A sophomore has launched a write-in campaign to get elected to Foggy Bottom’s top advocacy group – a move that could change the dynamic of a commission typically dominated by locals. He is the third student to throw his hat in the ring.
Peter Sacco attended his first Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting Wednesday, after kicking off his campaign earlier this month. Two juniors are also vying for seats, and two alumni are running for reelection.
Students and alumni would hold five of the eight positions on the commission if all bids are successful, potentially changing neighborhood dialogue on a commission that often discusses University issues like noise and campus development.
A student has not sat on the group – which advises city agencies on neighborhood issues like construction, traffic, liquor licenses and safety – since 2007.
Sacco said students could help mediate potential tension building up between locals and a university with big plans for the neighborhood.
“GW is the largest tenant in Foggy Bottom, and thus, I think it’s great that we’d have a good amount of representation especially from students on the ANC here,” he said.
As the only candidate for his district, Sacco must receive the majority of the write-in vote to become a commissioner.
If elected, the sophomore majoring in business administration and human services pledged to push for students to have a greater voice in specific projects within the 2007 Campus Plan, the 20-year outline of the University’s construction plans.
As part of the development process, University officials must present detailed project outlines to the ANC to garner community feedback. The ANC then has the chance to appeal directly to the D.C. Zoning Commission, which must review all city development projects to approve plans, call for modifications or reject plans.
But the addition of students to the commission does not necessarily indicate increasing support for GW. Alumnus Asher Corson, who was elected to the commission as a senior in 2006, frequently challenges GW’s development proposals, despite his affiliation with the University.
In 2011, Corson said GW’s plans for the Science and Engineering Hall “neglected” Foggy Bottom residents, denying them tangible services or features after months of discussion with the ANC.
Sacco, who is a member of the community building organization LIFT-DC – an organization focused around helping impoverished people in the city – said he also wanted to tackle homelessness and lobby the University to move Student Health Service from K Street to the new office complex planned for 2100 Pennsylvania Ave.
The two other student candidates, juniors Jackson Carnes and Patrick Kennedy, are helping Sacco meet locals and other commissioners on the group, he said.
His newly-created district stretches from F Street to I Street between 17th and 22nd streets, south of Pennsylvania Avenue. It houses mainly students and the Knapp family.
Sacco lives in Lafayette Hall and is a member of house staff.