NBN welcomes Matt Bellassai, former ASG Presidential candidate, as Special ASG Correspondent this quarter. Please see our note on his coverage.
Brothels, dining halls and dorm conditions will dominate the ASG agenda this winter, as Austin Young (WCAS ’12) enters his last full quarter as ASG President and his administration prepares to undertake a laundry list of looming priorities. Winter Quarter is typically the busiest for ASG as members rush to fulfill promises before elections begin anew in spring. Here’s what to expect from our student government this quarter:
Brothels be gone?
The ASG Senate passed a set of broad Winter Quarter priorities at the last session of 2011, chief among them the continued lobbying efforts for a change to Evanston’s brothel law. ASG Community Relations Vice President Steven Monacelli (WCAS ’13) is pining for a seat on the Evanston panel that will review the law and possible alternatives. Monacelli and ASG’s off-campus senators are also planning an off-campus housing fair to advertise Evanston housing offerings.
Better dorms and dining
Perhaps the most salient opportunity for ASG this quarter is further developing the relationship with Vice President of Student Affairs Patricia Telles-Irvin and her newest deputy, Dr. Julie Payne-Kirchmeier, whose oversight includes housing, dining and the Norris Center. Her very presence on the newly restructured Student Affairs staff suggests President Schapiro and Vice President Telles-Irvin place housing and dining among their top priorities. Cultivating relationships with these administrators, and offering a detailed student perspective on food and housing, will be one of ASG's most important tasks this quarter.
The President’s agenda
Young has personally prioritized outreach and has announced plans for hosting “kitchen conversations” in Allison and Elder, though specific dates have yet to be publicized. Young has also expressed interest in hosting a series of lectures by accomplished alumni and current students.
New student center?
Noticeably absent from ASG’s agenda has been the New Student Center Initiative, which ASG Vice President Ash Jaidev (WCAS ’12) championed under former ASG President Claire Lew (SESP ’11). President Schapiro’s Strategic Plan intentionally excluded a new student center, which Provost Dan Linzer said would be considered among other possibilities in future discussions for achieving the university’s larger strategy of connecting the Northwestern community. ASG offered no official response, and it remains to be seen whether the NSC Initiative will gain the same traction it once did.
Underlying the ASG scene this quarter will no doubt be the imminent presidential elections. Hopefuls are already assembling campaign teams, although they cannot officially announce candidacies until election season begins in April. Nonetheless, campaigning will unofficially advance over the next ten weeks, casting an added layer of drama and theatrics to ASG this quarter.