The following is a Letter to the Editor submitted to North by Northwestern and does not reflect the views of its editorial board.
This past year, I have served on both the Sustainability and Accessibility & Inclusion committees on ASG. Being part of student government has provided me with opportunities to grow in both creativity and leadership, as well as a chance to participate in projects aimed at improving the student experience.
ASG is not without its problems. Too often, it seems that the voices of marginalized students are silenced or ignored and the inner workings of the organization are anything but transparent. I believe Christina Cilento and Macs Vinson, who are running for president and vice president, respectively, will provide solutions to the problems faced by marginalized students on campus. Christina has effectively demonstrated her leadership skills through her role as the vice president of the Sustainability Committee. I have witnessed her passion not only for creating and maintaining an environmentally sustainable campus, but also for ASG as a whole. She has shown her dedication through meeting with numerous administrators in order to bring the issues surrounding sustainability on campus to light, while encouraging and helping each individual committee member to create our own environmental projects. It is evident that she is more than willing to go above and beyond the needs of ASG leadership in order to accomplish her goals.
One telling example of their commitment from their platform reads, “While every Northwestern experience is different, every student, regardless of background, should have the same level of comfort and access to opportunity as the next student.” They go about achieving this goal in various ways that encompass many different facets of student life.
Christina and Macs center their platform on their promise to make Northwestern a more inclusive environment for students of all backgrounds. They aim to detoxify campus through initiatives such as creating a U.S.-centric Diversity and Social Inequalities distribution course, which would be a required Weinberg class aimed at informing students about the history of diversity in the United States, as well as the struggles marginalized people have faced in our country. Additionally, Christina and Macs emphasize making buildings more accessible for those who are physically disabled.
Equally as important, the candidates strive to make Northwestern more welcoming to low-income students by subsidizing student events and excursions in Chicago, allowing all students to experience not just campus, but also city life. From developing a funding pool for transportation that will allow students to run errands and attend job interviews without worry to developing scholarship opportunities for those involved in Greek life, Christina and Macs have the best interests of each student in mind. Additionally, they strive to reduce alcohol restrictions on campus, specifically by implementing an open door policy in residential halls and colleges, creating a safer environment where all students can feel comfortable.
Mental health resources are an important aspect of the Christina and Macs’s platform. By eliminating CAPS’ 12-session limit, they hope to eliminate the worry many students feel at the thought of having to seek mental health professionals outside NU. In a high-stress, fast-paced environment like Northwestern's campus, the mental health of students simply cannot be ignored. In addition, hiring more CAPS staff who can empathize with marginalized students will significantly improve the service, as it will become a safer space for an increased variety of students.
As a member of ASG, I believe marginalized students deserve a voice both in the organization itself and on campus as a whole. Christina and Macs promise to make the voices of underrepresented students heard, while improving the entire student experience. Their campaign slogan “Don’t Settle” resonates with what Northwestern as a whole teaches its students: don’t settle for anything that doesn’t meet your expectations. I won’t settle for a school that silences the voices of marginalized students. I won’t settle for a student government that does not serve everyone. And most of all, I won’t settle for a university that doesn’t allow each student an equal opportunity to succeed.
Olivia Ellis, Medill sophomore