Tuesday night at 7 p.m. on the Quad, the GW 500 will put into effect a campaign unlike any other in the history of The George Washington University. For the first time, students will undertake a large-scale effort to register fellow students to vote in the District of Columbia.
But the vision of the two-month long GW Votes campaign goes beyond voter registration. GW Votes will only be successful once Foggy Bottom has a productive Advisory Neighborhood Commission that encourages civic involvement and actively addresses the legitimate needs of all its community members. The ultimate vision of GW Votes is to create a better and more inclusive Foggy Bottom community where student community members and life-long residents can work together to make a positive difference.
It is true that many ANC actions have had an overwhelmingly negative impact on students, such as the commission’s opposition to the health and wellness center, its rejection of the construction proposal for a WETA radio/TV facility, its support of anti-student parking laws and its continued negative stereotyping of students.
But the larger issue is we – the students – have denied ourselves a seat at the table by not voting and by allowing others to speak for us. All students must realize the longer we refuse to vote in the local ANC and citywide elections, the more we will continue to live in a community without political representation and without the political freedom to enact changes.
It is time for GW students to stop complaining about the ANC or the problems they perceive within Foggy Bottom and throughout the District.
It is time for students to register to vote in D.C.
Voting is the only way we can earn the representation we desperately need and rightly deserve. United as District voters, we can serve as a catalyst for positive change for the entire Foggy Bottom community and D.C.
Come out and participate in the GW 500 by joining GW Votes and your fellow students as we race around campus in an effort to register 500 GW students to vote in a single night. If you are unable to volunteer, at least come to the Quad Tuesday night and register to vote, or wait until volunteers visit your residence hall. If you have questions or concerns about registering to vote in D.C., please speak with a volunteer on the Quad or in your hall.
Don’t miss your opportunity to bring about real change Nov. 3.
-The writer is director of the GW Votes campaign.