We know that GUSA doesn’t have the best reputation on campus, and we know that it’s easy to see GUSA campaigns as little more than relentless assaults on Facebook News Feeds. But when the campaigns are over, and the chatter and chaos dissipate, there is real work to be done. We know firsthand the importance of advocating for the issues that don’t make it into campaign videos or profile pictures. Throughout our time on the Hilltop, we have dedicated ourselves to doing real advocacy work on behalf of students—work that has resulted in tangible changes for the entire Georgetown community.
This year, our work has consisted of founding the GUSA Transfer Mentorship Program, establishing the first ever Admitted Transfer Students Day, convincing GAAP to extend welcome calls to all admitted transfer students, and creating a Transfer Student Living and Learning Community. Our efforts have also included doubling the caseload of the Student Advocacy Office to serve more students than ever before, with issues ranging from unwarranted off-campus noise violations, on-campus alcohol infractions, and a wide array of other student conduct issues. Furthermore, we have pushed administrators to address student conduct violations within 30 days of becoming aware of them.
We’re running for GUSA President and Vice President to expand our advocacy work—and because at its core, GUSA ought to be an advocacy body. We should be focused on improving fundamental aspects of student life at Georgetown and we’ve developed a comprehensive platform that works toward that end. Though we can’t cover each item here, we want to highlight three major areas of focus.
First, we are committed to advocating for marginalized student groups. There are communities across campus that are simply disenfranchised by university administrators, oftentimes because there is no point person to work on their behalf. Undocumented students, students from communities of color, students of less privileged socio-economic backgrounds, students who identify as LGBTQIA, and countless others can find themselves playing on an inherently unequal playing field at Georgetown and we want to change that.
Second, we want to ensure that students are fairly considered during the rollout of the 2017 Campus Plan. We will strongly oppose any continued attempts to move more students onto campus. We will push administrators to complete long-deferred maintenance projects in Henle and Village A before any new construction projects are undertaken. Furthermore, we will negotiate a Green Space Agreement with university administrators that limits the replacement of on-campus green space by new buildings.
Third, we will ensure that student groups are able to fund programs and initiatives through a Student Activities Capital Campaign. By encouraging alumni to donate to individual student group cost centers and to a general gift fund, we will raise $5 million over the next five years to put into the hands of student groups. This capital campaign will also allow the current GUSA Fund to provide more money to unrecognized student groups, fostering more participation in a variety of activities across campus.
Our platform is rooted in our shared belief that Georgetown students can do incredible things when they are given the resources to succeed. Our advocacy experience will allow us to affect real change for every Georgetown student, and we are excited to pursue every priority listed in our platform. We know that GUSA campaigns can be overwhelming and that it’s easy to shrug off platform items as nothing more than promises waiting to go unfulfilled. But our commitment to this community is real. We know that, with your help, we can change the Hilltop for the better.