The eighth session of the Georgetown University Student Association senate, inaugurated Sunday afternoon, was elected last Thursday with record voter turnout.
Approximately 47 percent of the student body, or 2,966 undergraduates, cast ballots, an increase from last year’s 34 percent, or 2,631 students.
GUSA President Nate Tisa (SFS ’14) attributed part of the high turnout to the satellite housing referendum that was on the same ballot as the senate election. However, Tisa said that students are also increasingly interested in GUSA’s work.
“As GUSA continues to work on more projects in more areas of student life, students are more and more looking to GUSA for advocacy and assistance in a wide variety of areas,” Tisa said. “We’re more diverse and more representative of the student body than ever before.”
Overall, 77 students competed for 28 seats in the senate. Nine out of 14 GUSA senators running for reelection from the previous session were successful.
Competitiveness across districts was uneven, with nearly half of the 77 candidates competing for six seats in the two freshman-only districts, while candidates in LXR Hall and townhouses ran uncontested.
Sunday’s inauguration inducted a record number of 10 female senators to GUSA. Female representation this year is a slight increase from the nine women who held seats last year. Women accounted for slightly more than 50 percent of this years’ candidates for the senate, another record.
Incumbent GUSA senator Abby Cooner (SFS ’16) helped coordinate the ElectHer conference aimed to increase female representation among student leaders prior to the election.
“I’m really pleased to see an increase of female senators once again,” Cooner said. “I think GUSA is moving toward a new and exciting direction. With the increasing number of young women, it will be able to represent the student body more equally.”
GUSA’s effort in engaging the off-campus student population also showed results in the election. Six candidates, an increase from last year’s three candidates, competed for the five spots for the off-campus district. Three hundred and forty-seven votes were cast in the off-campus race, more than double the number cast in last year’s election.
Tisa pointed out that the 2010 Campus Plan agreement, which aims to centralize student activities back on campus, has led off-campus students to seek greater representation.
“It makes sense — neighborhood relations issues have cut to the core of almost everything the university has done since the campus plan. Off-campus students are most directly affected,” he said.
GUSA senators Cannon Warren (SFS ’14) and Andrew Logerfo (COL ’14), who ran unsuccessfully on a ticket for the GUSA executive in the spring, were both elected as representatives in the off-campus districts.
Warren and Logerfo together received a total of 179 first round votes, higher than the 175 votes the pair received from the executive election.
Logerfo described the results as interesting, noting that the two together garnered more votes in the off-campus senate race, which consists of a voting population of approximately one-sixth of the undergraduate student body.
“I think it’s just interesting. We were running in a much smaller pool but receiving more votes. I would say that we’re probably more established off campus,” Logerfo said.
“This is also less of a joking campaign,” he added, referring to the pair’s executive campaign’s focus on a campus-wide rat attack challenge.
Tisa, who served as a three-time senator before becoming GUSA president, expressed confidence in the growing presence of the student government.
“It’s been incredible to see the ways GUSA’s off-campus engagement has surged in the past few years,” he said.