All six candidates for Student Association executive office have one thing in common: they are all in Greek-letter organizations.
For the first time in recent history, the two candidates for president and four candidates for executive vice president are all members of the Greek community, representing Beta Theta Pi, Phi Kappa Psi, Phi Sigma Pi, Pi Kappa Alpha, and Sigma Chi.
“The [Greek-letter] community is very involved in campus life,” said Beta President Corey Lewin, whose fraternity brother Josh Goldstein is running for executive vice president. “They don’t run to represent their organization or Greek life in general. They want to be involved.”
A Greek-letter candidate’s advantage, Lewin said, is that “everyone’s going to vote.” Lewin said his chapter will help Goldstein’s campaign and rally supporters.
Katie Easter, the president of national honor fraternity Phi Sigma Pi, said her chapter will be helping presidential candidate Xochitl Sanchez “poster” early Friday morning during the annual election tradition, in which candidates race each other for prime locations to advertise their campaigns.
With roughly 25 percent of GW students involved in Greek-letter life, Easter said students get more opportunities to serve in leadership positions.
“That experience comes with a desire to want to continue to serve,” Easter said.
Michael Waterman, the president of Pi Kappa Alpha and whose fraternity brother Rob Maxim is running for executive vice president, said the candidate pool reflects how prominent Greek-letter life has become at GW.
Waterman disputed the idea that non-Greeks would be at a disadvantage in SA elections.
“If you’re not in Greek life but still really involved in other organizations, it will put you on a level playing field. Being involved in any organization at GW is an advantage,” Waterman said.
For Amr Hassan, a senior and member of Delta Tau Delta, the benefits of running as a Greek are obvious.
“It gives them the advantage of hanging an organizational body behind them, and a group of guys who are going to work hard for them,” Hassan said, while still noting that nothing stops non-Greek candidates from running and winning elections.
Current SA President Julie Bindelglass is a member of Chi Omega and EVP Jason Lifton is a Sigma Chi brother. Lifton is now running for president, along with his fellow Sigma Chi brother, Logan Dobson, who is running for executive vice president. Last year’s EVP Kyle Boyer is a member of Pi Kappa Alpha, but former president Vishal Aswani was not involved in Greek-letter life.
While having an all-Greek group of candidates this year might neutralize any advantage, senior Irene Ojo-Felix said the election could lead to something else – a popularity contest.
“It could turn into a popularity contest and lead people to focus on the wrong thing,” said Ojo-Felix, who is not in a sorority.
Easter, however, said she is not worried about that.
“GW students are pretty informed about credentials and not about title,” Easter said. “It’s really about their platform and not about their chapter.”
Phi Psi president Carl Sceusa offered the perspective that many U.S. lawmakers have belonged to fraternities and sororities.
“The values that Greek organizations teach and the opportunities they tend to offer mold involved and well-rounded people” who want to give back to their community, Sceusa said.
“Judging by the overwhelming amount of Greeks involved in all aspects of GW, the values held in our community hold true,” Sceusa added.