I will never forget my first Georgetown University Student Association Senate meeting as a newly elected senator in my junior year. We went to an ornate room in Healy Hall and congratulated each other for being so esteemed. It was a microcosm of the old-style GUSA: A bunch of resume-packing student politicians who watched too much of “The West Wing” as a kid and loved to hear themselves talk. What we’ve witnessed this year, however, is a marked change from that old paradigm.

The new GUSA is based on results, not talking points. The senate and executive have created more new initiatives and consulted more groups on campus than many of the previous GUSA governments combined. The students for this year were less concerned with grandstanding than with actually trying to better student life on campus. Perhaps the change was a reaction to GUSA’s public image in the past, or maybe we were just lucky enough to have GUSA leaders who checked their egos at the door. In any case, I believe that most informed students see a difference in our student government.

I read Tom Marty’s viewpoint (“Power Politics Tarnish GUSA Incumbent Bid,” Jan. 9, 2010, The Hoya, A3) and I was concerned. Respectfully, the former senator – as well as Matt Wagner, the executive candidate he supports – represent an embodiment of the old GUSA image. His letter is, at best, sensationalist in his pointed – albeit misinformed – allegations of the current student government. That is to be expected, for that is what the old GUSA does. It can’t produce results, so it produces noise. I’ve worked with the old GUSA, and quite simply old GUSA, and its candidate Matt Wagner, don’t work.

Wagner and Hampton may have good intentions, but they are the old GUSA candidates. In my experience in the senate with these two men, I saw one resign (he was encouraged to do so after regularly missing meetings) and one delay completion of an accountable budget with action-void rhetoric. It is fitting that as the representatives of this self-aggrandizing viewpoint, their campaign slogan is “I love me.” (At least they are upfront about it.)

The Georgetown student body has a decision to make in the next few weeks. It needs to decide whether it wants to continue with the progress, change and results that were made this past year, or if it wants to devolve back to the old system that does nothing to make our day-to-day experiences any better. We’ve seen what can happen this past year with Calen, Jason and the new GUSA. Let’s see how much further we can go next year.

Tim Swenson is a senior in the College and a former GUSA senator.

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