More office seekers than voters showed up Monday and Tuesday nights to see candidates for next week’s campus elections face off in Joint Elections Committee-sponsored forums.
JEC member Darrell Villaruz said poor publicity accounted for the low turnout.
“The lack of a charter until January – as opposed to December last year – made everything last-minute,” Villaruz said.
Advising, technology and tuition topped the list of Student Association candidates’ concerns, but all candidates advocated a push toward increased University responsiveness to student concerns.
“The University spent a fortune to get us (to GW), but gets tight-fisted once we are here,” said Matt McGrath, a candidate for an Elliott School of International Affairs Senate seat.
But candidates also stressed the need for more communication between students and their SA representatives.
“The SA should not just be known for its test files,” said Sheandra Clark, who is one of 12 candidates up for four Columbian School of Arts and Sciences spots.
SA presidential candidate Jason Ditzian proposed the SA find “a way for students to leave their mark on the University.”
Other candidates up for the SA’s top spot emphasized streamlining student services to make them more accessible to students.
Carrie Potter, an SA presidential candidate, suggested GW bring academic advisers to the residence halls, where she said “students are more apt to go.”
Patrick Macmanus, another SA presidential candidate, said he would advocate for more convenient hours in the financial aid office, and suggested student services be consolidated for “one-stop shopping.”
Sabina Siddiqui – the fourth candidate for SA president – said her involvement in both large and small organizations will allow her to bring effective representation to the SA.
Mike Jewsbury, a candidate for Program Board executive chair, stressed a need for more programs geared toward graduate students, athletes and members of Greek-letter organizations.
His opponent for PB’s highest office, Brian Nathanson, said he hopes to program large events that epitomize the college experience.
In the race for SA executive vice president, Jason Haber and Jesse Strauss – two current CSAS senators – highlighted their accomplishments and laid plans for the future.
Strauss stressed the need for effective advocacy for lower tuition increases and more student input into University spending decisions.
A toll-free access number for GW’s touch-tone registration system and a discount card for local businesses were among Haber’s platform planks.
Candidates for Columbian School undergraduate senator – the most hotly contested race of next week’s elections – expressed disappointment with the CSAS advising program.
Subsidized student Metro passes, the quality of Smith Center facilities and technology upgrades also were topics of discussion.
Melanie Witte, a candidate for one of two undergraduate at-large Senate seats, expressed frustration over on-campus technology.
“Having two computers in a lounge in some dorm and calling it a computer lab is ridiculous,” Witte said. “I have more than that in my room in Thurston.”