I could tell you about the hope I have that an effective student leader could represent our interests and make this campus a better place after we leave. Then again, I could just tell you the truth about student government at Georgetown.

When GUSA-crats run for office, they promise to implement change that would improve daily life on campus. The running cliche is the usual “Milkshake machines in New South Cafeteria” promise. But why is it that, year after year, the student politicians fail to make good on their promise to provide a simple, relatively inexpensive machine that makes milkshakes?

If you are really bored and end up attending a GUSA meeting, you will be surprised to find that the Leavey Program Room is not filled with banter about the best way to procure milkshake machines, or how to fix a broken step that students keep tripping on, or how to protest tuition increases or how to increase funding for student activities. Instead, you will hear hours upon hours of debate about elections bylaws.

But it gets worse. As a GUSA-crat during my freshman year, the GUSA representatives decided it would be nice to send an amicus curiae (or friend of the court letter) to Michigan in support of the affirmative action cause. Not only was the judge no longer allowing the submission of such mail, the resolution passed by GUSA essentially said nothing more than BE IT RESOLVED: that we, the students of Georgetown University, give lip service to diversity. When I objected and said that our fellow students don’t care about our political opinions and that they would see through this shameful attempt to pad resumes, I received numerous e-mails and phone calls from people involved with GUSA, claiming that I don’t care about minorities at Georgetown. “No,” I replied, “I simply care about what I was elected to care about: not having to walk to Johnny Rockets on M Street to get a decent milkshake.” I think many people at Georgetown kind of forget the student part of student government.

Now, most people on GUSA mean well. To their credit, it is important to highlight why their hands are tied behind their backs. It all boils down to one simple thing: Georgetown students simply don’t have any real say on campus. Sure, of course the university goes through the motions. They give us a “free speech zone,” they let students self-regulate their student activities and they give GUSA a considerable stipend, but they deny us the most important thing of all: a voting student member on Georgetown’s powerful board of directors. Resolutions and other by-products of GUSA won’t have any weight until the president of the student body sits on the policy making board at Georgetown as a voting member.

Is it so much to ask that our undergraduate concerns are part of the decision making process? Many top 25 universities have voting student members on their boards and some even offer stipends to compensate those student leaders who put their classes and personal life on the backburner in order to improve their campus. But at Georgetown, important decisions about the future of our university are being made in secret, in silence and without any input from the students who attend Georgetown.

I suggest a GUSA resolution that could make GUSA one of the top student associations in the country: BE IT RESOLVED: We, the students of Georgetown University, demand student representation on our board of directors.

Phil Beer is a junior in the School of Foreign Service.

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