Something missing in GW’s elections
Can it be that GW has run out of tools? I asked myself this question while perusing The Hatchet’s 2010 election coverage. In a school noted for its political activism, the dearth of candidates stirred up strong disappointment in my alma mater. (Even more so when I read the article regarding a Greek-dominated election; as a proud non-Greek for three years, I know we’re better than that.)
Don’t get me wrong – the politicking and bureaucracy endemic through the SA deserve to be considered and censured. Now that I have had the opportunity to observe student government elections at another university, I was shocked and appalled by the general civility and absence of underhanded sabotage of candidates here. (“What, you mean the people don’t end up bloody after postering?!”) However, these criticisms give credence to the unique environment of GW: a student body that soared beyond the traditional expectations of extracurricular involvement. Some of my fondest and most fun memories of GW are invoked by allegations of corruption, powerhouse slates and mentally screaming obscenities at the JEC.
Accordingly, The Hatchet’s (otherwise well-reasoned) endorsements failed in one critical aspect. In distinguishing among the paltry pool of candidates, it neglected to address whether the scarcity of presidential-wannabes indicates a detrimental shift in GW activism and pride. School spirit, although currently strong, will never rival a state school. But the SA elections, and participation as a candidate, are something that makes GW unique. While I think either of the two candidates would make a great executive, it was often elections with four or five students that produced the best president or, at least, the best campaign season experience. And an unopposed PB chair? Horrors.
While it’s too late to do anything now, I encourage all eligible undergraduates to involve themselves next year. Catchy slogans, obnoxious voter solicitation, arriving at postering in fencing uniform – I’d go back in a second if I could.
The writer, Hayley Haldeman, is a 2009 Elliott School graduate.