Student Association leaders set new goals

Adding additional electrical outlets to Gelman Library and ensuring students have priority reservations for Marvin Center rooms are the top goals that Student Association President Julie Bindelglass has planned for her administration this year.

Bindelglass, a junior, emphasized she wanted to improve communication and accessibility for the executive branch of the SA next year, but declined to list many other specific goals.

“My hope is that by September we have a strong foundation for the year set and tangible improvements to our campus,” Bindelglass said.

Executive Vice President Jason Lifton, a junior, said in addition to communicating with the student body, he plans to work on improving communication within the SA itself. Last year, former Executive Vice President Kyle Boyer and President Vishal Aswani largely worked separately. At an SA debate in the spring, Boyer said he was so out of the loop that he did not even know the Unity Ball – a major programming event sponsored by the SA last year – was happening until he received a flyer.

“Julie and I were both members of last year’s SA and we saw first hand what worked and what didn’t work,” Lifton said. “[We] are building up a communication plan to ensure that the office of the EVP and the office of the president have a completely open line of dialogue.”

Bindelglass said this year the SA plans to reduce their own costs to leave more money for student organizations. Also on the agenda are plans to make the SA a better resource for the student body, and to improve campus life, she said.

“Our goals for the year take into account many concerns GW students have: the rising costs of a college education, support and funding for student organizations, and a functioning student government that works for them,” Bindelglass said.

She added that she wants to use student feedback as a “springboard” for making improvements on campus.

“We will make good on our campaign promises to invite students more actively into a University-wide conversation about the things we need to change,” Bindelglass said.

Lifton emphasized that they want to encourage students to use the SA to help them with any problems.

“The SA may not be able to solve it, but we’ll know who can,” said Lifton. “We have access to the administration that the student body doesn’t have.”

Lifton added that he believed the SA should have more of a “facilitator role” than a “programming role.”

“Our job is to do what’s best for the students,” Lifton said.

Bindelglass and Lifton both said they are excited to launch a completely revamped SA Web site, which Lifton said will serve as a “one-stop shopping place” of information for students, including updated calendars, helpful web links, requisite forms for student organizations, and an active blog of SA activity.

Bindelglass said the new site will foster transparency and communication.

“We want a place where students can participate in the SA, and the blog, Twitter, and comment form…are good first steps,” Bindelglass said.

She added that speaking face-to-face with students will remain a priority, and hopes to host forums for students to get directly involved.

“For me, it is important to chat with students and find out what they care about and what they want to see from the SA and the University in the year to come,” she added.

Lifton added that he plans to create a new SA Senate staff position specifically responsible for communicating the Senate’s initiatives to the rest of the student body. He is currently working with Senate committee chairs to draw up a job description.

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