The runoff election for Student Association president is March 11 and 12, online at www.gwelection.com.
Julie Bindelglass says involvement on campus will help her lead the student body
Student Association presidential candidate Julie Bindelglass said that no single one of her many on-campus activities defines her.
Instead, she said it is her diverse involvement in campus life that sums up her strengths as a leader.
“It’s what makes me me,” she said. “With all of the things I’m involved in, I take something from each organization, from each activity, from each class.”
Bindelglass, a sophomore who will compete against Kyle Boyer in this week’s runoff election, is part of the Balance: The GW Ballet Group, Chi Omega sorority and Campaign GW, a group that promotes campus development and sustainability. Bindelglass is also an SA senator from the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. She served this year as chair of the Finance Committee.
“It’s one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done,” she said of her role as committee chair. “But also one of the most rewarding because I get to work with student organizations on a daily basis. Making the process easier for them is something that I am really passionate about. I care about student organizations because I’m part of student organizations.”
Bindelglass said she is confident she made some improvements in her time on the finance committee.
“I think we’ve done a great job this year of leaving a better process than what we had gotten at the beginning,” she said.
Although Bindelglass lost her bid for one of the SA’s nonvoting freshman senate seats, she maintained her interest in the organization and sought the position again for her sophomore year. She said she “stuck with it” because of her passion for the organization’s work and its opportunities for campus involvement.
Bindelglass’s attended high school at Bridgewater-Raritan High School in Bridgewater, N.J., where she was a cheerleader, a nationally ranked debater and the captain of the school’s forensics team, winning the district forensics competition as a senior.
“It was kind of like how I do everything here,” Bindelglass said of her high school years. “I did a lot of different things.”
Bindelglass said she was attracted to GW because of its students and location. While she shuddered at her use of the tired cliché, she said she could tell from the moment she arrived on campus that it was the right place for her.
“There was an energy,” she said of her first visit to Foggy Bottom. “The people I met were all amazing and involved and passionate about what they were doing. I’m surrounded by tons of amazing students who are just like me because they want to make the campus better, students who are passionate about changing the world someday.”
Bindelglass plans to major in communication and graduate with minors in statistics and organizational sciences before moving on to law school.
For now, though, she is focused on the final days of her SA presidential race.
“I’m a different sort of candidate,” she said. “I have a different perspective. I want everyone to be involved. I want everyone to take ownership of our student government.”
With a tag line of “Take Back the SA,” Bindelglass’s campaign focuses on opening lines of communication for student voices and improving the quality of life on campus. She hopes to improve dining options in J Street, create an online syllabus bank and increase space for student organizations.
“We need to make it easier to make our voice heard,” she said. “Student government should be a voice for our students, and it shouldn’t be so hard.”
Kyle Boyer emphasizes record of advocacy as proof that he can accomplish his goals
Bringing change to the Student Association and GW’s campus is about more than just adding a burrito bar to J Street, said SA presidential candidate Kyle Boyer.
“I want people to advocate with me for dining improvements, for overall structural changes,” he said. “I want people to lobby with me for the best advising possible, for as much room as possible for student organizations, for as much study space as possible. I definitely want people to lobby with me to pay less than they’re paying for books. It’s a collaborative effort.”
While Boyer emphasizes the value of teamwork in accomplishing the goals set forth in his platform, it is his personal experience with advocacy that he said sets him apart.
“I bring a lot of experience advocating,” he said. “You cannot undercount the face-to-face interactions that I’ve had.”
Boyer began advocating for students back in high school where he was president of his senior class in Berwyn, Pa.
“The highest honor for me was being elected senior class president because I got to communicate with members of my class and to work for and with them,” he said. “It’s something that I’ll always have. I’m always that class’s president.”
Boyer said he decided long before his high school days that he would ultimately attend college in D.C.
“Every time I visited the city, I just could never get enough of it or have enough time,” he said. “I knew that I would end up going to school here, no matter where it was.”
In his nearly three years at GW, Boyer has become involved with the Black Men’s Initiative Board, the Gelman Library Student Advisory Board and the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, of which he serves as chaplain.
Boyer’s own political career with the SA began during his sophomore year, when he became passionate about establishing a student Metro discount. Boyer said the Metro discount is likely to go into effect next year.
In his role as executive vice president this year, Boyer said he wished he could have engaged in similar advocacy projects.
“Running the senate was running the senate,” he said of his most recent position. “It was pretty standard, pretty simple. It was the advocacy and the meaning and pushing the issues that I was really looking for.”
While Boyer has enjoyed his role in the SA, he said the highlight of his college experience has been “the city itself – whether it be a restaurant, a show or a motorcade passing by.”
Boyer said he counts the night of President Barack Obama’s election at the White House as “one of the most awesome experiences” of his life.
Moving into this week’s runoff election, Boyer said he is confident in his abilities to bring the student body together. While he missed the victory mark by only two votes in the general election on Feb. 26, he remains relaxed and optimistic about his campaign. With seven candidates pursuing the presidency in the general election and the highest voter turnout GW has ever seen, Boyer said the election and its close results are a testament to the strength of his supporters.
“I think it says a lot about the kind of team I have and how awesome my supporters are,” he said. “It’s a blessing to be surrounded by those people and I take it as such. I don’t credit myself for any of that.”