Staff Editorial: A crisis of SA leadership

If you think progress on the never-ending J Street dilemma is ordering comment boxes, then this year’s Student Association has done a terrific job. If you want real, tangible change, SA President Vishal Aswani’s administration has fallen short.

This year’s SA is suffering from a lack of leadership. Following on the heels of the largely successful administration of Nicole Capp and Brand Kroeger, this year’s SA president had a remarkable stage to work from, with a successful model to follow and receptive administrators.

So why are we almost through with the first semester, with basically only a Unity Ball and an inaugural float plan to show for it?

During his campaign, Aswani spoke of increasing the SA’s transparency, improving student dining options, providing an online test bank and, most importantly, opening the lines of communication – including even giving out his cell phone number. What happened?

At this point, Aswani needs to realize that the main function of the SA needs to be advocacy, not programming. Events like Unity Ball are not something the SA needs to allocate time or resources to. We have Program Board for that. Focus on making student views heard on bigger issues – the very issues that you ran on in the first place.

Returning to a programming focus is a step back, and the Capp-Kroeger administration proved how effective advocacy can be. It was a mistake for Aswani to distance himself from that successful model.

To effectively advocate, you also need strong communication – with the student body, administration and the campus media. The promised test bank is finally up, but no one even knows about it. Communication is an opportunity to garner support and demonstrate accomplishments. Why not take advantage of it?

Even when we have seen advocacy from Aswani, his vision is not reflective of what students truly want. In respect to dining, the major point of discontent is the mandatory spending for underclassmen. Aswani has been pushing for some smaller changes when he should be redirecting his resources and energy to getting us closer to ending required spending.

So what now? Aswani and his administration have just one semester left to try to live up to the promises that got him elected. Even though time has been lost, it’s still possible to get things done. We need to see a fundamental change in how Aswani runs his administration and in his overall communication.

Back to the dining issue: Get over the comment boxes and talk to Sodexo about how to either eliminate mandatory spending or to improve the quality of the food enough to make students happy to spend the money. Put advising back on the table. Give us some more study space and maybe even some free printing.

There is cabinet staff dedicated to designing GW’s inaugural float. Really? Let’s prioritize and get some of these other goals accomplished.

We understand that this is easier said than done, but Aswani was elected because he presented himself as a leader up for the challenge.

Vishal, you have one semester to turn your administration around – let’s see some results.

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