Georgetown University Student Association vice presidential candidates Bryce Badger (MSB ’21) and Anahi Figueroa-Flores (COL ’21) highlighted the importance of inclusion and accessibility in student government at the GUSA vice presidential debate Feb. 4.
The debate, which comes just two days before the election, was moderated by Kareeda Kabir (COL ’20), chair of the 2020 GUSA Election Commission. Only two vice presidential hopefuls debated Tuesday after presidential candidate Joshua Marin-Mora’s (SFS ’21) running mate Isbel Deleon (COL ’21) announced her withdrawal from the race Feb. 3. Gabby Elliott Brault (SFS ’21) and Julio Salmeron-Perla’s (SFS ’22) ticket also dropped out of the race.
Figueroa-Flores, an undocumented woman and first-generation college student, decided to run for office because of her desire to empower students like herself who have traditionally been on the fringes of campus affairs, she said at the debate.
“I’m actually very surprised that I’m even standing here or that I even made it this far,” Figueroa-Flores said. “However, I’m proud that I’m here because if I can do it others can do it too. I want to make Georgetown unafraid. I want to empower and amplify students’ voices on campus.”
Badger expressed a similar desire to break down barriers for marginalized students across campus.
“When I got here, and people told me I couldn’t join GUSA because I was a person of color, I ran for senate. And then, on top of that, I came in first place. When I say I’ve never backed down from a fight, I mean it,” Badger said.
Badger, who has years of GUSA experience across different roles and administrations, touted his previous experience in GUSA as important to working with the administration and reengaging the Georgetown student community.
“Regardless of whoever’s elected I know the leaders are going to be passionate and hardworking people, but I think experience is also crucial in that things get pushed through. People don’t wanna just come to meetings or come to these debates if they don’t think GUSA actually has a way to make change on this campus,” Badger said. “Our platform, Nico and I, we’re ready to push things forward, we’re ready to deliver results.”
Badger currently works as the chief of staff for the Francis and Olvera administration. He previously served as the student engagement director for former GUSA president Sahil Nair (SFS ’19), who resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct; Badger and nine other members of the executive team resigned to pressure Nair into resignation.
While Figueroa-Flores and her running-mate Arisaid Gonzalez Porras (COL ’21) have no prior GUSA experience, the team will learn the necessary rules and structure to effectively represent the interests of the student body, Figueroa-Flores told attendees at the debate.
“While I have no experience in GUSA I am committed to learning everything there is,” Figueroa-Flores said. “We will begin by bridging the gap between GUSA and students. I may not have experience but I know for a fact that we are driven and passionate about creating change on campus.”
Figueroa-Flores serves as vice-president of Hoyas For Immigrant Rights, a student activism organization, alongside Gonzalez Porras. In November, they helped organize a walkout to the Supreme Court with 157 attendees.
The pair’s history in activism and civil disobedience will help them advocate for student interests, Figueroa-Flores added.
“Our whole platform has to do with being unafraid. So I think when it comes to pushing the administration and holding them accountable, we will make sure we’ll hold them accountable,” Figueroa-Flores said. “So if that means that we have to do sit ins, we have to do protests, we have to mobilize walkouts, we will have to do that, because administration is not hearing the issues that students have.”
Should they win office, Gonzalez Porras and Figueroa-Flores will strive to continue the advocacy that has defined their campaign, Figueroa-Flores said during closing remarks.
“Our campaign is about amplifying students voices here on campus, so that’s why we decided to run for GUSA,” Figueroa-Flores said. “We want to create spaces we want to expand those spaces we want to give resources to the students who are not heard, to students who feel out of place here. It’s all about making Georgetown unafraid.”
Badger and Ferretti also hope to cultivate a diverse, skilled policy team that will help their administration effectively advocate for different student interests, Badger said in his closing statement.
“Our campaign slogan is ‘your voice, your vote, your Georgetown’ because this campaign is catering to so many different people, and just making sure that everyone feels like they have a voice in GUSA, that’s the reason our banner in Red Square isn’t just Nico and I,” Badger said. “It’s a whole bunch of people. Because this campaign, what we stand for, what we believe in, isn’t just the two of us, it’s all of Georgetown.”