Candidate declarations kick off campaign

Friday’s deadline for candidate declarations marked the official start of student election season at GW and many candidates are already devising platforms around what they believe to be important campus issues.

Ed Meinert, Phil Meisner, Paul Prados and Alexis Rice are running for Student Association president. Derek Grosso, Caity Leu and Cat Sadler are running for SA executive vice president.

Anthony Rizzuto and Ruth Abu Sahid will face off for the Program Board’s top spot, and Shreema Sanghvi and Seth Weinert are running for PB executive vice chair.

Rice, a Columbian School of Arts and Sciences undergraduate senator, said her platform statement “demand more from GW, expect more from the SA,” demonstrates her goals of keeping tuition increases low and making the SA more user-friendly.

“We have enough trouble with the red tape of the University, we shouldn’t have to deal with red tape in the SA,” Rice said.

“The most important thing to me is that we, as students, get more information on tuition increases and also on where our tuition is going,” said Leu, an Elliott School of International Affairs senator who is running for executive vice president with Rice.

Meinert said “unity, reform and leadership” are the themes of his campaign.

“The major problem with our campus is that we don’t have a unified campus spirit,” Meinert said. “We need a core of leaders who are involved with the student body, not just with the group they serve in.”

Meinert advocates efforts to make the SA “more friendly with student groups and the student body.”

Meisner, a ESIA undergraduate senator, is running as a ticket with Sadler. The pair said academic issues, tuition increases and the internal workings of the SA are problems the SA president and executive vice president should address.

Meisner and Sadler said they also are concerned about Greek-letter organizations’ autonomy and the problems caused by SA involvement in their affairs.

“Let the Greeks do what they want to do and govern themselves,” Meisner said. “There is no need for us to poke our noses in their business. If they want our help, then we’ll support them.”

Prados, who has not been involved in the SA, said he shares the other candidates’ concerns about the internal structure of the SA.

“The SA has one main problem – lack of purpose,” Prados said. “The purpose should be student advocacy and the purpose should be followed through.”

Prados said he plans to accomplish that by setting up tables every week for students to voice their complaints directly to him and by making complaint sheets available in the SA office or on a Web site so SA representatives can address these concerns with administrators.

Grosso, a School of Business and Public Management senator, said he does not see himself as a politician but said his knowledge of the SA will allow him to work for students more efficiently.

“I’m not going to make any empty promises,” Grosso said. “I can’t promise no tuition increases or any corporate deals with Coke. What I can promise is that I’m going to be genuinely concerned about what students want and work toward getting that.”

Grosso said some of his goals include reforming the financial allocations process for student groups and providing free food to students who attend SA meetings.

“As an added bonus, I plan to provide free pizza at all Senate meetings that are open to the public,” Grosso said. “People will enjoy that and it will give them incentive to come to the meetings and voice their opinions.”

-Becky Neilson contributed to this report.

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