The nine GUSA presidential candidates and their running mates discussed their platforms and answered questions during a debate in Sellinger Lounge Tuesday night.

Many of the candidates expressed a desire to implement change in the student association by improving its public image and creating more effective means of communication between GUSA and the student body.

Aaron Figura (MSB ’07) said that he and his running mate Jordan Manekin (COL ’07) would be better able to “solidify GUSA’s place in the student body” because they are transfer students who see Georgetown from an outside perspective.

“GUSA has lost touch with the student body,” Figura said.

Pravin Rajan (SFS ’07) said that he also hoped to improve students’ perception of GUSA.

“This is going to be the election that changes what GUSA is, that changes what GUSA does,” he said.

Rajan said he and his running mate, Nate Wright (COL ’06), have already begun to make changes in GUSA through their work on previous campaigns.

Though many of the candidates said they wanted to make changes to make GUSA more effective, they had different ideas about how best to increase public support of GUSA.

Figura said one of his top priorities is to bring “big name entertainment” to campus in an effort to increase student interest in GUSA.

Joseph Dickey (COL ’06) said he and his running mate Tom Verghese (MSB ’06) plan to create a scholarship fund for students. They said they ultimately want to offer a scholarship to allay the costs of tuition, but will begin by raising money to pay for books for students who need financial assistance.

Other candidates said they wanted to increase communication between the student body and the student association.

Colin Krainin (COL ’07) and his running mate Chin-Hao Huang (SFS ’07) discussed their plans to meet with representatives from student groups on a regular basis.

Krainin said his strategy to make GUSA more effective is to utilize Interhall to spread information to residence halls and get feedback from the students living in the residence halls. He said he also plans to ask all student clubs to appoint a liaison to meet with GUSA representatives on a regular basis.

The candidates also expressed their views on a number of issues, including living wage, student housing, campus safety, the independence of THE HOYA from the university, the independence of the Lecture Fund from GUSA and the new GUSA constitution that was recently proposed.

Happy Johnson (COL ’07) and Vikram Agrawal (SFS ’07) emphasized GOCard benefits as a top priority for the first few months of office. Johnson said they currently know of 20 businesses they want to add to the list of locations that accept the GOCard. Johnson also said that he and his running mate want to have course evaluations posted on the Internet.

Nilou Huff (SFS ’06) and her running mate Anders Fremstad (COL ’06) said living wage issues are their top priority.

“Our number one priority is to develop a dynamic and vibrant community that lives out the principles of social justice and compassion that Georgetown was founded on,” Huff said.

She said living wage is one of the first issues she and her running mate will address if elected. GUSA should lead the campaign for a living wage for all of Georgetown’s employees, she said.

David Loebsack (MSB ’06) and Roni LaSasso (COL ’06) said living wage is also one of their top priorities. Loebsack and LaSasso also listed student housing as a main concern.

Paul Diver (COL ’06) emphasized housing as one of his top priorities as well. He said he and his running mate Adity Sankaranarayan (SFS ’07) would immediately begin work on changing the housing policy if they were elected. Diver said he would work to get housing policies published well before the time for students to make decisions regarding housing.

Representatives of the election commission asked John Wilson (COL ’06) and his running mate Alfred Frawley (COL ’06) not to deliver closing remarks after Wilson made “inappropriate” remarks about a Village B shooting earlier this year and muttered obscenities at the crowd.

Elections will be held on Wednesday.

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