ALEXANDER BROWN/THE HOYA Five of the six tickets gathered in Red Square to hang campaign posters as the 2015 GUSA executive race commenced Thursday at midnight.
ALEXANDER BROWN/THE HOYA
Five of the six tickets gathered in Red Square to hang campaign posters as the 2015 GUSA executive race commenced Thursday at midnight.

The 2015 Georgetown University Student Association executive race began at the stroke of midnight yesterday, as five campaigns vied for advertising space in Red Square at the start of the official campaign period. A sixth was not present at the campaign starting line, but has nonetheless tossed its hat in the ring, making this year’s race the most crowded since 2012.

The presidential and vice presidential tickets consist of Joe Luther (COL ’16) and Connor Rohan (COL ’16), Sara Margolis (COL ’16) and Ryan Shymansky (COL ’16), Abbey McNaughton (COL ’16) and Will Simons (COL ’16), Tim Rosenberger (COL ’16) and Reno Varghese (SFS ’16), Mike Minahan (COL ’16) and Stephen Paduano (COL ’16), and Chris Wadibia (COL ’16) and Meredith Cheney (COL ’16).

At 11:45 p.m. three groups of campaign staffers were in the square, waiting to unfurl their campaign posters and fliers. Groups included those of McNaughton and Simons, Rosenberger and Varghese, and Margolis and Shymansky. McNaughton, Simons, Rosenberger and Varghese were present, while Margolis and Shymansky did not appear in the square.

At 11:58 p.m., the three groups began to sing “There Goes Old Georgetown,” the fight song, in unison as a fourth group, led by Luther and Rohan, arrived with staff.

GUSA Election Commissioner Alden Fletcher (SFS ’17) was on hand to oversee the adherence to campaign rules. While the Healy Clock did not chime, the four teams began to hang their posters high in Red Square after agreeing it was midnight, with the help of ladders and duct tape. Luther and Rohan failed to bring a ladder, and borrowed a ladder from McNaughton and Simons’ team.

McNaughton and Simons’ poster, which went up first, featured a colorful painting of Healy Hall and read “Rise Together.”

“[The energy] has been awesome,” McNaughton said. “It’s been a lot of fun. People seem really excited. … I think this year is a great opportunity for some really good policy discussions and I’m really looking forward to that. We’re happy that it’s not snowing this year.”

McNaughton-Simons staffer Alex Bobroske (SFS ’17), who helped put up flyers, said that he joined the team because of McNaughton’s experience and accomplishments. McNaughton has served as the vice speaker for the GUSA senate and as a member of GUSA’s Finance and Appropriations Committee.

“The reason I decided to join Abbey and Will was because I worked with Abbey before in advocacy for issues, especially opposing the consolidation at [the Center for Multicultural Equity & Access], [the] LGBTQ Center and the Women’s Center,” Bobroske said. “I know she has great relationships with the administrators. She knows how to get things done.”

Rosenberger and Varghese put up their poster second, with the help of Thomas Lloyd (SFS ’15), a former GUSA presidential candidate. The poster read “For the Love of Georgetown.”

“You have to be excited,” Rosenberger said. “No matter what happens in this campaign, we have a lot of issues we’re bringing that haven’t been discussed at Georgetown, and we’re going to really reshape the way this conversation is happening on campus.”

Rosenberger said that before the race to Red Square, his team gathered in Lauinger Library to discuss the platform and prepare for the night.

“We’ve been in Lau for the last couple of hours,” Rosenberger said. “We got a bunch of people from our staff together and got a bunch of Wisey’s cookies and have been meeting with people. Up to the last minute we want to know as many things as we can from students about the issues they care about.”

The staff of Margolis and Shymansky affixed their poster, reading “Believe in Georgetown,” third. According to campaign staffer Reed Howard (SFS ’17), the candidates were in Nevils with the rest of their staff.

