Meaney and Laverriere Gained Ground for GUSA
Published: Thursday, March 1, 2012
Updated: Sunday, March 4, 2012 16:03
One week ago, the buzz surrounding GUSA centered on the election of a new president and vice president. But one year ago, outgoing President Mike Meaney (SFS '12) and Vice President Greg Laverriere (COL '12) were just getting started.
Now, as their tenure comes to a close, Meaney and Laverriere can say that they leave GUSA a stronger, more legitimate institution than they found it.
Throughout their term, the two kept their focus on the main ideas of their campaign, such as beginning a reform of the Student Code of Conduct and drafting a Student Life Report. The executive also supported the senate throughout the Student Activities Fee Endowment reform process, helping ensure that it was a smooth and open process.
The Student Life Report, which debuted this past weekend, provides a blueprint for improving campus life over the next 10 years. The 73-page document lays out specific and tangible recommendations for funding advisory boards and intellectual and student life.
By bringing former election opponents Ace Factor (COL '12) and James Pickens (COL '12) into their administration to develop the Student Advocacy Office, Meaney and Laverriere displayed an ability to go beyond their own campaign goals in response to student interests. The SAO, created last fall, now provides students with free and confidential advice concerning student rights and Code of Conduct issues.
Some smaller campaign goals of the Meaney and Laverriere, however, remain unaccomplished. Denied full funding for their GUSARides proposal, the team encouraged GUSA senators to continue voluntarily driving SafeRides vans; even with the implementation of Snack Cab, the program still suffers from low participation. Another campaign promise, Hot Grab ‘n' Go, was never instituted.
Minor hiccups aside, the most important victory for GUSA over the past year has been the organization's increased accountability. By holding regular office hours, Meaney and Laverriere have kept their campaign promise of making executives more accessible. The creation of the Hoya Ideas Community, a site that allows students to submit ideas for improving the university, gives students a louder voice. This improved relationship between GUSA and the student body certainly played a large role in last week's record-high voter turnout.
Meaney and Laverriere's term represents a significant step forward for student government at Georgetown. The leadership of the outgoing executive allowed for tangible improvements to student life and, more importantly, left an example for future leaders of GUSA to follow.