In a progressive move for student-neighborhood relations, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners Kendyl Clausen (SFS ’16) and Reed Howard (SFS ’17) were unanimously appointed additional student representatives to the Georgetown Community Partnership Steering Committee on July 10.
Prior to their appointment, only one undergraduate, the sitting Georgetown University Student Association president, served on the GCP Steering Committee. Clausen and Howard join Joe Luther (COL ’16) as the committee focuses on negotiations surrounding the 2018 campus plan.
Clausen said increased student representation on the committee should both alleviate some of Luther’s workload and ensure more student voices are heard.
“It just gives more student perspective, because that’s a lot of pressure to put on one student, to represent the entire campus community,” Clausen said. “It will be a lot less pressure on him, and a lot easier for us to represent different factions of the university community.”
The GCP, created in the 2010 Campus Plan and launched in 2011, aims to increase collaboration between the neighborhood, university administration and student body. Its primary role is to explore the upcoming campus plan, providing a forum where all affected parties are able to collaborate. The steering committee, specifically, is the working group that manages these negotiations.
“Everyone can work together and come up with a consensus-based plan, instead of an adversarial plan,” Clausen said.
Howard emphasized the inclusion of a diverse set of student communities as the steering committee begins to draft the 2018 Campus Plan.
“I am putting in the hard work to ensure that my service is inclusive of all Hoya communities. Instead of expecting students to come to me with ideas for the campus plan, I will go to the meetings of sports teams, cultural associations, art groups, etc to make this next campus plan as inclusive as possible,” Howard wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Student representation in the GCP was one of the main points highlighted in a petition drafted by the Georgetown University Student Association Campus Plan Subcommittee this past spring semester. The petition, “Let’s Not Get Screwed Again,” was released in late March and has since garnered around 2,600 signatures.
“This was our first priority at the start of our administration. Students overwhelmingly voiced their support in April and their calls have been answered,” GUSA Vice President Conor Rohan (COL ’16) said. “We are happy with the GCP’s decision and look forward to continued and meaningful student input in the campus plan process.”
Additionally, the petition demands the university does not require a mandate for more students to live on campus than in the 2010 Campus Plan and that the university prioritizes renovations of buildings over new construction projects.
Clausen said her appointment symbolizes a step forward in student collaboration with both administrators and members of the neighborhood.
“This is more important in symbolism than it is in actually affecting the campus plan negotiations, because I think it shows that the GCP is a thing that students are a part of,” Clausen said. “It really shows that the community is reaching out to students for student input and that they care about making sure that everybody feels that they are being benefitted.”
As current ANC2E commissioners, Clausen and Howard have experience with different working groups and have already built relationships with the GCP. The ANC advises D.C. city government on a variety of proposals that relate to neighborhood life.
“The relationships from my time on the ANC will be helpful in effectively representing students on the Georgetown Community Partnership Steering Committee because I understand both what students need and what neighbors want; therefore, I can frame student interests in a way that is mutually beneficial to all involved parties,” Howard wrote.
Clausen also highlighted seeking solutions that will benefit all parties, but added that she has no specific goals or concerns as she moves forward in her new position.
“I look forward to seeing how my and Reid’s input can be used moving forward, but I don’t think there’s anything specific that anybody’s really necessarily rallying for, besides trying to represent the student body as much as possible and get what’s best for the students, as well as what’s best for the neighbors and the administration,” Clausen said.
The university also expressed its support for Clausen and Howard in a statement to The Hoya.
“We are happy to have more students engaged in the Georgetown Community Partnership and look forward to continuing the collaborative and productive work of the partnership,” Director of Media Relations Rachel Pugh wrote.