Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Putting a New Spin On GUSA

Poor Twister Murchison (SFS ’06). As the president of GUSA – a group with an unenviable reputation of dysfunction – his job is to make people think the organization matters.

But most of us picture the Student Association as a bureaucratic mess of a group with no real purpose.

The truth? It probably lies somewhere in the middle. But at least this Twister is bringing some winds of change.

Murchison’s latest big idea, the “Accountability and Reform Amendment,” is only the beginning of what GUSA needs to do in order to matter again.

The amendment would change the way representatives are elected, vastly simplify election rules and give GUSA more say in how funding boards dole out money to Georgetown clubs (if you read the proposal, that part is not as scary as it sounds).

According to GUSA’s tireless publicity machine, the amendment would finally give the organization “teeth,” although at least one administrator has said that portions of the amendment may never go into effect.

Anyway, its very introduction shows that GUSA’s current leadership has a broader vision than in the past.

And Murchison has been working hard to reach out to students and administrators.

He is reasonably accessible, does Internet radio shows and has a new online blog full of gems like “Thanks so much to the two people who read this. I look forward to meeting both of you soon.” If you’re really bored, you can even look up urchison’s schedule online.

In a marathon Sunday interview, Murchison and his posse said they often stay up late at night updating GUSA’s Web site and talking about the future of the organization. They go to at least one student club’s meeting every evening and often aren’t in bed until 4 a.m. Their staffers are trying to put lots of interesting ideas into action – like a thank you shindig for DPS officers, for example.

Yes, Murchinson and friends are trying hard, but plenty of GUSA’s infamous white elephants remain lying around.

Lately GUSA has been wasting time demanding that people start calling it the “Student Association” and not GUSA (for the record The Georgetown Voice made the change, but The Hoya hasn’t yet).

Representatives also are renovating their Sellinger Lounge office and creating a prettier Web site that gives GUSA credit for some things it hasn’t really done.

Regular students don’t care about these things.

Not a single student has left a comment on Murchison’s blog or on a discussion board set up for people to comment on recent GUSA policy proposals. And despite GUSA’s urging, only student government reps have sent letters to The Voice or The Hoya in support of the new “amendment.”

Those are all signs that students long-ago stopped caring.

Although it (kind of) oversees important student organizations, GUSA’s assembly has no real power except to pass meaningless resolutions.

That’s why the campus-wide vote on Oct. 12 could be a turning point for Georgetown’s student government.

If Murchison can get his amendment passed, he could be known as the executive who actually got something done. Overhauling the long-maligned assembly could be a catalyst for changing everyone’s perceptions of GUSA.

If he can’t, GUSA stays the same: a nebulous organization full of good, hard working people, but desperately grasping for a seat with Georgetown’s truly great student organizations.

Maybe a solid leader like Murchison, someone with at least a semblance of vision, can start to change people’s perceptions of Georgetown’s student government.

Or maybe we need something stronger than a Twister to change GUSA – like a hurricane.

Moises Mendoza is a senior in the School of Foreign Service and former editor in chief of The Hoya. He can be reached at Days on the Hilltop appears every Tuesday.

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