Nicolo Ferretti (SFS ’21) and Bryce Badger (MSB ’21) were elected as the 2020-21 Georgetown University Student Association president and vice president alongside the passage of three referenda Feb. 6.
Ferretti and Badger finished ahead of student activists Arisaid Gonzalez Porras (COL ’21) and Anahi Figueroa-Flores (COL ’21) and GUSA Senator Joshua Marin-Mora (SFS ’21) by a majority in the first round. The referenda for Georgetown University’s divestment from fossil fuels, a Blue Campus designation and the Student Empowerment Fund all received more than two-thirds votes in favor, according to the GUSA Election Commission.
Ferretti and Badger were the only eligible ticket on the ballot when the campaign season started before three more campaigns joined the race by petition. Over the course of the cycle, executive candidates Julio Salmeron-Perla (SFS ’22) and Gabby Elliott Brault (SFS ’21) withdrew their ticket and Isbel Deleon (COL ’21), Marin-Mora’s running mate, dropped out Feb. 3.
Ferretti expressed high hopes and a desire to fulfill his campaign’s promises to the student body in an interview with The Hoya minutes after results were released.
“I think you’re about to see a GUSA that’s really getting stuff done and trying to bring as many people in as possible, and that excites the hell out of me,” Ferretti said.
The pair of GUSA veterans focused their campaign on issues of sustainability, sexual assault prevention and inclusivity. Among their first priorities while in office is communicating with sexual assault survivors, particularly in the Black and queer communities, to address their concerns, Badger said in an interview with The Hoya.
During the campaign, the team touted their extensive GUSA experience and stressed their commitment to communicating with and advocating for the student body.
Days before the election, 47.7% of students polled by The Hoya indicated they would cast their first-choice vote for Ferretti and Badger. This year, 5.9% of students indicated strong trust in GUSA, marking an increase from 2% in 2019.
Ferretti and Badger both work under the Francis-Olvera administration. Ferretti serves as director of university affairs. During his tenure, Ferretti helped facilitate the Capital Bikeshare student membership program and coordinated with the university to refashion the university website.
Badger works as chief of staff for the Francis-Olvera administration. Previously, Badger worked as student engagement director for former GUSA President Sahil Nair (SFS ’19), who resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
Gonzalez Porras and Figueroa-Flores hoped to use their experience in activism to enhance overlooked student perspectives and bridge a gap in trust between GUSA and the student body.
Gonzalez Porras expressed excitement for Ferretti and Badger and hopes to contribute to their administration.
“I’m excited for Nico and Bryce. I think they are going to do a great job and hopefully they reach out to us with the activism summit because I think we would be a great addition to it,” Gonzalez Porras said. “I never thought I would be running for GUSA and here I am, and now I have something to share if I ever have children.”
In his campaign, Marin-Mora emphasized the importance of socioeconomic inclusivity and mental health resources, issues he believes are often overlooked by GUSA.
Marin-Mora is confident that the Ferretti-Badger administration will effectively advocate for students.
“I think that they are both very dedicated,” Marin-Mora said in an interview to The Hoya. “I think that they are both going to fight for students, and I have no doubt that we’ll be seeing change in the upcoming year.”
Ferretti announced his ticket’s support of all three referenda in the presidential debates Feb. 3.
A referendum attached to the executive election to encourage the university to divest from fossil fuel investments, pushed by student activist group GU Fossil Free, passed with 90.65% of the vote. The victory comes after the university announced that the board of directors had voted to begin the divestment process.
A large margin of victory demonstrates the strength of student enthusiasm for the issue, according to Victoria Boatwright (COL ’22), a member of GUFF.
“I think that the turnout and overwhelming support was representative of how many people care about the issue of the climate crisis and socially responsible investing but also more importantly of how hard our team campaigned and how many people became engaged with the initiative,” Boatwright wrote in a statement to The Hoya. “The results of the referendum and the outcome of the Board of Directors meeting together have totally blown me away.”
A second referendum to promote greater university commitment to environmental sustainability and protection of ocean habitats by designating Georgetown as a Blue Campus also passed with 93.72% of the vote.
The passage of the Blue Campus referendum is an important step in demanding greater university action and accountability regarding environmental issues, according to GUSA Sustainability Chair Rowlie Flores (COL ’22).
“I think protecting our oceans start with realizing that our university plays a significant role in climate change through our policies and practices,” Flores wrote in an email to The Hoya. “And the student body did just that! With more than 93% of the vote, students have shown that they do care about the environment and they demand more institutional changes.”
A third referendum asked students about the creation of a fund to bankroll large student projects on campus. The fund would allocate approximately $50,000 from the $1.09 million collected by the student activities fee every year to a student-run endowment.
The passage of the referendum will help the GUSA Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee better manage Student Activity Fee funds and support student initiatives on campus, Senator Eric Bazail Eimil (SFS ’23) wrote in a message to The Hoya.
“This referendum passing is a huge step for the Georgetown student body,” Bazail wrote. “It’ll help us more effectively spend the revenues from the Student Activity Fee and it’ll help magnify student voices so we can be even bigger stakeholders in the future and evolution of the Hilltop.”