The Student Group Union identified overlap between its work and GUSA platforms while endorsing ideas — but not any particular candidate — for the next GUSA executive in a press release Monday.
The SGU works to improve the experience of student groups on campus and foster cohesion between student organizations. Though it is not endorsing a single ticket, the group said that many ideas outlined in campaign platforms by candidates for the Georgetown University Student Association are similar to its initiatives.
“Any ideas about GUSA creating forms, trying to work more closely with student groups as far as listening to them and channelling relations seem redundant,” SGU Executive Committee Chair Aman Shahi (COL ’13) said. “We already provide services that channel these concerns.”
Specifically, SGU organizes a semiannual summit for student groups to voice concerns about programming on campus.
“We are trying to specify what issues are most common and frustrating for student leaders,” Shahisaid.
He said that there is an unnecessary overlap between the function of SGU and proposed GUSAplatforms.
“It doesn’t make sense for GUSA to be concerned with trying to channel student voice in a way that we already are,” Shahi said. “It would be more effective for GUSA to work with us, instead of doing their own work.”
One issue that has been raised frequently throughout the course of the campaign is student space.SGU has tried to address the hardships of space reservation with the Programming Incident Report Form initiative, which allows student leaders to fill out a form when they have complaints regarding space reservation. SGU will present the collection of complaints to administration in a few months.
“We are trying to specify what issues are most common and frustrating for student leaders,” Shahisaid. “We are accepting complaints now, and in a few months, we will have clear evidence that issues exist.”
Since SGU is only a year old, its relative youth may be a cause of overlap between its work and GUSAcandidates’ ideas, Shahi said.
“We just finished our complete first year,” Shahi said. “But not all tickets are familiar with student life, and it is concerning that people are not aware of us or acknowledging us.”
There also seems to be a lack of transparent communication between GUSA and SGU.
“We are not working as close together as we need to be,” said Shahi.
Shahi said both groups would benefit from improved coordination. One example is the six-points reform plan passed by GUSA in fall 2009, which some advisory boards fail to follow.
“GUSA has the ability to withhold funding if advisory boards are not adhering to points, and SGU does not have this power, so we need to work together on this,” Shahi said.
The basic challenges that student leaders face on a daily basis are not recognized in GUSA platforms, Shahi said.
“Things like redundant forms or lack of access to financial records aren’t platform issues during the GUSA campaign, and these are things that treasurers go through every day,” he said. “They make a huge difference in the life of a student leader.”
Shahi said that both SGU and GUSA will need to work with the university administration to solve these problems.
“We simply can’t do this alone,” he said. “[The] administration will have to break down some of their own barriers and bureaucratic structures to streamline processes.”