Op-Ed: Why you should vote in student government elections

Julia Susuni is the president of the Student Association, and Kostas Skordalos is the executive vice president of the Student Association.

Most days of the week, somebody asks us the question: “So what does the Student Association actually do?”

It’s a fair question. At GW, called the most politically active school in the country, students often perceive the SA as an organization of budding politicians. But to us, our roles are not focused on student governance. Rather, they are about student advocacy.

Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo
Student Association president Julia Susuni

We don’t see the SA as a political organization. We see it as a service organization whose only agenda is to influence positive changes across campus. Our job is to always put students first – to find out how your GW experience could be improved and to bring that feedback to the table during conversations with University administrators and faculty.

The student body will elect a new group of SA leaders this Wednesday and Thursday. The students elected this week will have the opportunity to meet with top University leaders and work on initiatives that will affect your time at GW. With important issues facing our campus – like construction projects, student health, student space and affordability – it is more important than ever for student voices to be represented.

By voting this week, you can continue to increase student engagement with issues facing the GW community, and give the next SA leaders the backing they need to advocate on your behalf.

The fact is, when backed by a passionate student body, the SA can have an amazing impact on campus.

Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo
SA executive vice president Kostas Skordalos

This year, we have pushed administrators to make a significant capital investment by moving Student Health Service and the University Counseling Center to campus. We’ve worked with Academic Technologies to increase the number of Colonial Printing kiosks around campus. Fueled by the outcry known as “GW Housing Horrors,” we worked with administrators on a plan for extensive renovations to on-campus residence halls and a reduction in housing costs for juniors.

The SA’s projects this year have succeeded because you put your faith in us and asked us to speak on your behalf. By voting for us, sending us your feedback, joining our focus groups and town hall meetings and simply coming up to talk to us in Kogan Plaza, you lent us your voices.

Our successes this year could not have happened without constant student feedback and engagement that made administrators truly respect the student perspective on life at GW. They’ve worked to implement the changes you recommended because you made your voices heard.

Student feedback and engagement help SA leaders have conversations with University leadership.

Regardless of your involvement on campus, passion for GW or knowledge about the SA, we urge you to take a few minutes to meet the candidates and vote in the student body elections this Wednesday and Thursday.

This week, join us in electing our next campus leaders – because if we speak up together, just think of how much we can achieve.

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