Sometimes great possibilities can arise despite tumultuous circumstances. No one believes that the controversy surrounding this year’s GUSA elections was positive; however, we now have the opportunity to look forward, rather than backward, to an exciting year in office. Our goals are broad and realizable, and it is our sincere hope and expectation that we can make the quality of life of every student better.
First and foremost, it is time for change in the GUSA process. This election has shown the general student body some serious problems in the system, problems that are not new. We’ll immediately create a group to examine and analyze the electoral process; wherever clarity can be improved in the constitution and bylaws of GUSA, we’ll work with the Assembly to make changes. At the same time, we’ll work with the GUSA Funding Board and the other funding boards we appoint in a solid effort to make sure students know where their money is. An open system ensures accountability.
It’s remarkable how short a year is, so we’re hard at work already, planning our transition while working toward our most time-sensitive goals. We have identified several initiatives on which we should be able to make real progress by May 15. The bulk of our work will be accomplished as we work full-time for you this summer, but here are six goals that can hopefully be accomplished this semester:
Grab ‘n Go lunches – Probably our most well-known campaign goal, “grab ‘n go” lunches are, for the first time, a real and feasible goal. With most of the steps already in place, our role is to accelerate the timeline of this project to ensure that incoming freshman learn about grab ‘n go when they receive their meal-plan information this summer. Guaranteed Three-Year Housing – The last year has been extremely important in garnering student representation in the housing selection process. The newly founded Housing Advisory Council has institutionalized student input in the process, and for the first time we had the choice to opt out of housing eligibility. The next logical and feasible step is for Housing and Facilities to guarantee a third year of housing eligibility. The current system all but ensures that every student can live on campus for three years, so we’ll work through the Housing Advisory Council and with Karen Frank, vice president for housing and facilities, to make three years of housing officially guaranteed. Ask Jack – One of the first things we’re going to do is create the e-mail address askjackgeorgetown.edu to serve as a contact point for anything and everything Georgetown-related. Knowing how to get something done on this campus can be a nightmare for students, so whether you want to start a club on campus, help a friend with an eating disorder or report a broken washing machine, Ask Jack will route you to the people or resources who can help you. Updated Campus Maps – The maps that are around campus are horrendously outdated (who knew we still had a baseball field?) and, in our opinion, need to be changed before graduation. This is an easy way to improve campus aesthetics, and we’ll take it into our first meeting with Provost James O’Donnell. We understand that the campus is continually growing, but it would not be a great financial burden to place inexpensive maps directly over the ones currently under glass until we can find funding for a more permanent solution. Conscientious Construction – As a school that has been under construction as long as any of us have been here, there is a delicate balance between meeting the growing needs of our campus while cautiously considering the needs of current students. Construction of the Performing Arts Center will have an effect on every student, but especially those in Copley and Harbin Halls. We respect the university’s needs, but we’ll go to Isaac Blair, executive director of project management, and help the administration see the importance of not waking up students at 6 a.m., especially during finals. Know Your Rights Initiative – The Know Your Rights Initiative is a long-term project of GUSA in conjunction with the FRIENDS Initiative and the Corp, and it is now slated for completion. The final product will be a booklet detailing the rights we have here as students and residents. The project has stalled recently due to requested information from D.C. Metropolitan Police that has not been received. We will work with Dr. Porterfield, vice president for public affairs and strategic development to complete the booklet.
We look forward to serving you throughout the coming year and encourage you to keep us accountable and stay involved. After all the controversy that has occurred, our main promise to you is that we will uphold the office with integrity and true servant leadership. The main reason we wanted to run was to make everyday life easier, and we will do this through careful consideration of our nine core values: servant leadership, integrity, experience, creativity, inclusiveness, representativeness, cooperation, tenacity and transparency. If you ever think we’re not upholding our end, let us know. We’re here to serve and can be reached at gusageorgetown.edu.
Adam Giblin is a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service and is GUSA President-elect.