News flash: Georgetown University Student Association President Calen Angert (MSB ’11) and Vice President Jason Kluger (MSB ’11) are halfway done with their terms with a good deal to show for it, and [the recent GUSA Senate elections didn’t involve any chaotic mishaps](

Clearly, something has changed in the world of student government at Georgetown. The GUSA that returned from summer recess seems to be doing a better job than usual.

As chronicled in a report by The Hoya on Tuesday ([“Term Half Done, Ambitions Half Fulfilled,” Oct. 6, 2009, A1](, Angert and Kluger have followed through on many of their campaign promises. Their proposal to certify students as SafeRides drivers will soon materialize, after a series of successful negotiations. They have made similar leaps in their mission to better cater the MBNA Career Education Center to students’ needs. They instituted a GUSA-sponsored LSAT tutoring course to ease access to career-path options, for example. More importantly, they have proven their ability to adapt to student demands quickly. They lobbied for [the establishment of a GUTS bus route to the Safeway in Rosslyn, Va.](, when, after the temporary closing of the Wisconsin Avenue branch, grocery shopping suddenly became a lot less convenient.

That said, not all is well and good; [Angert’s efforts to safeguard students from 61D noise citations issued by the Metropolitan Police Department have come up short]( The onus cannot be placed entirely on their leadership, however, as the problem lies on the obstinacy of MPD. In the months ahead, they ought to make the most of the powers and trust bestowed to them while remaining pragmatic and conscious of the inherent limits of student government. So far, they’ve struck the right balance.

On the institutional level, the GUSA Senate has also made progress. [Its decision to cut the number of slots in the assembly for individual residence halls and add four at-large seats]( was well intentioned. Time will tell, but for now, it seems the move will make future elections more competitive and will make each senator more accountable to a larger population of constituents.

In the most recent election, however, the GUSA Senate still encountered a lack of interest from the student population. No candidates from Harbin Hall (floors six to nine), the university townhouses, or Village A rows E to H vied for positions in the Senate.

Now, the Senate is faced with a quandary: What to do with these three empty seats?

A special election is, understandably, the most transparent path to filling the seats, but the lack of contestants in the primary round of elections is disheartening. In the name of fair representation, however, the Election Commission should contact the residents of each of the residences to attract contenders to the available spots. If a ready and willing candidate expresses interest by a predetermined deadline, then the commission should hold a special election. This is the most time-sensitive of options, as an incomplete Senate does little to foster efficiency and progress.

Should this option fall through, the Senate ought to consider two other paths.

The transition team has recommended that the speaker present a list of capable candidates to the Senate for the body’s approval. This is certainly an appealing option, and would avoid the hurdles that often accompany GUSA elections.

Another route could be taken, however, to preserve the democratic nature of the Senate. By giving three of the newly elected at-large senators the portfolio of an unrepresented area, these selected at-large senators could act as trustees for each assigned residence area. This would preserve the legitimacy by popular vote that is so crucial to any governing body.

For the remainder of the semester, GUSA’s prospects appear good. Student government is more often an ineffective bureaucracy than it is an efficient model for making the student voice heard – maybe it’s finally within reach of achieving the latter.

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