‘Outsider’ vies for top Student Association seat

A second candidate joined the race for Student Association president Monday, casting himself in the role of the perennial outsider who will bring fresh perspectives to the organization’s highest post.

Junior Will Thompson said his lack of prior involvement with the SA would help – not hinder – his leadership and lobbying abilities as president.

“I don’t have experience in the SA, but I feel like I’m fresh and have new ideas. I definitely think that the ideas I have are doable and substantial,” he said.

If elected, he would create an alumni networking website that would function like GWork to connect students with successful graduates in their fields. He believes that creating strong personal ties between alumni and students would also bolster graduates’ financial support of the University. Thompson joked “people love to talk about themselves and what they do,” and said GW wouldn’t have trouble finding former students to get involved.

He also pointed out that there are few research fellowships available for undergraduates. He said he would lobby deans and other University administrators to expand opportunities for students outside classes, but could not specifically outline his plan.

“GW students have the desire and ideas to produce high quality research – they just need the funds,” Thompson, an international affairs major, said.

He has also committed to lowering the financial burden of textbooks, urging professors to consider costs when assigning readings, and striving to make it easier for professors to distribute materials electronically through Blackboard.

A former coordinator for Colonial Inauguration, Thompson said he worked with administrators and his team of student staff to plan four weeks of orientation activities for freshmen – a job that required him to “be an expert at everything going on at GW.”

He added that the experience taught him “how to work the system,” and prepared him to act as GW’s chief lobbyist.

Thompson returned from Barcelona, Spain in January after spending last semester abroad, but said his months away from campus have not disconnected him from student issues. He said he maintained constant communication with friends and kept up with campus media to stay informed.

Unlike past presidents, who Thompson said “have taken a back seat to some issues,” the candidate said he will press administrators at all levels to take action regarding students’ concerns.

“I am not afraid to say to someone, ‘This is what the University can improve on, and this is what it’s not doing a good job at,’ ” he said.

Although Thompson’s platform does not include recurring issues like Gelman Library or 4-RIDE – which his opponent John Bennett vowed to tackle as part of his campaign last week – he will continue to push these concerns forward.

“[These issues] need to be addressed, and they will be addressed. That’s a given. It’s automatic. The ideas I’m proposing will create more institutional change,” Thompson said.

He is also a member and former treasurer of the international affairs fraternity Delta Phi Epsilon.

Candidate registration begins Feb. 8 and elections will be held Feb. 22 and 23.

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