of students in each school. The Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences holds nine seats, the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science four seats, and the Bienen School of Music one seat. The School of Communication, the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications and the School of Education and Social Policy all hold two seats. Schools are not required to fill all allocated seats. 

There are 17 nominees for Weinberg, two for McCormick, none for Communication, four for Medill, three for SESP and one for Bienen.

ASG Senate meets every Wednesday to discuss and vote on proposed legislation. The senators also vote on funding decisions related to the Student Activities Finance Committee.

“These elections are very important,” Speaker of the Senate and Weinberg junior Dylan Jost said. “Senators are going to be the ones voting on a lot of important legislation.”

Jost said students should expect their senators to participate in all Senate meetings, propose ideas in the Senate and listen to their constituents. 

ASG also hosts Senate seats for 17 student groups. Jost said the selection process for student organizations typically occurs between Winter Quarter and Spring Quarter, and the groups who are granted a seat then select their own ASG representatives. Student organization senator terms last from Spring Quarter through Winter Quarter.

For Members Only is the only student group that does not need to reapply for the selection process each year. ASG also reserves two Senate seats for Greek life each year. The Senate abolished its Panhellenic Association and Interfraternity Council seats in 2021 but still reserves seats for National Pan-Hellenic Council and Multicultural Greek Council, according to Jost.

All ASG senators are required to join one of the organization’s 10 committees. However, ASG also allows non-senators to apply to committees.

“When it comes to projects student government is actually able to complete, so many of them are spearheaded by our committees,” Chief of Staff and Weinberg junior Stephanie Shields said.

Shields said the Finance Committee is one of the most important organizations within ASG. 

The Finance Committee is in charge of allocating the Student Activities Fee to student groups.

“We’re trying to overhaul some things and find ways to make the process more equitable and flexible,” ASG Vice President and SESP junior Donovan Cusick said during an information session. “It’s a really good time to join finance.” 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @PavanAcharya02

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