Senior Josh Singer is taking the lessons he has learned at GW and putting them to use in the local community. The former Student Association executive vice president is running for the Advisory Neighborhood Commission, a local governing board.
Singer, majoring in criminal justice and psychology, is the only student seeking one of six commissioner positions on the Foggy Bottom ANC. He is running unopposed in the elections set for Nov. 5.
“There needs to be a voice for GW students,” Singer said. “The community needs to know that students mean business.”
Singer is running for the ANC in ward 2, sub-district A06, which covers roughly E to L streets from 21st to 22nd streets, encompassing most of the GW campus. Commissioners are unpaid and serve two-year terms.
“My motto is ‘I’m a student first,'” Singer said. “I’m there to represent my constituents, and most of them are students.”
The neighborhood commissions discuss issues including traffic, parking, recreation, street improvements, liquor licenses, zoning, sanitation and trash collection and the District’s annual budget. The commissions then present their positions and recommendations on issues to various District government agencies, the mayor and City Council.
Graduate student Jeff Marootian, who held the ANC seat before resigning his post in the spring, endorsed Singer, saying he will make a strong candidate.
“Josh will do a great job. He has terrific energy,” Marootian said.
As a commissioner, Singer said he would like to “see everyone come to the table.” He hopes to increase student attendance at ANC meetings.
“I intend to bring the voice of the students there,” he said.
The ANC has previously criticized students for not contributing to the community through property taxes, but Singer argues that students contribute financially through their patronage of businesses and restaurants.
“I’d like to see more members of the community saying, ‘we want to see you here,'” Singer said.
Ellie Becker, ANC commissioner and editor of Foggy Bottom News, agreed with his concerns.
“I think he has a chance to indicate to community members and neighbors that students can be responsible and care about the neighborhood,” she said.
Singer remains optimistic about future relations between the University and surrounding residents and said he is taking action to ensure this outcome.
“The University brings a wealth to the community,” he said. “Community members forget that.”
Singer has already taken action to bring together student and community concerns by establishing a farmer’s market selling fresh fruits, vegetables and handmade crafts – the first of which will be held in Kogan Plaza Oct. 23.
“You name it, I’ve joined it or been to it,” he said. “I think I’m going to offer (the ANC) things they haven’t seen before.”
-Alex Kingsbury contributed
to this report.