GW’s student government is commonly blamed for being inefficient, out of touch with students and plagued by political bickering.
Student Association President Lamar Thorpe, a senior, said he is aiming to change that view.
Thorpe, who won the student body presidency last April in a run-off election against SA veteran Morgan Corr, also a senior, has been working over the summer to install the “Colonial Compact” platform that he campaigned on.
“We need to open the lines of communication,” said Thorpe, a senior who served on the Joint Committee of Faculty and Students last year and ran for SA President unsuccessfully in 2005. “We want people to understand what is going on in the SA.”
Thorpe said he has been meeting with student and University leaders over the summer to implement sexual health initiatives, which focus on his push to supply condoms in residence halls. In addition to the condoms in residence halls, Thorpe has a plan to distribute sexual health pamphlets with information on sexually transmitted diseases in residence halls.
Thorpe will continue an initiative begun by last year’s SA President Auduai Shakour called the “House of Freshmen.” Thorpe wants to revamp the program that is designed to introduce freshmen students to the SA and other student organizations.
Throughout the summer, Thorpe has been working closely with SA Executive Vice President Josh Lasky, also a senior, on a variety of projects including Lasky’s “Hold the Door” campaign.
“The movement will be entirely fueled by volunteers looking to inspire more polite and considerate behavior on campus, like holding the door,” Lasky said.
“The goal of ‘Hold the Door’ is to promote an awareness of the welfare of fellow students, faculty and staff and to help further distinguish the feel of GW’s campus,” he said.
Lasky is chair of the SA Senate, the legislative branch of the student government, which is a body made up of about 30 senators representing each of the nine schools within the University.
Perhaps the most controversial happening during the first meeting of the Senate this year will be the confirming of three vice president positions under Thorpe.
Last year the Senateblocked three of Thorpe’s nominees for vice presidents and Thorpe said he will be re-nominating two of the three failed nominees from last year.
Those being brought back for reconsideration are sophomore Hayley Haldeman and junior Nick D’Addario. They were nominated for Vice President of Academic Affairs and Vice President of Undergraduate Student Policy, respectively.
Thorpe said Halderman has been working with University officials on the task force examining a four-by-four curriculum and assisting in planning the University presidential search committee’s town hall forums.
D’Addario has been helping with the revamping of the “House of Freshmen” and aiding in the sexual health initiatives, Thorpe said.
Junior Peter Fu, who was nominated for Vice President of Judicial and Legislative Affairs and not confirmed, withdrew his name from the nomination process in mid-August.
Christopher Winbush, a sophomore, has been appointed as interim VPJLA. However, Thorpe is still unsure whether he will nominate Winbush for the position permanently.
“I am confident (Winbush) will rise to the occasion and serve with distinction,” said Thorpe in a press release in early August.
Chair of the rules committee, junior Chris Rotella (CCAS-U), whose committee passes VP nominees onto the senate, said the three nominees failed last year because they were not qualified. Thorpe said he hopes their work over the summer will prove their qualifications for the positions.