Student Association pushes for locally owned eateries in office retail space

Undergraduate-At-Large Senator Elizabeth Kennedy pushes forward with a bill asking for the University to include local establishments in its Square 75A development. Jordan Emont | Photo Editor

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Chris Hebdon.

Student Association Senate leaders are pressing the University to think local when choosing retailers for its Pennsylvania Avenue office complex.

Senators passed a bill at the body’s Monday meeting, 22-4, that urged GW not to bring big chain stores and restaurants into the Square 75A office complex, which will relocate establishments like Froggy Bottom Pub and Thai Place.

Sen. Elizabeth Kennedy, U-At-Large, said mom-and-pop joints, like Froggy, help students connect back to GW and could potentially lift the school’s low donation rate, which she attributed to students being “unhappy with their GW experience.”

SA President Ashwin Narla added that GW should avoid signing on pricey venues that would not interest most students.

“We hope that the decision to find a new retailer is focused on student-friendly, low-cost establishments,” Narla said.

A similar bill hit the floor last month, but it was shot down because some senators feared it was too adversarial to the University.

Senators also voted unanimously for a bill urging the University to adopt the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s college shopping sheet, a online tool championed by President Barack Obama to help students understand the total cost of attending school. The bill saw no questions or debate.

The shopping sheet outlines each school’s cost of attendance, graduation rates, and student loan options.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Omeed Firouzi, CCAS, said it has drawn support from student groups including the College Democrats and the College Republicans. More than 300 colleges nationwide have signed on to create the one-page outline.

“It’s a very simple tool,” Firouzi said. “It really makes it a whole lot easier for students.”

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