Equipped with his e-mail-receiving cellular phone, Student Association President David Burt is ready and determined to improve the SA. Burt said his cell phone is invaluable because communication is his key strategy in remodeling the SA.
“It’s all about being approachable, open and accessible,” Burt said. “You can’t represent students you don’t know and it’s impossible to address problems you aren’t aware of.”
Through “openness and innovation,” Burt said he hopes to make the SA a more visible, proactive and service-oriented student government.
“We’re going to make things easier for GW students by doing more outreach and getting more involved than previous administrations,” Burt said.
Burt said he plans to improve SA student services by using the resources of individuals and student groups and making them available to other students. The SA Web site will offer new features allowing students access to a broad range of information from a central location.
Beginning in August a comprehensive online calendar will publicize all scheduled events. The calendar will give students options for activities in which they may want to participate, Burt said. The Web site will also list work-study jobs provided by the SA and the Career Center.
Burt said he also plans to sponsor a petition to ban campaign palmcarding during GW’s election season, after he surveyed students and found a large majority of them said they oppose palmcarding.
“Elections are about people, not about campaigns,” Burt said. “The students and the student groups should have the power, not those that can have dozens of people palmcarding for them.”
To maximize productivity, Burt said he plans to restructure old and existing programs to complement his new plans. The SA book exchange, which was implemented three years ago, will be available online for the first time fall semester, Burt said. After a two-year absence, the Student Ride Board, which provides students with cheaper means of travel by sharing rides, will be brought back and updated for the Internet.
Burt said he plans to apply his method of openness to the SA’s financial policies as well.
“Financial records will be posted online so students can see where their money is going,” Burt said. “I’m not ashamed of any decision I make as president because in the end, I am responsible to the students.”
Burt said he intends to secure more funding and services for student groups. He began advocating increased funding for groups last year, when he served as the SA Finance chair.
The SA will provide loans for groups to cover program expenses, such as pizza and refreshments. In the past, an organization was reimbursed after the money was spent, limiting fundraising possibilities for smaller groups. Groups will have more flexibility through this new policy because they will be able to borrow the money needed to sponsor an event, he said.
Burt, who is decked out in buff and blue for every home basketball game, said he would like to see increased student enthusiasm for Colonial sports.
He said he hopes to use the SA to promote GW athletics and is exploring options to provide transportation for students who want to attend games or matches on the road.
The fifth-year senior guarantees there is no future in politics for him.
“I hate politics with a passion because people are so dishonest,” Burt said. However, he said he understands how students grow disenchanted with campus politics.
“I hope I can help to change their perceptions of the SA,” Burt said.
This article appeared in the June 26, 2000 issue of the Hatchet.