Restoring GUSA’s reputation and improving student life on the ballot in the 2022 Senate elections

November 12, 2022

GUSA voting for president and vice president, senators, and class of 2026 representatives began Thursday, Nov. 10 at 10 p.m. Students received an email from the GUSA Election Commission and will have two days to cast their ballots via Google Form before the polls close Saturday, Nov. 12,at 10 p.m.

This year, only ten first-years are campaigning for the seven class of 2026 positions and four possible candidates are in the running for at-large Senate seats. This decrease in candidates (down from twenty-one from the class of 2025’s race) may stem from the toll GUSA’s reputation has taken in the past year. From a failed referendum to abolish GUSA to the recent Washingtonian article, the student government faces significant challenges in maintaining its prestige and confidence. This year’s candidates have echoed these concerns, and hope to be part of the solution. 

Seth Edwards (COL ’26) isn’t running on any promises. He stated that he has priorities, not promises, because he won’t make any pledges that he can’t fulfill. “The general consensus on campus is that GUSA isn’t really doing anything or that people run on false premises or outrageous things and then get elected and don’t really do anything,” Edwards said. “The main reason I’m running on is trying to restore GUSA’s reputation and to try to advocate for students.”

This sentiment was echoed by several others. “Everyone seems to have some sort of negative perception of GUSA,” said Hilary Orozco (COL ’26). 

Rhea Iyer (COL ’26) thinks the student body’s perspective impacts GUSA’s effectiveness. “I feel like a lot of students have lost trust in GUSA and they kind of see it as an inefficient body,” Iyer said. 

However, the first years all seem to share a great sense of hope for the future. “I do think GUSA does not have the best reputation. But I think we can restore that,” Iyer stated.

Beyond this common optimism, the first-year candidates’ campaigns focus on a few major priorities, mainly expanding Leo’s hours, getting the Georgetown University Transit System (GUTS) buses to run on the weekends, and increasing mental health support. 

Mariam Ahmad (COL ’26) is primarily concerned with improving student life on campus.  “My top priority is ensuring the quality of life in dining halls and in residential buildings. I really think food and living [conditions] are probably the most essential aspects to focus on for GUSA,” Ahmad said.

“We have good hours, undoubtedly. But I think Leos’ being closed after eight o’clock at night does present challenges for students with dietary restrictions and I think it’s an issue for students who have club meetings that run after eight o’clock,” Ahmad added. 

Seth Edwards (COL ’26) emphasized his advocacy for accessible housing as part of his goals in advocating for students. He believes that this starts with guaranteeing students who need it priority housing. He went on to discuss his stance on transportation, which includes a push to expand the Hoya Transit Pilot Program. “I think expanding that to every student, making it unlimited, would be a great thing,” Edwards said.

Besides dining and housing issues, some candidates touched on the price of laundry and printing. Ahmad doesn’t believe it’s feasible to only expect students to do a load once a week. “We have it at $1.75 right now. I think $1.25 is reasonable,” she said. 

Orozco believes that what sets her apart from other candidates is her perspective as a Hispanic, first-generation student. “I’m the only one who is really focusing on the underrepresented community here at Georgetown,” she said. In addition to developing new and promoting existing resources for such groups, she thinks GUSA should be more active in publicizing their proceedings. Orozco recommends posting more frequently on social media and opening up office hours with representatives like herself if she gets elected. 

Other candidates had similar thoughts about improving GUSA’s transparency. “It’s just about keeping it real,” Edwards said.

Ninabella Arlis
Ninabella is a sophomore studying International Business, Language, and Culture. Spot her working at the Center for Student Engagement or on the university's social medias!

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