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GUSA executive appoints diverse cabinet and staff
Last weekend, newly inaugurated GUSA President and Vice-President Clara Gustafson (SFS ’13) and Vail Kohnert-Yount (SFS ’13) announced their selections for their executive cabinet. Out of a record 80 applicants, the executive appointed six women and five men, including former GUSA senators Colton Malkerson (COL ’13) and Yupang Chang (MSB ’15), forming a staff that will be one of the most diverse cabinets in recent memory.
“This is the first time that there have ever been more women than men in the GUSA cabinet,” Kohnert-Yount said.
The position of Secretary of Sustainability received the most number of applications, followed closely by Secretary of Social Justice and Secretary of Diversity. “With these positions we also reached a new, uncapped group who now wanted to apply to GUSA and were very interested,” Gustafson said.
The executive also appointed two Directors of Communication, one for traditional media and another for social media. “We want to be very proactive about outreach,” Kohnert-Yount said. The positions, filled by Kara Brandeisky (SFS ‘13) and Mike Madoff (SFS ‘13), are devoted to outreach through social networking and a weekly email outlining GUSA’s meetings and activities. [Full disclosure: Brandeisky is a staff writer for the Voice.]
Gustafson stressed the importance and effectiveness of social networking. “Within a day or two of having admin access to the GUSA page, we more than doubled the number of likes for the page. We hope that more students will like [the page] so they can see on a more regular basis what is going on and what events are coming up,” Gustafson said. “Vail and I really want to harness that potential.”
Madoff said his aim as Director of Communications for Social Media is to increase student awareness and transparency. “My goal for this administration is to make sure every Georgetown student can answer the question: “What is GUSA?” he wrote in an email. “I view online interaction as the most transparent and effective way to communicate directly with students and I’ll be using social media and other online platforms not only to send out messages, but also to receive feedback and learn about all the great ideas that Georgetown students have to offer.”
Malkerson, who will serve as the Director of Student Activities Fee and Endowment Implementation, asked the student body to be patient with the cabinet’s progress as they pursue Gustafson and Kohnert-Yount’s campaign goals.
“The process is still going on, there will be complications along the way, both good and bad,” he said. “But we will implement all three proposals as the students voted for them. We just want to do it properly and thoroughly, and take our time to make sure it’s done right.”
Kohnert-Yount said Malkerson, who finished fourth in his own bid for the GUSA presidency, is “one of the most knowledgeable people about SAFE reform on campus.”
One major shift between the last executive’s cabinet and Gustafson’s is in size. “In the past there has been a large executive, a lot of members of staff and cabinet but also a lot of deputy secretaries,” Kohnert-Yount said. “We definitely want every member of our executive to be necessary, we don’t want to have a large organization for the sake of a large organization…we want to keep our deputy staff nimble and leaner than it was last year because that’s our style of management.”
Above all, the new executive hopes to create an environment of collaboration within the new staff and cabinet. “We don’t want it to be such a hierarchical cabinet…but a team environment and that’s what sort of differentiates our administration,” Kohnert-Yount said.