Who do you choose in a battle between experience and fresh thinking? This year’s Georgetown University Student Association presidential election pits achievement against untested but impressive enthusiasm. The ambitious goals put forth in the campaigns have upped the ante when it comes to improving student life. Each of the four tickets brings something valuable to the table, but the challenges of the next year have their match: Calen Angert (MSB ’11) and Jason Kluger (MSB ’11).

 

The incumbents will tell you they accomplished 100 percent of their agenda last year. While that assertion is perhaps a slight exaggeration, their record backs up their claim that they left none of their proposed initiatives untouched and no legislative stone unturned. High points for GUSA in the last year include a new student SafeRides drivers program, a subsidized LSAT course and the establishment of the Georgetown Samaritans – a long overdue group focused on community service and building positive neighborhood relations that first spread its wings in the aftermath of Snowmaggedon.

For the coming year, Angert and Kluger have proposed further student life initiatives such as a Zipcar rental program (inspired by the existing program at The George Washington University) and an improvement of the lackluster – and often frustrating – state of student space. To address the second point, they want to open up the GUSA office for wider student use and centralize the online process for booking meeting rooms.

Our praise of the incumbent ticket should not be taken as a complete dismissal of the other tickets. Nor should it be perceived as an oversight of potential pitfalls in the next year for Angert and Kluger. If elected, the two won’t have the prospect of re-election hanging over their heads – they must be careful not to ostracize certain sectors of the student body while carrying out executive duties. And their opponents cannot be cast aside.

Matt Wagner (SFS ’11) and Emmanuel Hampton (COL ’11) are Angert and Kluger’s most viable opposition. They have laid out an impressive platform, and are second only to Angert and Kluger when it comes to GUSA experience.

One of their more enticing proposals is the creation of an off-campus housing fair. When explaining the idea to us, Wagner and Hampton expressed a willingness to go door to door to drum up landlord involvement, a testament to their dedication to GUSA. The senate and the campus will depend on their work and input for the coming year if Angert and Kluger are re-elected. Given the larger role GUSA has carved out for itself – largely as a product of club finance reform – having voices like Wagner and Hampton to balance the senate is key.

But continuity is the answer for GUSA this year. The GUSA Senate has taken a more prominent role on campus since the last presidential election; their newfound goals and (dare we say) efficiency will be best solidified under the guidance of the current executive team. Angert and Kluger have an established network and know the system, and their work ethic should not go unnoticed. Equipped with a year of executive experience under their belts, Angert and Kluger would move smoothly into a second term, no learning curve necessary.

More importantly, Angert and Kluger have learned from their mistakes. When we questioned them about their shortcomings, they readily acknowledged that they mishandled the debate over club funding reserve accounts early last year. We don’t dispute their opponents’ ability to come armed with the same energy and commitment, but Angert and Kluger will likely be better equipped to overcome unexpected setbacks, especially early on.

GUSA Sen. Arman Ismail (COL ’11) and his running mate Tucker Stafford (COL ’12) have centered their platform on inclusion. They admirably argue for an improved Latin American studies program, and offer a unique proposal to appoint GUSA liaisons to the LGBTQ community and student athletes to improve communication.

The concept of inclusion, however, is emphasized to a fault in their campaign. They are so focused on hearing the input of others, that they seem likely to fall victim to unintended bureaucracy. A GUSA president can’t please everybody, and the executive has to be willing to take a decisive position when faced with difficult choices.

If re-elected, some of the best advice Angert and Kluger ought to consider is the brainchild of the GUSA outsider ticket. Hillary Dang (SFS ’12) and Katie Balloch (COL ’12) have no previous GUSA experience, which allows them to offer a perspective grounded in the concerns of the everyday, non-senator student. This is not throwaway praise: Out of the four tickets, their suggestion that the GUSA Finance and Appropriations Committee work with a financial adviser was the most direct and refreshing answer to the question of how to ensure that GUSA doesn’t get in over its head with its new club funding process.

If they are elected, however, Dang and Balloch’s lack of GUSA experience will catch up with them. They can use their campaign and ideas as a base for a senate run next fall or further GUSA involvement as part of Angert and Kluger’s team.

At the end of the day, Angert and Kluger are in a unique position. Their re-election bid falls during a period of growth for GUSA and potentially perilous change, especially when it comes to finance reform. Over the past year, they have demonstrated their ability to deliver on a specific, itemized platform. They have a vision for the campus’s future and the experience to ensure they waste little time. They can capitalize on already established relationships with student leaders and organizations, feedback they have received over the past year and fresh criticisms that arise during the campaign. Over the last 12 months, GUSA has gone a long way toward remaking itself. Another year with Angert and Kluger at the helm promises a continual upswing.

 

*Editor’s Note: Editorial Board member Shane Hickey did not participate in the endorsement process.*

*To send a letter to the editor on a recent campus issue or Hoya story or a viewpoint on any topic, contact opinion@thehoya.com. Letters should not exceed 300 words, and viewpoints should be between 600 to 800 words*”

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