Column: From action to results

Last year my campaign slogan was “Stop the Apathy.” One of my primary goals for my term as president was to get more people involved in and aware of the Student Association. Throughout the fall, and even more so since we returned in January, the dialogue about the Student Association, as discussed by those not involved, has greatly increased. I stand by my decisions, and I do not expect everyone to agree with me. But I do hope everyone will agree with me that this Student Association has been results-oriented and successful.

In a huge win for students, the Student Association secured $2.3 million in next fiscal year’s budget for residence hall renewal projects across campus, a signature part of my campaign last year. Additionally, academic departments are submitting new syllabi daily, and we will have them on our website by the end of March, effectively accomplishing two of my three main goals. The Student Association works and it is only effective when the right individuals are ready to serve their fellow students.

In the fall, the student body united in protest of the Fall 2004 Final Exam schedule. Working with concerned students, leaders of the Student Association and the Senate, the administration heard our complaints and altered the Fall 2005 Final Exam schedule. This schedule change is another example of how this Student Association is dedicated to serving students and getting tangible results, and an example of how an open discussion among students, the SA, and the administration leads to positive change.

At the Board of Trustees session last week, I gave a 15-minute address that outlined student budgetary priorities. I spoke of creating programs that encourage interaction between students and Board members, advocated for a comprehensive restructuring of our Code of Conduct, increased investment in our aging residence halls and an expansion of course offerings in key academic departments such as Spanish, economics and history. I pressed the University to reduce its bureaucracy and focus on enhancing the delivery of services across this institution. This is far from a lame duck administration; we have far to go and much more to accomplish.

As the election season approaches, it is increasingly important that the student body be involved in a free-flowing discussion of ideas and the problems that face us. While I encourage all students to participate in active debate, I also remind the student body that the most productive way to discuss the issues facing us is to be informed, not only about the issues themselves, but also about the actions of our student government. There are two sides to every story.

To the entire student body, I encourage learning all sides of the story and continuation of the debate. That is the only way to end the apathy. As the time to vote approaches, please become more involved in your student government. Visit sa.gwu.edu to find out the latest updates. In addition, all SA meetings are open to the public, including the Executive Cabinet meetings Mondays at 9 p.m. and the Senate meetings Tuesdays at 9 p.m. You can speak to me on AOL Instant Messenger at GWSAPrez anytime, visit me during my office hours or e-mail me at saprez@gwu.edu. I look forward to participating in the continued discussion of our student body that will move GW forward.

-The writer, a senior majoring in international affairs, is Student Association president.

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