Student Association President Carrie Potter said she wants her cabinet to begin the fall semester with a “clean slate.”
“I want them to focus on our year, not stuff from last year,” Potter said. “People (in the SA) get burnt out because they spend a lot of time cleaning up instead of working on what they are supposed to do in their position.”
To foster this new start, which she said will bolster her cabinet’s effectiveness, she has spent much of her summer tying up loose ends from last year’s administration.
Potter said she has been working with cabinet members to amend the SA’s funding process to student groups.
The SA receives a portion of the student fee GW students pay to the University, which the SA then distributes to registered student groups. In past years, groups have complained the process is confusing and slow.
Potter said she hopes to alleviate problems by streamlining the application process groups go through to get funding. For example, in a change from previous years, the SA now plans to conduct the mandatory information sessions for student organizations at the same time as the Student Activities Center’s informational session for groups.
Potter said she has worked closely with Brian Stoller, the SA’s vice president for financial affairs-designate, to improve the process.
But Stoller is one of three cabinet members who still needs SA Senate confirmation. The Senate postponed Stoller’s confirmation because he was abroad during the spring semester.
Two other cabinet confirmations – Marty Claessens for vice president of undergraduate policy and Patrick Ledesma for vice president for student activities – were blocked by the Senate last spring.
Potter said she kept the two unconfirmed candidates in their positions to give them the opportunity during the summer and early fall to prove to the Senate they are well-suited and qualified for the positions.
The fall confirmations will require only a Senate majority vote, not the two-thirds required in the spring.
Other events on the SA calendar include an open house Aug. 25 for students to learn about volunteer opportunities. It is also hosting Glamour magazine’s program, “The Ultimate Guide to Getting a Job,” Sept. 15 and 16.
Potter said she hopes to collaborate with the athletic department on “Midnight Madness” – a pep rally held at midnight on the first day the NCAA allows collegiate basketball teams to practice. In previous years, GW has hosted a modified version of the event on parents’ weekend.
Potter said she hopes events like these will boost awareness of the SA among students.
“We are making a concerted effort to make the SA more visible – not necessarily recruiting, but making sure people know what the SA does,” Potter said. “Everyone does not have to be a member of the SA, but they need to know what it does and what it can do for them.”
Potter has also been occupied with other projects for the upcoming semester, including “GW Votes,” a campaign to register students to vote in the District.
Potter said GW Votes registered about 150 student voters during Colonial Inaugurations. The concerted effort to register more students will continue when classes start.
“We’re going to hit hard during Welcome Week to build the numbers up. We have to be able to lobby,” she said.
As part of the campaign, the SA will sponsor a televised mayoral debate Sept. 3. Potter said she hopes the debate, which will be aired from the Betts Theatre on Channel 8, will spark the interest of GW students.
“We want to fill the theater with GW students,” she said. “It’s occurring at a key time, before the primaries, and all the candidates have agreed to come.”