A little less than ten months ago, Kelley Hampton (SFS ’05) and Luis Torres (COL ’05) were sworn in as GUSA executives. They entered office in the wake of a two-month election controversy that laid bare the critical ills of an ailing student organization. Relentless back-biting, impossibly complex election rules and factionalism all combined to increase students’ frustration with their own student government.

They promised to simplify GUSA elections at Georgetown and transform GUSA into an organization that is “all about you.” While Hampton-Torres worked diligently to repair the student organization’s internal problems, as their term comes to an end it is clear that they did very little of substance for “you.”It’s all about GUSA,” although less catchy, seems better suited to describe their time in office.

This administration’s most impressive accomplishments include an admirable restructuring and organizing of GUSA’s internal bureaucracy and the creation of an extensive communications infrastructure which has done a remarkable job of publicizing the administration’s accomplishments through weekly emails, newsletters and posters. This flashy public relations campaign, however, has done little to cover the fact that this administration has done little to change students’ daily lives. One of Hampton-Torres’ three “primary goals,” as outlined by their campaign platform, was to “improve student services on campus.” During their tenure, there has not been a noticeable improvement in student services. One of the more visible enhancements to student life that appeared on campus this year, Grab-n-Go lunches, was not an initiative of the Hampton-Torres administration, but an effort pursued independently by various students in affiliation with GUSA. Although certain Hampton-Torres initiatives have been successful, such as the OrangeBand project, Adopt-a-Block and the Get Out the Vote Concert, these are minor in comparison to the successes of past GUSA administrations. Brian Morgenstern (COL ’05) and Steve DeMan (COL ’04), Hampton-Torres’ predecessors successfully ended the 24-hour residence hall security policy and negotiated the re-initiation of weekend GUTS buses.

Although Hampton and Torres seem to have concentrated their efforts on GUSA-related matters rather than major student-centered initiatives, their internal achievements should not be overlooked. Pravin Rajan (SFS ’07) and Nate Wright (COL ’06), the incoming executives, find GUSA a more organized, better-publicized organization than it was a year ago. If GUSA were just another club, Hampton-Torres would stand to be commended for the internal clean-up that has taken place under their leadership.

Yet the student association is responsible to all students, not just those active in student government. While Hampton-Torres’ internal reforms may have improved GUSA, they have done little to improve Georgetown.

Despite the lack of results noticeable to students, their work will hopefully allow the Rajan-Wright administration to start from a more stable organizational base. But the primary cause of student apathy towards GUSA is the perceived ineffectiveness of its executives, and an extensive communications structure would hardly be necessary if GUSA executives would accomplish things that all students could readily see. In order to restore student confidence, Rajan and Wright must prove that student-initiated change is indeed possible at Georgetown. They must prove that GUSA, with its newly-found ability to publicize itself, is capable of achieving something worth the publicity.

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