A Progressive Hilltop
Published: Friday, February 15, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 15, 2013 01:02
When people ask us why we decided to run for Georgetown University Student Association executives, we point to the fact that GUSA is often disconnected from the wants and the needs of the student body. We have seen great strides made over the past two years, but unfortunately, they tend to focus on annual referendums that leave the student body wondering what GUSA does for the other 11 months. We are running to change that. We constantly want to engage students on issues and get signatures for petitions and referendums to accomplish more than one big act. In order to engage the student body, we plan on working with student group leaders and the GUSA senate to make sure we are all working toward the same goals.
Our platform is simple. We want to improve the everyday lives of students and make our campus more progressive. Our student life platform is aimed at making a tangible impact in the lives of students. We are proposing numerous improvements to our campus. Our budget has set aside $15,000 to ensure that Georgetown University Transportation Shuttle buses run on Sundays and more frequently on Saturdays. We want to make meal plans optional for all sophomores so that Aramark has a financial incentive to be good at what it does. We want to make the Code of Student Conduct more fair by letting freshman know their rights and making the Student Neighborhood Assistant Program a more student-driven initiative. We want to make Georgetown much friendlier for student groups. During Joe’s time as head of the Georgetown College Democrats, he was frequently frustrated by the lack of autonomy that student groups have at Georgetown. The Center for Student Programs decides what the rules are going to be, then dictates them down to student group heads who have no way of fighting back. That is why we are proposing to have roundtables between student group heads and the CSP in order to promote a two-way conversation about what practices do and do not work.
The second half of our platform is all about promoting progressive values on campus. Plenty of tickets discuss how much they care about social justice and diversity, but we are the only ones who have track records that display that commitment. Joe led the College Democrats in an election year in order to ensure the election of candidates who stand for progressive values on a national stage. Shavonnia has dedicated herself to promoting diversity groups and currently serves on the board of Latin American Student Association and the Black Student Alliance. We want to push for these progressive values on campus in various ways. One in four college women are sexually assaulted, but Georgetown has never had a campus-wide conversation about the subject. That has to change. As such, we want to make education on sexual assault part of New Student Orientation. We want to push for fossil fuel divestment from the university. We cannot embody a persona of caring for the whole body if we do not take care of our planet. We want to help promote social justice and diversity groups here on campus and have dedicated $3,000 of our budget to help make them a larger presence on campus. We would also give them the exclusive right to place flyers on boards outside of the GUSA office in Leavey Center. Improving things on campus is great, but the impact is tiny compared to what we can do to help solve the systemic problem in the D.C. community.
None of this change will be easy, but it is necessary to put GUSA with the students instead of above them. We hope you will vote Shavonnia and Joe.
SHAVONNIA CORBIN JOHNSON is a junior in the School of Foreign Service. JOE VANDEGRIFF is a junior in the College.