STANLEY DAI/THE HOYA Potential candidates for the GUSA presidency attended compulsory information sessions Jan. 28 and Feb. 2. Campaigning will officially begin Feb. 5 at midnight, while debates for presidential and vice presidential candidates will be held in the week before the election Feb. 19.
STANLEY DAI/THE HOYA
Potential candidates for the GUSA presidency attended compulsory information sessions Jan. 28 and Feb. 2. Campaigning will officially begin Feb. 5 at midnight, while debates for presidential and vice presidential candidates will be held in the week before the election Feb. 19.

While students campaigning for executive positions in the Georgetown University Student Association will formally announce their candidacy Feb. 5, two mandatory information sessions hosted by the GUSA Election Commission hinted as to how the tickets may round out.

Nine students, not including campus media, attended the first session, held Wednesday, Jan. 28, including Alex Bobroske (SFS ’17), Craig Levites (COL ’17), Joe Luther (COL ’16), Connor Rohan (COL ’16), Tim Rosenberger (COL ’16), Reno Varghese (SFS ’16), Chris Wadibia (COL ’16) and Meredith Cheney (COL ’16).

More students attended the second meeting, held Monday, Feb. 2. Among them were Abbey McNaughton (COL ’16), Will Simons (COL ’16), Sara Margolis (COL ’16) and Ryan Shymansky (COL ’16).

Sources confirm presidential and vice-presidential pairings of Rosenberger and Varghese, McNaughton and Simons, Margolis and Shymansky, and Luther and Rohan. However, possible contenders cannot speak in their capacity as GUSA executive candidates until the official campaign period begins.

There will be two debates for presidential and vice presidential candidates, respectively, held Feb. 11 and Feb. 16. The election will be held Feb. 19.

To accommodate schedules and the annual GUSA budget request that typically takes place the Sunday after the election, the election dates are a week earlier than normal, according to GUSA Election Commissioners Pavan Rajgopal (SFS ’15), Alden Fletcher (SFS ’17) and Grady Willard (SFS ’18). The commissioners said that they hope this year’s campaign is fair and constructive.

“We’ve had clean campaigns for the last two or three years now,” Rajgopal said. “We want to keep that track record.”

Although candidates have not officially declared, online articles have appeared criticizing certain campaigns. The election commissioners and potential candidates declined to comment on such articles before the start of the official campaign season Feb. 5.

Rajgopal and Fletcher both said that the mix of GUSA insiders and non-GUSA candidates is good for the campaign and school. McNaughton, Margolis, Rosenberger and Varghese have served on GUSA in some capacity, while the other students at the information sessions have not been involved with the association.

“I think it provides a nice diversity of views,” Fletcher said. “People who know and have a history of working with administrators, and people who want to get more involved and see the issue from a different approach.”

Rajgopal echoed this sentiment and said that non-GUSA candidates can provide unique insight to the executive team.

“It’s good to have people with experience in student government because there are a lot of processes and procedures for which that helps,” Rajgopal said. “At the same time, it’s good that there are lots of people coming in with an outside perspective because sometimes things can get wrapped up in procedure.”

Current GUSA President Trevor Tezel (SFS ’15) and Vice President Omika Jikaria (SFS ’15) offered their advice to the candidates about how to navigate the anxiety and pressure of campaigning during the Feb. 2 meeting.

“First and foremost is to do your best to keep it clean,” Tezel said. “These elections can get very passionate and heated but it’s important that all parties remember that everyone has a common goal and that it’s only by maintaining a respectful dialogue that we will be able to get there.”

Jikaria reminded candidates that this is a long process and it is important to maintain balance.

“Keep in mind that this is definitely a marathon, not a sprint,” Jikaria said. “Take care of yourself. Have fun. Be thankful for the people around you helping you.”

 

Correction: A previous version of the article did not state that Chris Wadibia (COL ’16) and Meredith Cheney (COL ’16) were present. In fact, Cheney was present at the Jan. 28 meeting.

Correction: A previous version of the article states that the elections were a week later than previous years. In fact, the elections are one week earlier than previous elections. The election will take place Feb. 19.

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