ASG campaign profiles

    Rand Paul and Ted Cruz aren’t the only ones running for president right now. As Associated Student Government’s Presidential and Vice Presidential election approaches, NBN sat down with the candidates who want to represent Northwestern’s student body through the Senate’s top offices.

    Photo by Madhuri Sathish

    Haley Hinkle and Chris Harlow are running for President and Vice President, respectively. Hinkle, a Medill junior, previously served as the Director of Campus Safety and Transportation in ASG. Harlow is the outgoing Vice President for Student Life, and previously served as a residential senator. Their platform focuses on creating new policies to address issues of mental health, sexual assault and alcohol policy. Their campaign has also emphasized the need for fostering community among student groups.

    Q: Why are you running?

    Haley Hinkle: The decision to pursue the role of President and Vice President really came from having done a lot of work in positions inside and outside of ASG for the Northwestern community. Through projects like Chris’ work with NU Listens and NU Active Minds on mental health, and mine with It’s On Us, we felt that those skills equipped us to take our student government to what we saw as the next level. Especially this year, campus is at such a critical point. Students are really demanding that they have more of a voice and spaces to express their voice without retribution from anyone else. They’ve turned to the student government, which is, arguably, uniquely positioned to help oversee the protection of those spaces, and then take what students want and bring that up to the next level with our administrative connections.

    Chris Harlow: My greatest times being the Student Life Vice President have been when people underneath me, my committee members, have had wins. I am so energized when they come back and something they wanted to see happen actually turned into a tangible result. We have so much potential, how do you take all the moving pieces and move them in one direction?

    Q: What does your slogan, “Build Up Northwestern” mean to each of you personally?

    HH: Each student as an individual has so much to offer. Part of the reason I was so excited to come to Northwestern was to learn about so many different experiences. For us as a community, what we need is the mindset of – whether or not we’re enthusiastic about what someone else is doing – being able to ‘build that person up’ and really positively support what students are pursuing. I think that adds so much to our Northwestern culture.

    CH: That’s actually really similar to what I would say. For students who come into Northwestern, I think there’s a hope that you don’t leave the same person you came in. I’ve seen so much personal growth with myself, whether it’s better understanding of the identity that I have and the privileges that I’ve been given, and how that’s privileged me in other ways, that other students may not have. How is this campus consistently, I would say, almost failing to serve some of those students? Over the last four months, we’ve begun to go down that road, to say, ‘Ok, what is it that we don't know? How do we build relationships with people to connect us to what we need to understand?’

    Q: Are there any gaps between the role ASG is currently serving and your vision for what the organization can or should do?

    HH: What we need to seek right now is an organization-wide attitude and culture of actively reaching out to students and actively being involved with what’s going on on campus. [Right now] it’s not necessarily something we talk about with our over 200 members, it’s something we might talk about with our students in positions that can be named. But that’s not really enough. [We need to bring] in things like sensitivity training for all of our members, and really [bring] them into the fold and get them thinking about issues like accessibility and intersectionality of identities. This campus is at a critical point, and if we don’t work hard to make sure that we are part of the solution, then we become irrelevant as an organization.

    CH: I would say that, one of the things ASG hasn’t done in the past is effectively mobilize students. How is ASG saying to the student body, these are things that are important, here’s why, and we need your help in order for change to occur? For us, it comes down to that trust. Students don’t naturally turn to us sometimes, when they have an idea during the day. They’re like, ‘Oh, that’s such a frustration that I have.’ Few students ever say, ‘Let me go talk to ASG about that.’

    Q: How long have you known each other and been working together?

    HH: A long time!

    CH: Too long. I’m kidding. We jumped out of an airplane earlier this year.

    HH: We did, we went skydiving. It was terrifying. But anyways, we’ve been working together since freshman year. I was the Director of Transportation and Chris was the Elder Residential Hall Senator. We worked together on getting the shuttle stop outside [of Elder] for students on the Campus Loop. Since then, we’ve done all kinds of things. We are the outgoing President and Vice President of Deering Days, so we’ve worked together in that capacity, on large scale events, community building events and events that bring student groups from all over campus that might not otherwise collaborate together into a common space on campus.

    Q: What is your favorite show to binge watch, and what does that say about you?

    HH: My favorite is actually Gilmore Girls. It’s probably the Medill in me. But binge watching should be relaxing. A show like Scandal – it stresses me out.

    CH: I always saw myself as a Luke.

    HH: You are a Luke!

    CH: I could open a diner someday, that sounds fun. I’m from Nebraska, so you know, the outdoors and all. I don’t watch TV during the school year, so when I go home, I watch NCIS.

