The race for executive vice president pits two current Student Association senators against each other. Both Jason Haber and Jesse Strauss are effective legislators. However, while Haber wants to push for tangible benefits like a student discount card and University toll-free phone number, Strauss has an activist’s vision for where he wants both GW and the SA to be a year from now – and he’s shown he can realize that vision.
Want to know what Strauss has been up to as a student leader? Well, just follow his paper trail of dozens resolute memos to administrators, polls of student wants and research of how GW services stack up to other schools. Strauss not only is an eloquent voice for student opinion – he also has the dedication and smarts to put student concerns into writing. And into the hands of President Trachtenberg, the Board of Trustees and other GW decision-makers.
As GW student activists increasingly push for administrators’ attention about tuition, budgeting priorities and meal plan options, Strauss has led the way. He created a Tuition Action Director position within the SA to ensure student attention to potential hikes, coordinated a poll of where students want to aim their tuition dollars and was a vocal director of the Dining Services Commission – again, getting student concerns to the administration.
Strauss’ leadership at the fore of the Senate – and in helping new senators work for their own constituencies – would be an asset to GW.
Haber should be credited with being one of too few SA leaders who pushed bills because he honestly is concerned for students, not simply because he wanted to see his name grace our front page.
His platform calls for several items students would be able to see and use. However, none of these things are very pressing. First is the “Colonial Card” which would function like a Student Advantage card and profits would go toward student groups’ funds. But if students and local businesses already can use the Student Advantage card, what is the point of another card? The Colonial Card would go much the same way the GW CD has gone – nowhere.
Second is a toll-free telephone number for students to call and check grades. While this would reduce students’ long-distance bills, perhaps a better goal would be to address why grades take so long to arrive at students’ homes in the first place. Third is the plan to have regular town hall meetings on important SA bills. However, town halls work best when used sparingly and for the most important topics such as tuition and Commencement. Using them repeatedly cheapens their value.
Strauss has a better approach to student concerns – focus on issues most important to the vast majority of students. Then instead of burying students under an avalanche of information, gather the information, organize it and then present it to students so they can easily understand its relevance.
Strauss is passionate about ways to help students. By understanding the issues students are most concerned about Jesse Strauss will make a much more effective EVP than those of recent memory.