The job of Student Association president requires knowledge of how the system works, while at the same time not being swallowed by the system. The focus must always remain on why the SA exists – to serve students. The most realistic, focused and best-qualified candidate to lead the SA next year is Carrie Potter, potentially the first female SA president.
Potter’s platform is three-pronged: academics, service and community. It’s refreshing to hear academics is the top priority of a student leader – especially as GW prepares to pour $7 million additional dollars into academic programs, faculty hiring and classroom renovations.
Potter at the SA’s helm would spotlight the importance of academic advising, information-sharing among students about compelling professors, little-known academic programs and major/minor requirements. She advocates career center workshops in residence halls and discounted housing for GW students to pursue internships or classes during the summer.
As chair of the SA’s academic affairs committee, Potter has made the rounds to deans and faculty members. Her leadership would spotlight students’ hopes for a boost in GW’s academic environment.
Potter is personable and sincere – and hopes for a diverse SA more representative of GW’s student body. By opening up the SA to normally uninvolved students, GW as a whole would benefit.
Patrick Macmanus also has experience in the SA. But though he left us convinced he passionately wants the SA presidency, little of his fire extended to serving students. He wants to instill greater student pride in GW, but how? He wants to use professional pollsters to determine what it is students want – an admirable enough idea, but it seems he would need a pollster just to be in touch with students.
Both Jason Ditzian and Sabina Siddiqui personify those who have been ignored by the SA in the past. Siddiqui has been able to mobilize a segment of the GW population not usually seen at the forefront of SA leadership. Her catch-all platform incorporates the best ideas from a variety of sources. She wants students to approach GW’s Faculty Senate to jointly advocate for academic improvement, and she wants to seek outside funding to benefit student groups. Though a singular vision is hard to come by in her campaign – and that might bode disorganized leadership – Siddiqui is smart and has proven her leadership in student organizations. She belongs in next year’s SA in some capacity.
Ditzian has no leadership plan, although he personifies the frustration and exasperation many students and student groups feel toward the SA. But most students still hope for the best from their student leadership – and an “I’m-doing-it-for-the-cash” platform holds no appeal.
The SA should not be a clique of good ol’ boys and girls. Potter’s integrity, experience and genuine care for students and GW make her the best choice for SA president.