Georgetown University Student Association President Clara Gustafson (SFS ’13) and Vice President Vail Kohnert-Yount (SFS ’13) were inaugurated Saturday, ushering in a new staff and a new set of initiatives.
The pair chose to maintain a similar cabinet structure to that of their predecessors, but altered some staff positions to better reflect the unique goals of their campaign platform. The roles of Director of Strategic Development and Director of Career Services were replaced with Directors of Social Justice, Academic Affairs and Special Initiatives.
According to Gustafson, these positions are aligned with new projects, such as the creation of an academic research symposium and the implementation of a permanent director for the Center for Social Justice.
Gustafson and Kohnert-Yount also appointed directors to continue many of former President Mike Meaney (SFS ’12) and Vice President Greg Laverriere’s (COL ’12) initiatives.
GUSA Senator Colton Malkerson (COL ’13), the chair of the Finance and Appropriations Committee, will resign from his senate seat to serve as director of student activities fee and endowment implementation.
Jack Appelbaum (COL ’14), chair of the Student Activities Commission, will serve as Director of Student Life Report Implementation. According to Appelbaum, fulfilling every recommendation by the end of his term is not a realistic goal, but smaller recommendations can be implemented quickly and publication of the report is as important as its execution.
“It’s about implementing the recommendations but also creating a larger conversation on campus about the importance of student engagement,” he said.
Appelbaum plans to first prioritize the recommendations listed in the report and then delegate them to other members of the executive cabinet. He emphasized centralizing the space reservation system and increasing student access to the administration as important goals.
Gustafson also highlighted the necessity of a single space booking system as advocated by the Student Life Report 2012, listing the initiative as part of her administration’s top three priorities along with the creation of an undergraduate research symposium and finding a permanent director for the Center for Social Justice.
Hiring a permanent CSJ director was a central focus of Gustafson and Kohnert-Yount’s campaign, as the search has stalled over the last two years. One complication that GUSA faces is that the position reports to the Provost, and the search for a replacement for current Provost James O’Donnell, who is leaving at the end of the semester, is ongoing.
Gustafson and Kohnert-Yount also hope to add a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and/or Questioning check box to the CHARMS questionnaire for freshmen.
The GUSA senate approved the staff and cabinet structure unanimously Sunday.
Jake Sticka (COL ’13) was appointed chief of staff. Senator Yupang Chang (MSB ’15) will serve as director of special initiatives, while other cabinet positions will be announced this week.
The finalization of the executive cabinet and staff leaves five senate seat vacancies.
At the inauguration ceremony, Gustafson expressed her excitement about her term.
“Vail and I have an incredible opportunity to really make a meaningful change here at Georgetown and hope that we will serve all of you well in the next year,” she said.