With only two undergraduate senators returning for another year in the Student Association, recently elected senators said they will bring a fresh perspective to SA.
Members of the “Working for Us” slate, which elected eight of 10 senate candidates along with Executive Vice President-elect Eric Daleo and possible President-elect Josh Singer, said they are open to new ideas and set to work on a number of issues outside their campaign agenda.
Singer said six more new senators, including now nine-time Sen. J.P. Blackford (G-SEAS), support his platform but were not official members of the slate. Daleo described “Working for Us” as “a coordinated campaign” of candidates with similar ideas.
“When the organization started, it was just a group of us who wanted to make a difference next year and get things done to help the school out a bunch,” said SA Sen.-elect Adam Greenman (U-CCAS).
SA Sen.-elect Chrissy Trotta (U-CCAS) agreed.
“Our main objective is to make the SA and the Senate more efficient and more student-friendly, and that is what we’re going to spend out time doing,” she said.
Daleo, who will preside over the Senate, said he hopes to encourage cooperation within the Senate and between the executive and Senate branches.
“Next year will be about consensus building, less conflict and more working for students and working for us,” he said. “I want to have mixers and meetings with the new Senate so that undergrads and grads can meet each other and avoid stuff that in other Senates has been nasty.”
As EVP last year, Singer headed the Senate.
Trotta said the Senate will pass legislation based on student needs.
“(The slate) will bring a new face to the SA. Students have a perception that ‘Working for Us’ is all inside politics,” Trotta said. “We all believe in the same things, but we’re still all individuals.”
SA Sens.-elect Kate Rocco (U-ESIA) and Omar Woodard (U-ESIA) are two of three newly elected undergraduate senators who did not campaign with “Working for Us” ballot. Rocco said they both anticipate a difficult year on the Senate.
“I think it’s going to be tough,” Rocco said. “The other senators are all friends. Whatever they want to get done is going to get done, and whatever we want is going on the backburner.”
Rocco said all senators are currently “all on friendly terms” but that
there is “a divide.”
Rocco and Woodard’s important measures include improved recycling, more equitable housing, refurbishing old residence halls and increased student organization funding.
“We feel that Singer is too focused on the reputation of the school,” Rocco said.
Daleo said he wants to dispel images of the SA as simply a money-giver.
“That’s not what we’re about. I hope these new faces show students that we’re diverse and have people who are part of the Muslim Student Association as well as freshmen living in Thurston (Hall),” he said.
Newly-elected Sen. Kris Hart (U-at large) reflected Daleo’s concerns. “(Working for Us) brings fresh ideas and people who are going to go in there ready to work,” Hart said.
Current Sen. Dan Moss (U-SBPM), who was re-elected for another year, outlined some “Working for Us” goals:
“We want to work with the University to put a cap on admissions and make it more selective. Through that we would lower class sizes, lower student-teacher ratio and make J street less hectic,” he said.
Trotta said that she would work on a 24-hour diner option.
Moss said he also wants to make the School of Media and Public Affairs
auditorium more accessible to student groups. There have been few, if any, student-run events in the auditorium in its first year, and GW last week signed a contract that will give CNN control of it every weekday night for six years.
“There still has not been a resolution on the SMPA auditorium fee. The GW Feminists wanted to do a women and arts show. They are a brand new student group with only $300 and had to pay the full $500 (to use the space),” he said. “Student groups should get a discounted charge or no charge.”
Greenman said he is willing to take on the administration if it means helping students.
“We’re going to fight for students. If it means working with the University, that’s fine. If it means fighting with University officials, that’s what we’re going to do,” Greenman said. “We’re here for Senate; we’re not here for our own agendas . we’re working for everyone.”
-Amanda Mantone contributed to this report.