Axel Abrica (CAS ’25) and Sebastian Cardena (CAS ’26), who are running for Georgetown University Student Association (GUSA) president and vice president, say they plan to use their experience as community advocates to work on behalf of first-generation, low-income and minority students if elected.
The Hoya sat down with Abrica, who currently serves as GUSA’s director of financial accessibility, and Cardena to discuss their campaign and plans if elected. Voting opens Oct. 5 and closes Oct. 7.
Why are you running for GUSA?
Abrica: I want to run because I know how to enact change. I won’t just say that I want to enact change and then not do it. I have a demonstrated history of actually doing what I say, and I just want to keep showing that that’s who I am as president.
Cardena: As a history of being an organizer on campus and with a couple of different organizations, I just want to help push that goal of accessibility, especially both of us as GSPers [Georgetown Scholars Program].
Abrica: I have two sisters. I’m Chicano. I’m Mexican. They’re both Mexican. They’re of color, and just the thought of my two sisters not having the same rights that I have as a white-passing man, but as a man who’s already gotten into this university, in part because of affirmative action, it makes me want to be able to help people like my two sisters, like my brother and people who apply to these higher ed institutions where they already have a disadvantage.
DeGioia has said that he’s gonna use income as a proxy for race in recent interviews, but we need a lot more than that. And so that’s why the two biggest portions of our platform are affirmative action-based, just finding different proxies for race, and then Roe v. Wade-based, where we help women and female-identifying people on campus get access to menstrual resources.
If elected, what are your top priorities?
Abrica: I want to connect the dots between financial accessibility and again, affirmative action, finding different ways to attract Black students and people of color to our university groups, prospective students of color to our university, so that they choose us and we increase our diversity rates — not stay the same, but increase even after the abolition of affirmative action.
Right now, my biggest priority to get that done would be to increase funding for GSP and CSP [Community Scholars Program]. The only community on campus that supports low-income, first-generation students does not have a dedicated endowment and depends on the generosity of rich alumni to fund flights, to send people home, to give people money for food, to give people money for professional development. So the low-income community, which is mostly minority students or people of color, don’t have a sustainable safety net.
How do you believe you’ll be able to accomplish your goals for the term and how are you going to follow through on your campaign promises?
Cardena: I think that there’s two separate points that we’re trying to make with our advocacy. The first one is the nitty-gritty that I think that Axel and I both have a lot of experience with and can get done pretty effectively and easily. Especially if it gets to protests or student support, we can mobilize it, because students know that we’ve been advocating this for a while now. The other things, a lot of these things are very future-oriented goals that we can’t directly impact even with the money that we’re given. But we know that as previous advocates, and especially as people who, for example, like Axel, is trusted by a lot of administrators, because he gets the work done.
Abrica: I think people have a misconception about GUSA executives where everything they promise is gonna happen within that year. That is the least accurate thing possible, because change doesn’t happen in one year. We will carry all the way to the end and then pass it down.
How will you keep voters engaged with GUSA throughout the year if you win the election?
Abrica: We’ve been campaigning on the platform of being the people’s ticket, and we want our policy actions and goals to be participatory. One thing that we have planned for the Student Association budget in general, the $10,000, is that we want direct input from students. And so because of that, we’re going to hold a vote, we’re going to have ideas set out on the table that are gained from students.
Do you support or not support ending legacy admissions?
Abrica and Cardena: Yes.
Do you support or not support changing the name of the SFS after Madeleine Albright?
Abrica and Cardena: No.
Give us your two-sentence elevator pitch as to why students should vote for you.
Cardena: We are two GSPers with a history of advocacy who want to support the most vulnerable communities on campus. Through the work that we’ve done in organizing, both with the administration and on campus, we want to show people that we’ve been here from the start of our advocacy and we’ll continue with any future plans that we have and follow through with them.
Abrica: We are the ticket that has cared since day one and the ticket that will care until December 31 of next year. And like Sebastian said, we’re the ticket that doesn’t just say they’re going to do things, we’re the ticket that has done successful advocacy and will continue doing it for marginalized communities in the future.