The Georgetown University Graduate Student Government (GradGov), which represents members of the graduate school community, is holding elections this weekend to select its Executive Board for the 2023-24 academic year.
Candidates are running for various positions, including Executive President, Executive Vice President and Treasurer, as well as various director positions tasked with advocacy efforts, communication management and technology development. Students interacted with candidates as they shared their visions for Georgetown’s graduate schools at a March 17 town hall before polls open.
While polls are not open to the general graduate student body, GradGov senators will be able to cast their ballots using a ranked-choice system from March 24-26, according to GradGov Director of Elections Mac Milin Kiran (GRD ’25).
Aurmin Amirmokri (GRD ’24), a candidate for Executive President, said solutions to improve student housing accessibility are at the top of his list of priorities as a candidate.
“A lot of graduate students have been having a lot of trouble with housing, they’ve been priced out. Availability is really poor, especially in these market conditions,” Amirmokri told The Hoya. “I want to be able to build some sort of coalition or partnership with apartments that are already in place, that already have some Georgetown graduate students.”
The Washington, D.C. metropolitan area faces a housing shortage, according to a data analysis from the Brookings Institute. The Georgetown neighborhood faces an amplified problem, as multimillion dollar homes and a lack of available units rank it as a “high-end” neighborhood for renters, pushing many graduate students to more affordable areas that come with the tradeoff of a sometimes lengthy commute, including areas in northern Virginia like Rosslyn and Arlington.
Amirmokri said he also hopes to advocate for the specific needs of graduate students, including expanding the offerings of professional development opportunities.
“I want to make sure we have the resources and support we need to succeed,” Amirmokri said. “This could include research and networking, advocating for better funding and support for our graduate students and so forth.”
Micaila Curtis (GRD ’25), another candidate for Executive President, said that while the heavy course load associated with graduate school can be burdensome, the impact she is able to make through GradGov inspires her to continue to engage with the organization.
“I find meaningful purpose in serving my peers, hearing their stories, constantly being inspired by them, and knowing that ‘hobbies’/activities outside my Ph.D. work can help bring positive change in this world, too,” Curtis wrote to The Hoya.
Curtis also said that she hopes to see GradGov and its members connect in a meaningful way with the administrators who keep the university running.
“Some current initiatives I hope to continue are building more collaborative partnerships with our higher administrative members across more branches, so more of our GradGov leaders are able to work directly with the university’s faculty and staff and learn more about their roles on an institutional level,” Curtis wrote.
Alex Grant (GRD ’24), a candidate for Executive Vice President, said he aspires to modernize the disorganized legislative process within GradGov and create a space in which student representatives can effectively address issues faced by students.
“My number one priority is to give the power to the senators from each graduate school and program to address the issues their constituents are passionate about,” Grant wrote to The Hoya. “This tool will be a game changer for the senate to hear and address the concerns such as international student affairs, transportation and housing, to name a few, which are dear to graduate students.”
Grant, who currently serves as a GradGov senator and as its deputy director of student rights and conduct, said joining the organization has been an enriching experience. Grant said he encourages students interested in GradGov to find ways to get involved.
“GradGov offers the opportunity for you to have your voice heard and make an impact on campus,” Grant wrote. “You don’t necessarily have to be elected, you could join one of our working groups or apply to be the director or deputy director of a committee.”
No matter the outcome at the ballot box, Amirmokri said that GradGov will be run well and with dedication from its chief executives.
“Regardless of the outcome, I really think whoever’s President and Vice President, Georgetown is in great hands,” Amirmokri said. “Everybody really cares deeply about the school and just wants the best for the entire student body.”
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