The 2015 Georgetown University Student Association executive race began at the stroke of midnight today, as five campaigns vied for advertising space in Red Square at the start of the official campaign period.
The presidential and vice presidential tickets consist of Joe Luther (COL ’16) and Connor Rohan (COL ’16), Sara Margolis (COL ’16) and Ryan Shymansky (COL ’16), Abbey McNaughton (COL ’16) and Will Simons (COL ’16), Tim Rosenberger (COL ’16) and Reno Varghese (SFS ’16), and Chris Wadibia (COL ’16) and Meredith Cheney (COL ’16).
By 11:45 p.m. three groups of campaign staffers were present in the square, waiting to unfurl their campaign posters and fliers. Groups included those of McNaughton and Simons, Rosenberger and Varghese, and Margolis and Shymansky. McNaughton, Simons, Rosenberger and Varghese were present, while Margolis and Shymansky did not appear in the square.
At 11:58 p.m., the three groups began to sing “There Goes Old Georgetown,” the fight song, in unison as a fourth group, led by Luther and Rohan arrived with staff.
GUSA Election Commissioner Alden Fletcher (SFS ’17) was on hand to oversee the adherence to campaign rules. While the Healy Clock did not chime, the four teams began to hang their posters high in Red Square after agreeing it was midnight, with the help of ladders and duct tape. Luther and Rohan failed to bring a ladder, and borrowed a ladder from McNaughton and Simons’ team.
McNaughton and Simons’ poster, which went up first, featured a colorful painting of Healy Hall and read “Rise Together.”
“[The energy] has been awesome,” McNaughton said. “It’s been a lot of fun. People seem really excited. … I think this year is a great opportunity for some really good policy discussions and I’m really looking forward to that. We’re happy that it’s not snowing this year.”
Rosenberger and Varghese put up their poster second, with the help of Thomas Lloyd (SFS ’15), a former GUSA presidential candidate. The poster read “For the Love of Georgetown.”
“You have to be excited,” Rosenberger said. “No matter what happens in this campaign, we have a lot of issues we’re bringing that haven’t been discussed at Georgetown and we’re going to really reshape the way this conversation is happening on campus.”
The staff of Margolis and Shymansky affixed their poster, reading “Believe in Georgetown,” third. According to campaign staffer Reed Howard (SFS ’17), the candidates were in Nevils with the rest of their staff.
“Tonight’s a great celebration,” Howard said. “It’s a very exciting season for Georgetown. All of these candidates put out so many good ideas for how to make Georgetown a better place and I’m excited for what’s going to unfold. I know Sara and Ryan have the best vision for what Georgetown can be and I believe they’re the people to make that happen.”
Luther and Rohan’s poster, which went up fourth, featured a graphic of Darnall Hall and read “YouTopia.”
“We’re running on YouTopia,” Rohan said. “We’re essentially going to make everything perfect and there are never going to be problems again. We have SportsTopia, ArtsTopia. Our slogan is Blank-Topia, because you fill in the blank.”
Rohan said that his staffers are excited to begin the campaign.
“We’re excited and optimistic for the future,” Rohan said. “We definitely recommend you check out our platform. It’s good satire.”
At 12:20 a.m. a group of around 30 staffers ran from the doors of White-Gravenor Hall whooping and yelling, led by Chris Wadibia (COL ’16) and Meredith Cheney (COL ’16). The group gathered around its candidates, chanting, “Hang that sign!” Cheney helped nail the poster, which featured graphics of the candidates’ profiles and read “Dignity,” onto the wood of the right front-facing wall in Red Square.
“For the Chris and Meredith 2015 campaign, the atmosphere could not have been any better,” Wadibia said. “It was fully passionate. … Everyone was so excited, the energy couldn’t have been higher and we’re full of passion and excitement moving forward.”
The campaign’s Head of Social Media Natalia Peña (COL ’17) said the group was late because of the excitement.
“We were upstairs in a room all together, and we were just cheering on inside,” Peña said. “We forgot that we had to flier. We were just so excited because we love each other so much. We’d like to think that we’re a family, and I think everything here’s really shown that. I mean look at all these people who came out at midnight as a force.”
The group also formed a dance circle, chanting the names of staffers who danced for a few seconds each.
The official campaign period will feature two debates, on Feb. 11 and Feb. 16, respectively, and will culminate in a vote Feb. 19.
Hoya Staff Writers Tom Garzillo and Andrew Wallender contributed reporting. Full story to come in Friday’s edition of The Hoya.