Tarek Al-Hariri: Not part of the SA now

Footage from Al-Hariri’s meeting with the Hatchet Editorial Board

Name: Tarek Al-Hariri

Year: Sophomore

Hometown: Washington, D.C.

Clubs/Activities: Peace Forum founder, Asian Student Alliance, Muslim Student Association, Multicultural Student Services Center, and father’s architectural and design firm since 2003.

Top three platform goals: Bring more money to the SA from outside sponsors and donors so that student orgs receive more money without charging the GW student body more; Support and save the arts at GW; Make J street spending amounts reasonable by working with the administration to find a reasonable solution.

SA experience: None

Campaign Web site: www.Tarek4SA.com

Endorsements: Balance: The GW Ballet Group.

Which one of your competitors would get your vote if you were not running for SA president? Vishal Aswani

Favorite spot in D.C.: U Street corridor – close to where I grew up.

Do you own a BlackBerry? No, I’m waiting for the raspberry to come out.

What do you like on your Chipotle burrito? It’s Chipotle. It’s all good.

Sophomore Tarek Al-Hariri said he aims to bring fresh ideas to a student body where there are many old faces.

Al-Hariri’s platform for Student Association president is based on three elements: advocating, creating and enriching – something he calls ACE.

“I believe that the Student Association must protect the interests of the students by pushing for what the students want at every occasion,” said Al-Hariri, a sophomore.

Like many of the other SA presidential candidates, Al-Hariri said he will build upon the ideas and initiatives started by President Nicole Capp and Executive Vice President Brand Kroeger.

“I think a lot of candidacies have been run on the basis of ‘the last administration is wrong and we have to start over again,'” he said. “I am saying we need to add on to what she has done, what the entire administration has done. If we keep on restarting, we are not going to get anywhere.”

Increasing funding for student organizations is another one of Al-Hariri’s main goals. “It is easy to charge students more money (for student organization funding),” Al-Hariri said at the SA-Hatchet debate last Tuesday. “I did not see the SA having a car wash to have money to give to student orgs.”

Although Al-Hariri is not a member of the SA, he has held other leadership positions on campus. After last fall’s Islamo-Facism poster controversy, Al-Hariri started the GW Peace Forum to promote religious tolerance on campus. The Peace Forum is not a registered student organization.

“‘I didn’t go into Peace Forum hoping to be elected (SA president),” Al-Hariri said. “I did peace forum because I felt it was the right thing to do. I did Peace Forum because I wanted to.”

Al-Hariri said being an SA outsider could affect his chances of becoming president.

“Do I think (the fact that I am not part of the SA now) will affect people’s voting? I do,” he said. “Do I believe I will not be a good president as a result? No.”

In order to serve students, Al-Hariri said SA members need to stop taking themselves so seriously.

He said, “As long as we stop taking ourselves seriously, we can start taking the students seriously.”

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