When you stop by the water-bottle-refilling station in your residence halls, hop aboard the Night Link shuttle system or fit in a late-night cram session at Kelvin Smith Library, you have one common source to thank: Case Western Reserve University’s Undergraduate Student Government (USG), whose members have advocated on behalf of students to implement these—and other—recent initiatives.
“The focus of USG is to make the lives of the students better,” said Basil Yaseen, president of USG and a fourth-year student with a double major in economics and biology at Case Western Reserve University.
“I felt the best way to improve student life would be to run for president and show that the student voice is the voice of USG,” said Yaseen, who won the 2023–24 election with 61.3% of the vote.
He first began serving the student population as a first-year representative shortly after arriving on campus. From there, he has gone on to serve as treasurer and most recently vice president of finance for USG.
In that last role, Yaseen became closely connected to the student body by running the student activities fair last fall and managing the funding of most student clubs on campus.
Within the role, he streamlined the funding process and provided resources for clubs to access additional funding.
He rebuilt relationships with the Student Executive Council (SEC)—which oversees the allocation of student activity fee revenue—following two failed audits of USG under previous administrations. He also negotiated with the SEC to increase USG’s budget by 18%, so clubs under USG would receive more funding in the future.
“I was able to show that I can effectively communicate, not only with the students, but with the SEC and the Case Western Reserve administration,” he said. “I think that prepared me heavily for the role as president.”
One of Yaseen’s biggest priorities as president is to increase the connection of the student body with USG and the university’s administration.
“If the students and the administration have a stronger connection to one another, then students will be able to give more of an input on what they believe should be done on campus and the administration can take that into account,” he said.
Among his priorities as president: increasing tuition options, improving food options and maintenance and extending library hours—even though USG advocated for the new 24/5 schedule at Kelvin Smith Library, which was implemented after the COVID-19 pandemic caused varying hours of operation, Yaseen wants it to be open to students 24/7.
“There’s a lot USG has done to improve student life,” Yaseen said, “and there’s a lot more that can be done.”
When reflecting on his time as an undergraduate student, Yaseen said what stands out to him the most are the people that make up the campus community.
“The people here are some of the nicest people I know. They’re communicative. They’re supportive. Everyone is boosting you up and wanting you to succeed,” he said. “That’s why I really love Case [Western Reserve] and I’m glad I came here.”