Every winter quarter, ASG holds elections for the next academic year’s president. Voting for the 2024 elections is open from Feb 8-10. The 2023 presidential election only saw a voter turnout of around two percent of the undergraduate student body. This year, two different pairs of candidates are running for either president and vice-president or co-presidents.
The purpose of ASG is to represent students to Northwestern administration and allocate funding. They have previously implemented changes such as free printing credits for students and extending Wi-Fi to the Lakefill. Outside of working with administration to improve undergraduate life, they are in charge of a budget of around 2 million dollars each year to allocate towards various student organizations.
ASG consists of the Cabinet, Senate and various committees. Some may remember Senate elections from earlier this academic year as undergraduate students elected representatives from each school. Along with the 17 school senators, there are also representatives from around 20 student groups and Senate leadership.
The 10 committees focus on different core issues within the Northwestern community. Applications to join committees are open to all undergraduate students, and though candidates are primarily chosen in the fall, students can apply throughout the year.
The chairs of the 10 committees and other members of the Cabinet are also selected by application. An internal selection group chooses individuals for these positions while the President chooses the Executive Board.
The Cabinet is where the current presidential candidates will end up if successful in their campaigns. Consisting of either co-presidents or president and vice president, the elected pair’s platform will lead the structure and focus of ASG throughout their time in office.
Of the two pairs of candidates for this year's election, Weinberg third-year Nicole Medina and SESP third-year Anna Alava are running for president and vice president, while Weinberg second-years Caleb Snead and Ty’Shea Woods are running as co-presidents.
Nicole Medina (she/her) and Anna Alava (she/her)
Medina and Alava have three main positions that act as their platform: equity and inclusion, community and campus life support and connecting ASG to students.
The pair’s first priority of equity and inclusion aims to provide more support for first-generation, low-income (FGLI) and BIPOC students as well as survivors of sexual assault. Alava said that this could include more funding for the CARE center, increasing cultural competence training for CARE counselors and greater accessibility to menstrual products.
Medina said community and campus life support includes advocacy for worker rights, greater transparency and heightened communication between ASG and the student body. According to her, connecting ASG to students entails a restructuring of the Senate by integrating student groups into the funding process and strengthening relationships with senators from student organizations.
Medina has served previously on ASG in various roles. These include serving as the Alianza (The Latinx Student Alliance) senator, Campus Life Committee, Chair of the Board of Financial Review, the Student Group Caucus Whip and Executive Board Selection Committee.
Medina’s interest in ASG was sparked after watching its previous President Christian Wade speak as a first-year.
“It encouraged me to join an institution that was bigger than myself,” Medina said.
As a first-generation low-income Central American student, Medina wanted to see someone like herself represented in leadership who would advocate for and implement changes for a more inclusive and equitable space.
Alava’s ASG journey began when she was drawn to bring awareness to issues her communities were facing on campus. Alava noticed through her time spent in ASG, clubs and academics that there was a disconnect with the student body in goals, transparency and funding, encouraging her to run for vice president.
Alava began her roles within ASG on the Justice and Inclusion Committee and continued to take on more responsibility. She has been a SESP senator and also became the senator for APAC. She has served on the Election Commission as a member of the Board of Financial Review and as Deputy Chair of Justice and Inclusion.
After working together in the Senate for two years, Medina and Alava found that they shared many of the same values and visions for the future of Northwestern. They believe that their experience in ASG is a large part of their qualifications, but there is also value to be held in their extensive leadership in student organizations. They feel they deeply understand the issues that these groups face and know how ASG can best support them.
Caleb Snead (he/they) and Ty’Shea Woods (she/her)
Snead and Woods’ platform is based on inclusion. They see this translated to three main points: cross-cultural community development; building relationships among ASG, administrators and student organizations; and financial literacy and transparency.
Through their time in ASG, they have implemented various changes and hope to uphold them during their presidency. These include the Cultural Summit, negotiations for greater funding for student groups and JUST Talks to encourage NU students to engage in conversations on topics that can often be difficult.
It was an easy choice for Snead and Woods to run together as they believe their varying expertise allows them to learn from each other. They feel their shared passion for making change creates a space where their impact as a pair can only increase as their relationship strengthens.
“We are energized by the smiles, the thank yous, the joy, and the celebration we see when students feel they are being heard,” Snead and Woods said in an email. “We’re motivated by the questions, frustrations, and feedback we hear when students aren’t being adequately served.”
Woods became involved with ASG after years of previous work in student government, social justice and activism. The determination of the student body was a driving force in her involvement and passion for change.
She has various leadership roles outside of ASG ranging from Women’s Basketball Manager to being a Co-Facilitator for Social Justice Dialogues in Anti Racism. Woods’ work in ASG includes Executive Selection Committee, School Senator Whip, Election Committee and Weinberg senator.
Snead’s journey in ASG began after being inspired by the Executive Board Members. After seeing their kindness and passion, he felt compelled to join a group of strong individuals who were also genuinely good people.
Snead has led ASG through their roles as Quest+ senator, Election committee member, Rules committee member and Deputy Chair of Finance. Along with ASG involvement, they have been Quest+ Social Chair and the advisor to the “Student Life without the Strife” project.
Snead and Woods want students to know that their role is to advocate for them and amplify the student body’s voices. The pairs believes that students should care about ASG because they care about their college experience. They hope students will continue to engage with ASG and hold their leaders accountable.
Photos courtesy of Ty'Shea Woods, Caleb Snead, Nicole Medina and Anna Alava