In order to increase Georgetown students’ participation in Washington, D.C. government, the Georgetown University Student Association has created a new cabinet department for D.C. Relations.

Undersecretary of D.C. Relations Thomas Moakley (SFS ’17) aims to help students to apply to Mayor Vincent Gray’s mayoral advisory boards, which are open to all D.C. residents. The boards meet monthly and are geared toward particular topics, such as homelessness, disabilities, domestic violence and human rights issues.

“The fact that we’re here at Georgetown, I think, is reason enough to try and give back to the community, and this a great way to do it,” Moakley added. “I’d hope that Georgetown would have a strong presence, although I’m sure all the schools will have representation.”

Although students have always been able to serve on these boards, GUSA President Nate Tisa (SFS ’14) made it a priority. Tisa stressed the importance of expanding the voice of Georgetown students and of connecting with the local government.

“Serving on D.C. mayoral boards is great for the individual, it’s a good experience in government [and] it’s a good experience talking about issues outside of the Hilltop,” Tisa said. “It’s also good for students at Georgetown and everywhere else in D.C. because it increases the student voice and it helps make D.C. an easier place for students to live.”

Moakley agreed and emphasized the benefits of working outside of Georgetown, particularly because of the boards’ minimal time commitment.

“Obviously, the lives of students can be very busy between classes and other activities, but these boards really offer a chance … for students to not only have experience in advocating for issues that are important to them but also just to see a little bit about how local government works,” Moakley said. “In this case, it’s the city government, but the principles can apply to any sort of local government in the sense that people are really concerned about their own community.”

“There’s going to be boards that appeal to different people depending on their interests,” Moakley said.

In particular, Moakley encouraged students to apply for a new task force about students in higher education. Because the task force is relatively new, Moakley said the opportunity for growth and participation would be particularly strong.

“Anyone who got involved in that could really be on the front lines for the improvement of the college experience here in D.C.,” Moakley said.

Several students are excited to take advantage of this opportunity, including Eamon Johnston (SFS ’15).

“I really like local politics, and I’ve never really gotten the opportunity to participate in any of it,” Johnston said. “I don’t know too much about D.C., but I want to learn more.”

Johnson expressed particular interest in the higher education task force because of its relevance to Georgetown students, although he is also applying to the Interagency Council on Homelessness and the Juvenile Justice Advisory Group.

The boards are accepting applications on a rolling basis.

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