“Tonight’s a great celebration,” Howard said. “It’s a very exciting season for Georgetown. All of these candidates put out so many good ideas for how to make Georgetown a better place and I’m excited for what’s going to unfold. I know Sara and Ryan have the best vision for what Georgetown can be and I believe they’re the people to make that happen.”

Luther and Rohan’s poster, which went up fourth, featured a graphic of Darnall Hall and read “YouTopia.”

“We’re running on YouTopia,” Rohan said. “We’re essentially going to make everything perfect and there are never going to be problems again. We have SportsTopia, ArtsTopia. Our slogan is Blank-Topia, because you fill in the blank.”

Rohan said that his staffers are excited to begin the campaign.

“We’re excited and optimistic for the future,” Rohan said. “We definitely recommend you check out our platform. It’s good satire.”

At 12:20 a.m. a group of around 30 staffers ran from the doors of White-Gravenor Hall whooping and yelling, led by candidates Chris Wadibia (COL ’16) and Meredith Cheney (COL ’16). The group gathered around its candidates, chanting, “Hang that sign!” Cheney helped nail the poster, which featured graphics of the candidates’ profiles and read “Dignity,” onto the wood of the right front-facing wall in Red Square.

“For the Chris and Meredith 2015 campaign, the atmosphere could not have been any better,” Wadibia said. “It was fully passionate. … Everyone was so excited, the energy couldn’t have been higher and we’re full of passion and excitement moving forward.”

The campaign’s Head of Social Media Natalia Peña (COL ’17) said the group was late because of the excitement.

“We were upstairs in a room all together, and we were just cheering on inside,” Peña said. “We forgot that we had to flier. We were just so excited because we love each other so much. We’d like to think that we’re a family, and I think everything here’s really shown that. I mean look at all these people who came out at midnight as a force.”

The group also formed a dance circle, chanting the names of staffers who danced for a few seconds each.

The sixth candidate pair of Minahan and Paduano are also officially in the executive race but were not present in Red Square because of a prior commitment at a friend’s birthday party.

“We want to reach out [to clubs] about a lot of things they know better than we know about, then hear what they have to say,” Minahan said. “It’s kind of just about bringing everyone into the conversation, like people who might not normally be interested in GUSA. … We want to bring people in who don’t get involved in student government.”

The official campaign period will feature two debates Feb. 11 and Feb. 16 and will culminate in a vote Feb. 19. This year, 11 out of 12 students vying for the executive spots are in the College, with the exception of Varghese, who is in the School of Foreign Service.

The 2014 race, with four tickets, featured five SFS students and three College students, the 2013 race, with five tickets, featured four College students, five SFS students and one McDonough School of Business student and the 2012 race, with seven tickets, featured eleven College students, one MSB student and two SFS students. The past three winning tickets have featured two SFS students.

With the executive vote coming up in less than two weeks, Sage Sarason (COL ‘17) said that she does not plan to heavily research or develop opinions about the campaigns.

“I don’t know a lot about GUSA or the campaigns happening, and I attribute this more to my own busy life at Georgetown than any apathy toward GUSA and campaigns,” Sarason said. “I am personally not annoyed at the campaigns, because I think it is cool that students are actively involved with organizations like GUSA that can actually make tangible changes at this school.”

Michaela Lewis (COL’ 18), who is unaffiliated with GUSA and experiencing her first campaign season, said that she does not expect to be impressed by the executive hopefuls.

“I would be more excited about it if there were more divisive issues at hand. GUSA is more about budgeting or things that most students aren’t really involved with unless they are in a position of power in a club or working with [the Student Activities Commission] or dealing with administrative issues, which a lot of freshman really aren’t,” Lewis said. “I’m not particularly persuaded by all the campaigning: all the door-knocking, baby-kissing, mobilization, canvassing.”

Hoya Staff Writers Tom Garzillo and Andrew Wallender contributed reporting.

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One Comment

  1. Fifteen of the 16 candidates are from the College. Not exactly representative of the University, no?

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