In their first meeting, ASG senators kicked off by introducing a new transportation resolution and discussing a few other goals for the school year. Most notably, they plan to establish a transportation task force to advocate for student safety.
The task force, created under ASG’s Safe Transportation Resolution, will come up with a series of recommendations on how students can get around campus most effectively and safely. These recommendations include proposed measures for an annual distribution of bike lights and helmets and to reduce the speed limit on Sheridan Road from 30 mph to 25 mph. ASG has already secured $10,000 to distribute free bike helmets on campus on October 24, and on October 13 they will host an event called “Pedal Bright,” during which they will be giving away and installing free bike lights for students.
After the resolution was discussed, ASG senator Ben Powell proposed an amendment for the task force, recommending that the part of Sheridan passing through the University be closed to vehicle traffic and reclaimed as a University space. This met some contention because some said they felt this would be inconveniencing the broader community more than it would benefit Northwestern.
“We don’t own Evanston,” one senator said. “We’re a University and our needs are very important, but we can’t use up all the resources in Evanston. You cannot just shut down a major road because it inconveniences us.”
On the other hand, Powell and other supporters said it would make the University a safer space for both students and faculty. Powell said the amendment was based on the idea that roads are public spaces and should be used that way. He also argued there was no reason to have a major road pass through such a highly-trafficked university area, and his reasoning ultimately won out, and the amendment was passed.
Other than discussing the new transportation safety measures, ASG president Christina Cilento said ASG plans to start a dialogue about the new changes to the Women’s Center at Northwestern. Most notably, the University recently announced plans to eliminate long-term counseling at the Center (students will instead be encouraged to turn to services like CAPS). However, Cilento and other ASG members argued this was something that should at least be debated, if not overturned. Additionally, ASG will be partnering with other on-campus organizations like College Feminists and SHAPE to bring free menstrual products to campus.
Editor'snote: A previous version of this story attributed the proposal to close Sheridan Road to vehicle traffic to ASG chief of staff Isaac Rappoport. This was misattributed - the proposal was actually from senator Ben Powell. NBN regrets this error, and the change was made at 12:42 p.m. on Oct. 14.