One of oldest campus groups holds elections after nearly disbanding

Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo

The Marvin Center Governing Board advocates for student space in GW's campus hub.

The group in charge of advocating for GW’s student hub and overseeing over a $30,000 budget wraps up University-wide elections Thursday after months of internal debate on whether to restructure or disband.

Students are voting on the next Marvin Center Governing Board leaders about a month after Student Association polls closed – the first time in recent memory the groups have held separate elections. The group, which grants office space to student groups in the Marvin Center, is one of four at GW that receives funding directly from GW, not the SA.

Elizabeth Kennedy, the board’s outgoing chair and a former SA senator, said last month that the board was considering restructuring or joining the SA earlier this year, but decided to remain its own organization.

The group oversees the Student Dining Board, which has a budget of about $30,000, and meets monthly with heads of campus dining, the bookstore and the building’s facilities coordinator. Its chair also receives a stipend of about $7,500, according to former leaders.

With few students aware of the organization’s role, the group spoke with student leaders and administrators this winter about folding the group under the SA.

“This has been a process that involved dozens of people and hours and hours of time spent because the process was always evolving,” she said.

The group, which was previously led by former SA President John Richardson, helped secure a half-million dollars worth of student study space in the Marvin Center’s fourth floor last year. It also helped to plan the opening of the fifth-floor services center called Colonial Crossroads.

Freshman Henry Klapper and sophomore Juman Kekhia are both running for the group’s chair.

Klapper pledged to lift the group’s visibility with town hall-style events and a stronger social media presence.

“This is an invaluable resource,” he said of the group. “I think it’s tantamount to the SA, and not a lot of kids know about it. I think it’s a real shame,” he said.

Kekhia, who is a member of Colonial Cabinet, did not return requests for comment by publication time.

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