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GUSA President: Open Letter to Incoming Students

August 28, 2009

When trying to define the Georgetown University Student Association (GUSA), I have not found a succinct statement that adequately encompasses every aspect of this organization. In essence, GUSA consists of a group of students who advocate on behalf of the student body to both the administration and the surrounding community.
However, this statement ignores the programming and initiatives which GUSA creates and redefines on a yearly basis. Because the group has such a wide-reaching charter that is applicable to all aspects of student life, GUSA morphs itself to represent students with ever-changing interests. While we are the “voice” of the student body, we manifest their interests in many different forms.
We tackle issues which students find important, but other institutions may not have the ability to address. In context of this coming year, we’re working to reduce the number of “Event” emails that students receive, increasing student safety by moving officers out of Safe Rides vans and into the streets by using student van drivers, and working within the new diversity working groups to foster a community of acceptance. These are only a sample of the issues that GUSA will address; the organization looks to enact change in just about any area that requires attention.
Recently, GUSA instituted the GUSA Summer Fellows program, which provides free summer housing on Georgetown’s campus to five students on financial aid with unpaid internships in the D.C. area.
This year, the program doubled in size to include 10 undergraduate students, providing each fellow with a $500 stipend and including a workshop series led by senior members of Georgetown University, members of Georgetown’s MBA program, and executive recruiters from Booz Allen Hamilton. GUSA also continued the readership program that provides free newspapers to several locations on campus.
This year, in the spirit of our platform—to promote future opportunities for Hoyas—we have launched another: the LSAT Familiarization Course. While private tutors can charge upwards of $3,000 per student for an eight-week course, we managed to secure a highly experienced tutor for $30 per student. In conjunction with Career Services, GUSA will offer 50 students (two classes of 25) the opportunity to participate in a program that they could not afford otherwise.
Unlike other campus groups, GUSA operates in a few different sectors and appears complicated on first glance. Student concerns are represented in several different bodies. Much like the U.S. government, GUSA operates via three institutions that exist independently of one another, yet cooperate with a system of checks and balances. Each year, the student body votes for both a president and vice-president (represented on a single ticket) in an undergraduate-wide election to lead the GUSA Executive.
The Executive branch itself consists of the president, vice-president, and a group of student appointees who deal with specific aspects of campus life. Likewise, undergraduates elect the Senate by popular vote in 35 districts (one senator per district), apportioned according to students’ places of residence.
The final branch, the Constitutional Council, consists of three members appointed by the president and approved by the Senate who serve the judicial role of Constitutional interpretation. Aside from these bodies, there are also three class committees (freshman, sophomore, and junior; the senior class committee operates independent of GUSA oversight) that program events to foster class community.
For those who don’t know, there are several ways to get involved in the coming year. While appointments to the Executive and any external boards were made last year, there still exist opportunities in the Senate, the Executive Outreach Board, and class committees. Senate elections will take place sometime in the fall, but Executive Outreach and class committee applications are already available at
The Executive Outreach is a program that will introduce new students to the executive, the administration, and the general workings of GUSA. Students who get involved will sit in on Executive meetings and work on initiatives that stem from this body. We look forward to seeing you in the coming year, and please contact us via with any questions or concerns.

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