Two new student groups have changed the climate of this year’s Student Association and Program Board elections, proposing an overhaul of the Student Association and unifying Senate candidates under one ticket.
Change for Students members drafted a new SA constitution that would separate the legislative branch of the SA into undergraduate and graduate councils, “creating a new and better system,” executive vice president candidate Mike Pellegrino said.
Pellegrino is running on the Change for Students platform with SA presidential candidate Daniel Loren. The group backs eight other candidates for SA Senate seats.
The GWUnited Coalition was “born to give students a chance to vote for a more culturally diverse and active SA,” according to the group’s mission statement. The group represents one candidate for each available seat in the Senate. GWUnited candidates agree with the mission statement, but can run on their own platform.
The group calls for fairer distribution of SA funds to student groups, better communication between the SA and student groups and bold legislation based on the will of the student body, according to campaign material.
GWUnited does not endorse a presidential candidate, said Raj Parekh, GWUnited candidate for the undergraduate-at-large senate seat. He said senators elected on 2000 SA presidential candidate Jeff Marootian’s slate were unable to work effectively with current SA president Dave Burt.
“GWUnited does not want to support an executive candidate this year because we don’t want to cause the same problems that occurred last year,” Parekh said. “It caused a lot of strife and conflict in this year’s SA and GWUnited wants to be able to work with any candidate.”
Parekh said by remaining neutral now the group will be able to foster cooperation between the Senate and the executive branch after the election.
Although GWUnited members said they are optimistic about electing their candidates to the SA Senate, they said they also realize the process of diversification may take a while.
While Change for Students was organized specifically for the upcoming election, Parekh said GWUnited plans to continue promoting its ideas on campus
“This is definitely a long-term project,” he said.
-Mosheh Oinounou contributed to this report.