While most Georgetown students were likely enjoying the comfort and home-cooked meals that accompany winter break, Washington, D.C., welcomed a new mayor with cautious optimism.

D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), who unseated incumbent Mayor Vincent Gray in April’s Democratic primary before defeating at-large Councilmember David Catania in November’s general election, took office Jan. 2.

Bowser, D.C.’s first female mayor in nearly 20 years, promised to unite a city where economic divisions could not be starker. Her campaign emphasized a focus on “all eight wards.” While this is certainly a worthwhile goal, Bowser should seek to approach D.C.’s issues realistically in the first months of her administration. Focusing on continued improvements to D.C.’s public school system and ensuring the District has a transportation system that serves all residents should rank among her top priorities.

But, perhaps more important than focusing on the bread-and-butter issues of education and transportation, Bowser should not forget her vow to restore citizens’ trust in their local government. In a campaign where ethics was a key issue, Bowser continually committed herself to being a different kind of mayor — one that will not fall into the regrettable pattern of corruption that has plagued D.C. in the past. As she begins her administration, Bowser should not forget her promise to clean up city government.

A new mayoral administration provides another opportunity for students to gain an ally and supporter in the mayor’s office. While issues surrounding D.C.’s institutions of higher education were not a hot topic in last year’s mayoral campaign, this administration should make a concerted effort to harness the power of its colleges and universities for social good. The Georgetown community should seek to establish a solid and mutually beneficial relationship with the mayor’s office. With negotiations for the 2017 Campus Plan on the horizon, it is especially appropriate in this moment to establish our position as a force of good in the community.

There is always an air of optimism surrounding a new mayoral administration, and given the nature of Bowser’s campaign, this time should be no different. But, a focus on substance, not just flash, is going to be the critical ingredient in the Bowser administration’s ultimate success.

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