After a tumultuous hearing last week and three re-votes this week, SESP sophomore Sumaia Masoom was officially confirmed as the co-VP for Student Life on Wednesday night.
“I’m just really excited, I truly believe in Christina and Macs’s platform and that's why I applied for this position and that's why I went through everything that I did," Masoom said.
During last week’s ASG Senate, Masoom was questioned about her involvement with student activism, specifically NU Divest. The vote ended a percentage point short of the necessary two-thirds majority to confirm her as the Co-VP of student life.
“I think, as was evident from the opening speech that she gave today, Sumaia’s experiences at Northwestern are ones that will allow her to be able to address larger scale issues on campus like mental health and sexual assault and academic stress and be able to really provide herself as a resource to students,” ASG president Christina Cilento said.
Masoom emphasized in her speech this week that her personal politics associated with NU Divest are going to take a back seat, and that she wants to focus on addressing mental health and sexual assault on campus. She responded to questions about her lack of ASG-specific experience, drawing attention to her other leadership roles, such as on PARC’s executive board, and her own history with dealing with mental health.
“I think that the issues that student life committee works on, her personal political views are not relevant in that context,” Cilento said. “She’s working to alleviate mental health issues of every single student on campus, regardless of what side of the political spectrum they fall on.”
There were three re-votes due to the fact that there were more votes casted than people present during the first two rounds. It was ultimately decided that everyone would go outside, one by one, to tell Shelby Reitman, ASG parliamentarian, their vote. Finally, hugs and a sigh of relief by Masoom followed the announcement of a 28-8-1 vote. Masoom was sworn in immediately by SESP junior Anna DiStefano, who was sworn in as the first Student Life VP last week.
In other news, two new initiatives are in the works. VP of Community Relations Ross Krasner announced a new idea of students being able to use Cat Cash or their Wildcards in select restaurants and stores in Evanston.
“This is super preliminary,” Krasner, a Medill sophomore, said. “Today was the first meeting with Downtown Evanston. They are definitely pushing for it. Other schools have it, so we are definitely pushing for it.”
ASG Vice President Macs Vinson also explained a new stipend program to incentivize student groups. He said ASG sent out a survey to student groups recognized by ASG and about two thirds said they would use at least two of the three stipends.The three stipends would be a $200 Pay What You Can incentive, a $50 Green Events incentives and a $100 Social Justice Programming incentive.
Certain qualifications will be outlined in the Wild Ideas form, but include expectations such as not using paper flying and recycling materials for the Green Events and promoting dialogue and social justice training for the Social Justice Programming.
“We hope this encourages more groups to question their practices and try to be more conscious when planning events,” Cilento said.