“Potter vows persistent advocacy” was the title of an article that ran a little more than a year ago in The GW Hatchet. I am often reminded of a quote from this article: “But Potter says her biggest task if she is elected will not be to introduce revolutionary new programs or induce monumental changes in the system. Instead she vows to remain persistent and keep pushing the administration to make good on existing plans.”
As I reflect on the past year, I think about what we have accomplished and whether we pushed the administration to make good on existing plans. More importantly, I ask myself if we have made good on the Student Association’s plans to serve students.
Through our persistent advocacy and work with administrators, we have accomplished many things.
For the next two years, students will have the lowest tuition increases in more than a decade.
This Thursday on Earth Day, the University will veiling new recycling bins on campus that are different in appearance from regular trash bins.
Not only will students benefit next year from meal plans based on all points, but they also will have the opportunity to enjoy the following new dining service concepts on campus: Chick Fil-A, Pangeas Pasta & Pizza, Taco Bell, Freshens Yogurt, Pretzel Time, Little Caesar’s Pizza, Subway, a new and expanded MC Store, a Thurston Hall convenience store and a revived breakfast and dinner buffet in Thurston Hall.
Through yearlong conversations with various administrators, our concerns about the Marvin Center renovations have been heard, and our suggestions have been incorporated into the plans.
There are now additional study rooms available until 2 a.m. in Gelman Library and we have successfully pushed to have Dawn’s Breakfast Bar and Gelman open late during exam periods.
These are only a few examples of projects we have worked on with administrators this year, projects in which we advocated persistently for students.
Our job is more than advocating for students; it is also providing services for students and our community. This year, through our program of the year, GW Votes, we registered almost 800 students to vote in the District. We hosted two live televised mayoral debates and were actively involved in the Advisory Neighborhood Commission as well as the Foggy Bottom Association. We began a program called United Foggy Bottom, which partners a student with a community member in need of service. More than 50 community members benefited from these efforts.
During the winter holidays, we coordinated the Adopt-a-Family program and delivered gifts to 100 families. In addition to our service in the community, we provided many services to students as well:
More than 800 students visited our office to search the test and syllabus file.
We supported two “Grad Bash” parties this year, attracting close to 2,000 graduate students.
We facilitated the exchange of more than 1,000 books and $25,000 between students with the SA Book Exchange.
We encouraged students to participate in the R.A.D. Program offered through University Police by purchasing books for the first 100 participants.
Again, these are only a few examples of how we served students and our community this past year.
The SA’s mission statement says that it is dedicated to promoting cultural awareness, improving academic resources and increasing outreach to students. In addition, it claims that as a diverse organization, it is united by its all-encompassing common goal to serve students.
I challenge next year’s elected and appointed leaders to embrace this mission and truly work together to serve students – all students. The SA needs to continue persistent advocacy and service to students and our community. This can happen only if the internal bickering stops, and members remember why they should be part of the organization.
Remember the student groups who need funding for programming. Remember the PREP students who are trying to develop new programs for incoming students. Remember the community members who depend on students for assistance. Remember the students who need advice on how to handle judicial matters. Remember the student who needs a copy of a chemistry test. Remember the student who needs answers to questions about financial aid.
And most importantly, remember our all-encompassing common goal: to serve students.
-The writer is Student Association president.