In my four years at GW, I have held many different roles on campus, from being a member of the Thurston Hall Council to the Student Association. After four years of service in various capacities, I can honestly say I have loved all of it. I have no regrets. How many people do you know that can say they have had no regrets during their four years at GW?
I remember arriving at GW, August of 1994, and all I wanted to do was improve things. I wanted to make my campus better for my fellow students and the GW community. I have always had a sense of service, and I thank you for allowing me to utilize this.
Wow, what a year! This year the Student Association enjoyed an incredible year. The SA has come a long way. This year I wanted to make sure that the SA was effectively representing the students, and to make sure that students saw the SA as an organization that truly advocated for them in any situation. Through issues like Commencement on the Ellipse and the tuition increase, I feel that students saw just how valuable SA advocacy was.
Outreach has been a huge goal of mine. This year the SA was able to reach out to a more diverse group of students. This year the SA organized and sponsored more than 100 projects, programs and services. More than any other year! This was definitely a year of firsts with new projects like two book exchanges, SA Opening Convocation, Student Budgetary Priorities Survey, Student Advocate Service, Unity Fest, Two Academic Updates (both on the Web and in print), Campaign GW and many more!
The events of just this past week make me realize how things have really changed during my four years. It is great to see such things as students from the Arab Student Association and the Student Alliance for Israel coming together to hold a joint meeting and program on the Quad. Just the other day, I went to the International Student Services Student Organization Fair and found the members of the Turkish Student Association and the Greek Student Association dancing together. It really made me proud and gave me a lot of hope for the future.
Yes, I do believe GW is a better place today than it was four years ago. School Spirit has increased (Homecoming ’98), the campus looks prettier, the school is more selective and the students are much more active. It is great to see the school moving in such a positive direction and to feel like I played a part in making things better, however small a part I played. It makes me incredible proud to say I graduated from GW!
My thoughts on Commencement: I do understand the arguments for moving Commencement off the Ellipse. Even with such arguments, I firmly believe that Commencement belongs on the Ellipse this year and in years to come. The Ellipse is one of the things that makes GW special and it gives GW students invaluable pride to say they graduated in the backyard of the White House. GW should always seek traditions. What better tradition is there than this? Moving Commencement off the Ellipse is a mistake and I am glad we are keeping it there!
The Foggy Bottom Community: I have loved meeting and working with you during my four years. It has not always been easy, but it was always a challenge. The students and the community have a lot more in common than either of them think. Now that there is a positive dialogue between the two groups, there are no limits on what can be accomplished if we all work together.
As for the Advisory Neighborhood Commission members, relax and enjoy life for a second. Take things in perspective and ask yourself how you can really help Foggy Bottom. Many times your actions help no one; in fact, they are detrimental to Foggy Bottom.
I will miss most of the Foggy Bottom members I have had the privilege of knowing.
As for our fearless leader, President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, I have been able to interact with him in varying capacities during my time here; none more than this year. I can say that President Trachtenberg has done a lot for this University and for the students (don’t act so surprised). I have a lot of respect for him. He definitely has one of the toughest jobs in the world and does a great job at it. Many never get to see what he does day in and day out, but it truly is more than you can imagine.
I wish you continued success, President Trachtenberg, during the rest of your time here as you make our University one of the best in the world.
I would like to thank the students for the opportunity to represent them and I hope I have served you all well.
As for me, I am going to New York after graduation (yes, I am the first SA President to leave after graduation) and looking for a job. Let’s see how far my GW degree gets me. As for Carrie and Jesse, my recommendations to the both of you are to stay true to your own beliefs, advocate on behalf of the students and never forget those who put you where you are. You have a phenomenal year ahead of you and I know the two of you will do an amazing job. As I make my place in this world, I will never forget the students who honored me by allowing me to serve them. Good luck and best wishes to all!
-The writer is president of the GW Student Association.