Mount Vernon forms advisory council

The GW Student Association Senate recently passed a resolution endorsing the Mount Vernon advisory council, a system of ad hoc committees formed to address the needs of students at the all-female campus.

“(Mount Vernon) students have very different needs,” said Jesse Strauss, SA executive vice president. “The SA needs to take a hands-off approach.”

The council’s aim is not to replace the campus’ existing Student Government Association, according to the Mount Vernon advisory council proposal, which was drafted in February.

“The goal of the council is to give voice to the Mount Vernon campus residents and all GW students using services, taking classes and attending programs at Mount Vernon,” according to the proposal.

The council will be built on a system of ad hoc committees, which will address issues in the four Mount Vernon residence halls, transportation, communications, food service, campus grounds, and programs and activities.

“We have a very participatory democracy,” said Grae Baxter, Mount Vernon executive dean. “We are trying to get students plugged in so we can address student needs.”

Baxter said the committee system is an administrative effort to take a responsive role.

Some committees, such as the one for residence halls, will be more permanent than the one that addresses transportation concerns.

“The committees grew up in response to specific needs of students,” Baxter said.

In the initial phase of the program, a Student Development Center staff member will chair the council of committees. SDC is the liaison to GW’s division of Student and Academic Support Services. Eventually a student will be trained and appointed to bring Mount Vernon’s needs to the University’s attention.

Mount Vernon Student Activities Director Lori Peterson said the council representative will give students an added forum to field their concerns; SDC will address concerns at the campus level and the representative can take them to the University level.

The council’s representative will be added as a permanent position within the SA to foster “increasing representation of students residing at the Mount Vernon campus.”

Freshman Naomi Schneidmill, who acted as the Mount Vernon liaison to the SA during the spring semester, said she sees the position becoming more “concrete” next year.

This semester, Schneidmill communicated the needs of Mount Vernon students and campus programming to the SA.

Schneidmill said she hopes the Mount Vernon representation will be like a “branch of the SA.”

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