The Georgetown University Student Association’s executive leadership filled 35 senior leadership, operations and cabinet seats to form a team that will work with the administration to develop policy initiatives and support the administration’s goals.

In March, GUSA opened its executive positions to the entire student body, soliciting applications for open roles. GUSA President Sahil Nair (SFS ’19) and Vice President Naba Rahman (SFS ’19) ran on the campaign slogan “Because Every Voice Matters” and attempted to diversify the GUSA executive, according to Chief of Staff Aaron Bennett (COL ’19).

FILE PHOTO: RYAN BAE FOR THE HOYA Georgetown University Student Association President Sahil Nair, above, and Vice President Naba Rahman opened applications for positions in their cabinet to the entire student body.

“We were fortunate enough to receive over 100 applications from all class years, schools, and gender identities, and we found a spot for almost everyone within our administration,” Bennett wrote in an email to The Hoya. “As of now, we have filled our cabinet, our communications and operations staff, GUSA Fund, the Board of Directors representatives, and the alumni liaisons.”

While two cabinet seats are still empty, the 35 administration positions are held by some students with prior GUSA involvement and some who are entirely new to the organization. The entrepreneurship and gender equity cabinet positions remain unfilled.

Alejandro Garcia Escobar Plascencia (SFS ’21), co-deputy for equity and inclusivity, applied to his position after working on Nair and Rahman’s campaign. He had not previously been involved with GUSA, but his experience working on the campaign encouraged him to apply.

“The whole idea of having leadership that reflects the diversity of campus — that’s something that really stood out to me,” Plascencia said.

The GUSA executive is structured into executive leadership, which is the president, vice president and chief of staff; senior leadership, which is deputy chiefs of staff and key advising positions; operations; and the cabinet, which is a group of policy team leaders.

The seven deputy chiefs of staff oversee a cluster of policy teams that assist with the managerial and bureaucratic needs of the administration. The policy teams work on a variety of areas, including accessibility, racial and cultural affairs, free speech and more.

GUSA Accessibility Policy Coalition Chair Anna Landre (SFS ’21) was involved in the accessibility policy team last semester and decided to apply to chair this semester because she was excited that Nair and Rahman wanted to reach people not typically involved with GUSA.

Landre hopes to work on accessibility initiatives that both promote investment in accessible infrastructure and increased social awareness and acceptance of those with disabilities. Landre also worked on Nair and Rahman’s campaign, which was a contributing factor in her decision to apply to be chair.

“I helped on their campaign because I liked where they were going with things,” Landre said. “I’m pretty excited to be able to work with the administration and make this more of a priority than I think it has been in the past.”

Uju Nwaigwe (COL ’20), the new chair of the racial and cultural inclusivity policy coalition, applied for the position without having any prior involvement with GUSA or in Nair and Rahman’s campaign. She saw a disconnect between “clubs of color” and GUSA and saw an opportunity to improve the relationship between these groups.

Although Nwaigwe wanted to become involved in GUSA regardless, she hoped that Nair and Rahman’s administration would be receptive to the concerns of Georgetown students of color.

“I felt they would be more inclusive to changes people probably want to see on campus,” Nwaigwe said.

The GUSA executive’s current model is relatively new, having first been implemented by Enushe Khan (MSB ’17) and Chris Fisk (COL ’17) in 2016. Prior to Khan and Fisk’s administration, the GUSA cabinet was a small group hand-selected by executive leadership.

Now, the GUSA executive is much larger and open to the entire student body. While this model is not new under Nair and Rahman’s administration, they aimed to use the open application process to reach a broader range of students by promoting it on social media and over email, according to Bennett.

While executive positions have been chosen, there will be an opportunity in the fall semester for interested students to become involved with the 23 policy teams.

“In the fall, we’ll continue building out the Executive to include members of policy teams and liaisons to various boards and councils within the university,” Bennett wrote in an email to The Hoya.

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