This Wednesday, students will elect a new GUSA President and Vice President from a nine-ticket field. Despite the unusually large number of candidates, Pravin Rajan (SFS ’07) and Nate Wright (COL ’06) set themselves apart. Combining a proven track record both inside and outside of the Student Association with a thoroughly-researched yet refreshingly realistic platform, Rajan-Wright provide Georgetown the best hope of revitalizing our Student Association and accomplishing changes that will improve students’ experiences on the Hilltop.

Rajan and Wright have demonstrated a relentless pursuit of results that turns ideas into reality. Outside of GUSA, Rajan and Wright worked with the FRIENDS initiative last February to coordinate the Hilltop Auction, an event that raised over $3,000 for community service groups. Both sit on the FRIENDS Leadership Team and have also been involved in reforming the sexual assault policy, working on groups including R U Ready and Georgetown University Men Advocating Responsible Relationships. Wright has been at the forefront of Georgetown’s global humanitarian community, active in Students Taking Action Now: Darfur and tsunami relief efforts.

Although both Rajan and Wright could be considered GUSA insiders – a term that comes with less-than-positive connotations following last year’s elections debacle and GUSA’s ensuing lack of legitimacy – they represent the strongest advocates for change within Georgetown’s student government. Rajan, a class assemblyman for the past two years, and Wright, vice-chair of the assembly this year, together offer the most interesting and practical solutions on restoring legitimacy to GUSA. They propose to reform GUSA by seeking student feedback at every step of the process. They have already researched systems at other Jesuit schools in an effort to inject new ideas into the GUSA reform dialogue.

Although other tickets boast similar experience and leadership, Rajan and Wright are the only candidates who have demonstrated practical knowledge about how to implement their goals. They know how to move initiatives through the university system, and they understand how students can best work with administrators to achieve tangible results. Furthermore, the ticket has built a coalition of student experts that already have experience in working on various issues from dining services to sexual assault. When elected, Rajan and Wright will draw upon their own background and this coalition of student expertise in order to turn their campaign promises into reality.

The ticket of Happy Johnson (COL ’07) and Vikram Agrawal (SFS ’07) is comparable in experience to Rajan and Wright, but most similarities end there. Johnson and Agrawal have an extensive and thoughtful platform, but below the surface of their “One Georgetown” theme, Johnson and Agrawal’s ideas far too often consist of more campaign rhetoric than substance.

Johnson, a current GUSA representative and Agrawal, chief of staff to the current executives, have considerable experience but appear less proficient in implementing their ideas. Johnson, to his credit, has taken the lead in the initiative to expand the number of businesses that accept the GoCard, but this is the sole issue on which Johnson and Agrawal could articulate a clear plan of action. Their record pales in comparison to that of Rajan and Wright.

Nilou Huff (SFS ’06) and Anders Fremstad (COL ’06) are running on the single-issue platform of the living wage. Huff and Fremstad are the most passionate and honest ticket, and their efforts in taking action on this pressing social issue are commendable. GUSA, however, is as an association in the service of students, and Huff and Fremstad lack the necessary knowledge and experience about issues directly affecting students. The new administration, though, could do no better than enlisting Huff and Fremstad to lead GUSA’s efforts to have the Georgetown adopt a sustainable wage policy for our contracted workers.

The tickets of Joe Dickey (COL ’06) and Tom Verghese (MSB ’06), Paul Diver (COL ’06) and Adity “Deets” Sankaranarayan (SFS ’07), and Colin Krainin (COL ’07) and Chin-Hao Huang (SFS ’07) all bring an outsider perspective and many fresh, creative ideas to this year’s GUSA race. These “outsider” tickets, however, must do more than make novel proposals and lament current GUSA ongoings in order to truly become electable. They must offer concrete solutions that show a basic knowledge of how GUSA can feasibly implement them. Dickey and Verghese offer some refreshing ideas like establishing a student-to-student scholarship fund and Krainin and Huang offer insightful critiques of the current GUSA bureaucracy, but though they partially understand the issues, these three tickets fall short in demonstrating their ability to get the job done.

Aaron Figura (MSB ’07) and Jordan Manekin (COL ’07) and David Loebsack (MSB ’06) and Roni LaSasso (COL ’06) are two more tickets that due to their inexperience and the impracticality of their proposals should not be considered. Despite their energy and commitment to Georgetown, both tickets have only a superficial understanding of all that goes into accomplishing the goals that they propose. Finally, John Wilson (COL ’06) and Alfred Frawley (COL ’06) are self-admittedly a joke ticket.

The winners of this year’s election will take office during a challenging time for GUSA. With growing concerns over GUSA’s legitimacy, many may brush aside some of the accomplishments that Rajan and Wright have already achieved, such as Rajan’s preliminary work to instate a long-term housing policy that will provide students with a predictable lottery system. His recognition of the need for GUSA reform but resistance to Hampton’s recently-proposed constitution shows that he understands the current weaknesses of the GUSA system yet has the sense and forward-mindedness to institute innovative reform.

The choice is clear – vote Rajan and Wright. Together, they have the vision, experience and results that will overcome these challenges and best serve GUSA and most importantly, students in the year ahead. Together, they combine impressive leadership skills and diverse experiences that give them the advantageous knowledge of GUSA while not becoming consumed by the association’s bureaucratic labyrinth.

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