The Student Association’s incoming leaders will lay out a public list of goals by May to hold the organization more accountable to students.
The rising executive team, Ashwin Narla and Abby Bergren, is meeting individually with the 31 members of the SA Senate-elect to identify lobbying focuses for next year. The pair will add specific benchmarks for each goal over the summer.
Narla said he and Bergren will use the senators’ input to create a shared agenda they will communicate to students and administrators through social media, an updated website and a blog run by SA leaders.
“One of the major issues that the SA did not do well this year was framing their message,” Narla said. “It is a priority for both Abby and I to work together to make sure that the SA is collectively working together as a team.”
While their focus on messaging echoes past administrations’ goals, Narla said this year’s organization will be pressured to achieve more.
The duo has met with about two-thirds of senators so far, and has identified three top goals, including maximizing student space, launching a universal calendar and increasing access to Student Health Service through reduced fees and a potential new location. Smaller-scale goals include removing GW’s transcript fee and revamping the GWork website.
“We want to make sure we’re fully focused by the very beginning of the summer, have a direction and a vision of where we’re going to go,” Narla said.
As manager of the senate, which met for the first time Monday, Bergren said she will require senators to have an “all hands on deck” approach to tackling student issues.
“Being able to combine our talents and resources will enable us, as student advocates, to present a unified front to the administration and University decision-makers,” Bergren said.
She will use the number of bills passed by the senate to measure “tangible progress” on SA-wide goals, helping to hold the body to its responsibility as student lobbyists.
The pair will also take advantage of the fresh perspectives of new members, who will make up two-thirds of the senate. Just two out of 15 incoming undergraduate senators are returning to the senate next year.
At its first meeting, Bergren oversaw committee leadership selection and appointment. Returning senators Alex Mizenko, SPHHS-U, Elizabeth Kennedy, U-At-Large, Alicia Rose, ESIA-U, and Michael Amesquita, GSEHD, were elected chairs of the finance, student life and leadership committees, respectively, and freshman Alicia Rose was appointed chair of the academic affairs committee.
Mizenko, who served as the vice chair of last year’s finance committee, said the senate will have “a better team dynamic” than this year because senators are already forming ties to kickstart efforts for next year.
“I want to be more proactive by getting to work immediately – not waiting for the transition – and reaching out to those who I will be working with most intimately,” Mizenko said.
He said he will help make sure the new group works harder to pass more legislation and “help get rid of our bad reputation at GW.”
Sarah Ferris contributed to this report