Tracking the big issues: Don’t be surprised if you hear about these again

Science and Engineering Complex: The SEC was designed as part of GW’s 20-year campus plan. The project has already received approval of $10 million for planning purposes and is projected to come with a $300 million (or more) price tag. Debate has raged over the project, and with good reason. GW lacks vital research facilities for its science programs, a fact that inhibits University President Steven Knapp’s promised focus on research.

The SEC is at the heart of a battle over GW’s direction. Some advocate for a focus on GW’s current strengths, like international affairs and politics. Opponents argue that the tunnel-visioned focus on certain programs is what has put the science programs behind in the first place; a cycle they say should not be continued. Either way, this argument promises to play center stage in the next few years at GW.

Basketball: Earlier this decade, GW maintained a strong basketball tradition, but it has faltered in the past two years. The majority of students who continue to remember famed basketball athlete Pops Mensah-Bonsu have recently graduated, so few remaining students have experienced a time when GW’s men’s basketball team was not plagued with general frustration over the team and coaching staff. The past two years have seen GW fail to make the Atlantic 10 Tournament, something many say is unacceptable.

GW decided to keep head coach Karl Hobbs, despite many calls last season for his replacement. If the Colonials cannot pull themselves together for this season, it could result in a long-term blow in both game attendance and interest. Rays of hope do exist, though, as a “Buff Out Day” organized primarily by Greek-letter organizations sparked interest and showed that school spirit was not necessarily dead on campus. This year will prove crucial to the future of the men’s program.

Student Association: At a school that loves politics, it’s understandable that the Student Association, GW’s student government, brings collegiate politics to a whole new level. After a controversial election season in which court cases booted then-Executive Vice President Kyle Boyer – who came just two votes short of winning the election on the first ballot – from the runoff election, many student voters are apathetic toward the SA.

President Julie Bindelglass enters this year following the disastrous tenure of former President Vishal Aswani, which has left many questioning the effectiveness and even the need for the student organization. There is even a Web site devoted to eliminating the SA altogether. Bindelglass has promised increased transparency and progress on a number of issues, including dining options and student space.

In the SA senate, questions about financial allocations will be a definitive part of this upcoming year, and tension could escalate between undergraduate and graduate student groups. Hopefully, this year will see more effective student governance, even though it has been promised before without tangible results. Those interested in becoming an SA freshman representative be warned.

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