SA Advisers: Nicole Capp’s SA presidency leaves a legacy that should be emulated

In an article printed last March titled, “SA president’s platform ambitious,” (March 22, 2007, p. 3) Hatchet reporter Andrew Ramonas reported that, “University officials and former SA members said some of (Nicole Capp’s) campaign promises may not be feasible.” The following week, The Hatchet’s editorial board gave Capp a ‘thumbs down,’ stating that her goals would “lead away from a focus on student advocacy.”

The Hatchet was wrong. Former student leaders were wrong. Capp was right. She trusted that students would care about the Student Association when it was working on behalf of students, and she has set a new standard for SA leaders at GW.

In one year, she created a new faith in how students can achieve representation through their elected leaders. By accomplishing so many goals, Capp proved that students do have power and can resolve their problems with GW by approaching them intelligently and diligently.

By remaining active every day of her administration, Capp changed the way students interact with GW. Students should approach administrators with the confidence that their voice will be heard and that there will be a meaningful response. If a student is not satisfied with the response they receive from an administrator, they know that they will have a powerful advocate in their corner in the Student Association. No university is perfect, and GW certainly has much to fix, but at least we now know that change is possible.

The entire GW community expects a lot out of its SA president. He or she must be an expert on every student issue, keep a full schedule of meetings with students and administrators, be the balancing force between these two groups and, oh yeah, still be a full-time student.

The near-impossible expectations of this role have led previous SA presidents to wilt under the pressure and to disappoint the student body, leading the GW community to believe that the only thing the SA was good for was an occasional scandal.

It is no wonder then that when Capp presented her “overly ambitious” platform, The Hatchet and the rest of the GW community thought they knew what to expect – another failure.

After a few Chipotle burritos and Lindy’s burgers on GWorld, dozens of town hall meetings and newsletters, hundreds of meetings with administrators successfully advocating for students and over 24,000 e-mails, the GW community and The Hatchet now see what Capp and her campaign team were criticized for believing a year ago.

None of this would have been possible without a transformative leader like Nicole Capp.

When we joined her campaign team, we were not even sure if she could win, let alone have the watershed year she had. Every day, Nicole inspired us with her drive to make change happen. In every decision she made, she put students first and always remained down to earth – even during her most successful moments. Due to her leadership, the SA stopped fighting and started producing results.

Nicole has made every single day of her administration count, and has never let up her intensity. Due to this, every student at GW lives a little bit better. Whether it’s having the convenience of buying groceries on GWorld, having a New York Times in your dorm every morning, counting down the days to the switch to Gmail, using wireless Internet in more places or just simply knowing what your elected leaders are doing, Capp has made a difference in your life.

Capp raised the bar for all future SA presidents. Demand the highest effort from your student leaders and never let them forget that they work on your behalf. Never let your expectations fall as they had before this year. And when you see Nicole Capp on campus next year, be sure to thank her.

Steve Glatter, former SA President Nicole Capp’s campaign manager and chief of staff, is a senior majoring in political science. Steve Miller, senior adviser to the Capp campaign, is a senior majoring in international affairs.

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