October is over, and what a long month it has been.

On Oct. 12, over 3,500 students came together to vote overwhelmingly for the GUSA Accountability and Reform Act and to oppose the proposed keg ban in a non-binding poll. Never before has any Student Association election in the past 25 years garnered that high of a turnout. This was the first time in GUSA’s history, despite many attempts, that the student body has successfully amended the constitution. We believe that this signals a turning point in GUSA’s history. It didn’t stop there, though.

Two weeks later, students came together again to elect 23 of the 35 representatives of the new Senate. Over 60 candidates took part in the election. Some districts had as many as five or six candidates running in them.

The new senators recently took their seats, ushering in a new era for GUSA. It’s safe to say that students are again interested in and hopeful for the prospect of an accountable, effective and representative Senate. And the new Senate is already living up to that goal. It comprises representation from all grades: six seniors, five juniors, 16 sophomores and eight freshmen; one must remember that in previous years, the Assembly of 16 had trouble getting even four juniors and four seniors to run. Nine of the new senators are women, while in the past generally no more than one or two Assembly members were women.

Why is this important? In absolute terms, it means there are more people working for the student body. With each assigned to a specific committee, each committee will be working on a handful of important issues – broad in nature, but narrow enough to be clearly achievable during the term of the Senate. With a diverse range of students – internationals, athletes, transfers, former GUSA executives, men and women, liberals and conservatives and Hoyas of every religious (and non-religious) stripe – the new Senate will be more ably and effectively represent all the interests of campus.

So the ball is now in the Senate’s court. The first year will be the hardest, as the Senate will effectively have to create precedent and institutional memory, but I have the utmost trust in both the former Assembly members and the newly elected Senators, and I have no doubt that they will conduct themselves admirably and efficiently. With the preparatory work of outgoing Assembly Chair Christina Goodlander (SFS ’07), general members of the Assembly and members of our executive such as the Accountability amendment’s author, Matt Stoller (COL ’08). I know the transition will go well.

Getting the amendment passed and the new Senate elected were not GUSA’s only priorities this past month, however. Two new off-campus shuttles are now available for students, which fulfills the promise made to the student body last semester that we would expand weekend bus service along the GUTS routes. Dubbed the “Night Owl” and the “Early Bird,” these buses run from the GUTS bus stop outside Darnall Hall to DuPont Circle.

The shuttles are important for a few reasons. First, they make it much easier to get off campus on weekends. Second, they increase the safety of students who are out in weekends; rather than walking home from Rosslyn on a Saturday night, students may now take the etro to Dupont Circle (a much more convenient location) and take a shuttle directly to campus. Finally, it’s just one way of showing how an effective GUSA can get meaningful change accomplished if it sets its mind on it.

These buses are only a beginning, and hopefully the new Senate’s Housing and Facilities Committee can take these projects up and perhaps extend the hours and times.

In the meanwhile, please feel free to talk to your Senator and tell them your concerns and wishes. The new Senate was designed to bring your representatives closer to you, and I hope you will take advantage of that. Together, we can make a difference, and I look forward to the many things we have in store for this year.

Twister Murchison is a junior in the School of Foreign Service and president of the Georgetown University Student Association.

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