    Photos by Madhuri Sathish

    Noah Star and Christina Kim are running for President and Vice President, respectively. Star, a Weinberg junior, is the outgoing Speaker of the Senate, and Kim served as the VP of Services within ASG. Their platform focuses on bringing student leaders in to ASG’s processes, and touches on issues such as sustainability, financial accessibility and commitments on policy addressing mental health and sexual assault.

    Q: Why are you running?

    Noah Star: I served as the Speaker this past year, and Christina was the VP of Services, and within each of our roles, we have the opportunity to interface with students, and look at how ASG represents and uses student voices in starting and finishing projects. The Speaker presides over the legislative branch, and that’s the most direct representative body ASG has. It’s both the best and worst of ASG. When the Senate lives up to its lofty expectations, like during the divestment debate or when we passed a water bottle boycott, when we try to push administration on behalf of the students— that’s what I mean by the best. Reflecting on those experiences as Speaker, especially winter quarter this year, [I thought] about the strides we had made, what the next steps would be on how we listen to student voices and incorporate them into representation and leadership. I’d kind of determined, especially in conversations with Christina talking about the future of ASG and what it might look like, that we needed to jump into the race to bring our perspectives.

    Christina Kim: Serving on the executive board gave me insight to how we function and how ASG has structured itself in conjunction with administrators and students and student groups. Looking at the way the obligations ASG gives itself in terms of how it represents students, I think that pushed us into pursuing President and Executive VP. Taking a look [back], it moved us to thinking about, how can we move ASG to where it should be, representing students and creating opportunities for students?

    Q: What does your slogan, “Listen Then Lead,” mean to each of you personally?

    CK: I think as student leaders, especially in ASG, it’s important to listen to students and figure out their needs. I’m a computer science major, so design has always been really important to me. Human-centered design is always important, and I think that’s been lacking in ASG. I think a lot of times, candidates come in with a long list of laundry items they want to get done, and the other VP’s come in with lists, but where did that come from? We as individuals only have a limited experience and it’s wrong to think that our experience is reflective of all 8,300 undergraduates here.

    NS: I’ve always found the best way to build consensus for action is to listen to why people bring themselves to the table, to figure out what someone’s self interest is. Then you can lead the way if you’re in a position of leadership. It’s the prerequisite if you want to build anything. I’ve seen that personally, I really try to listen to student groups on campus, trying to make the Senate a more comfortable environment. I met with every Senator one-on-one, to listen to what made them run for Senate. Understanding the perspectives each person brings, it made us friends, but it allowed me to know, when I call on that person, here’s the stake they are bringing to the table.

    Q: Are there any gaps between the role ASG is currently serving and your vision for what the organization can or should do?

    NS: We think ASG really needs a healthy dose of humility. There’s a level of assumed authority within ASG that is very problematic. That’s why we want to focus on listening as a backdrop to our leadership. Active listening [should be] connected to every part of what we’re doing. We need to make sure the experts are in the room every time we talk about an issue. Let’s say it’s sustainability, or sexual assault—there are groups on this campus that are doing great work on advocacy, research and education on this campus, day in, day out. Why aren’t they a part of what we’re trying to do?

    CK: I think Noah really hit it on the head. I’m realizing that we aren’t going to be the experts in every room, and that’s fine. That’s the way it should be.

    Q: How long have you known each other and been working together?

    CK: We both joined executive board last year in the Spring, and we’ve worked together [there].. I think we really decided to run together because we have similar viewpoints as to how ASG should function, how it should structure itself. Noah and I bring a different set of experiences. After talking about our different experiences and what our vision for ASG is, that’s when things started clicking.

    NS: Yeah, we met when we both came on to exec. Christina was always someone who, if we were having a conversation in exec, if I was trying to push for thinking more about representation, I could look across the table and know that we agreed. It was the starting point for us. We both have that shared concern for what the future might look like. We’ve been able to function and learn from each other in an ASG capacity but also in a social capacity. I think that will help us hold each other accountable.

    Q: What’s something people might not know about you from your website and campaign materials?

    N: In high school, I was in a band with three of my closest friends. I’m a huge music nerd. I love music, it’s how I relax. I was never very good at bass guitar – that’s what I play – and I haven’t been able to keep it up, but it’s still a passion of mine. So I’m a good listener for music and leadership!

    C: Fun fact, I was on club lacrosse for a year and a half. I actually go to a lot of the girl’s lacrosse games. They’re really good, so there’s a little plug for them.

    Editor's Note: Hinkle previously contributed to North by Northwestern. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


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