Experience to Further Reform
Published: Friday, February 15, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 15, 2013 01:02
Many students on campus often ask why the Georgetown University Student Association matters. The answer is simple: It matters because it represents the student voice across campus and fiercely advocates for students to administrators. GUSA must be able to respond to students’ challenges, and, at the same time, students must able to come to GUSA with any problem and expect that it can be addressed. And that’s why we are running: To make students equal stakeholders on campus and continue to legitimize and amplify the student voice.
Over the next three years, the Intercollegiate Athletics Center, the New South Student Center and at least one new residence hall will be built. We will ensure that student feedback is incorporated into the design process. We will challenge administrators to respond to student concerns and hold them accountable for the commitments they make. As our platform displays, we will push the limits of GUSA involvement in space on campus in ways not seen before, including recommending new buildings, restructuring offices and reducing costs and policies that restrict student organizations.
Furthermore, though efforts at reform have made some progress, the funding system remains broken. Student organizations need more freedom, more control over and online access to their funding, fewer restrictions on the type of programming they can hold and a more democratic funding process. Our plan will give student organizations more autonomy to do what they want when they want to do it. Groups will remain organized by the type of programming they put on to encourage cosponsorships and give student organizations an opportunity to solve current problems in collaboration with each other. We will also open up campus resources to groups traditionally excluded from campus, such as innovative social ventures and fraternities and sororities, to make sure that they have the support they need to thrive.
Throughout our platform, we have offered concrete solutions to existing problems. Instead of approaching many issues in the same old ways, we have listened to students and taken innovative approaches to campus life. Concerned about housing and facilities on campus? We will add a cabinet secretary for housing and facilities to help students work through the challenges they face. We have also proposed improving the housing and facilities website and starting a landlord fair to help students find off-campus residences, in addition to a roommate-matching system to help students fill empty spots.
Our platform covers a wide range of issues. We plan to support sustainability initiatives on campus and improve technology while also expanding student dining options with more food trucks and the ability to use meal swipes at other campus dining facilities. But solutions and platform points are meaningless without the experience to get it done. As the most experienced ticket both inside and outside of GUSA, we have worked with both students and administrators to achieve the solutions we lay out. Whether it is Jack’s two-year experience with the Student Activities Commission and his work with current GUSA president Clara Gustafson (SFS '13) and vice president Vail Kohnert-Yount (SFS '13) on student-life issues as an executive staff member or Maggie’s experience as the leader of a large student organization, her outreach work for last year’s GUSA executive and her accomplishments representing students on academic-life issues as a member of the College Academic Council, we bring unmatched experience to the role of GUSA executive.
Students not only need advocates leading GUSA, but they need ones who know what to advocate for and how to advocate for it to get results. For the most experienced ticket with the most concrete solutions and the values, drive and vision to effectively serve students, mark Jack and Maggie number one on Feb. 21.
JACK APPELBAUM and MAGGIE CLEARY are juniors in the College.