GW students and alumni have debated with University leaders over neighborhood issues like off-campus policing and construction projects for years.
And Tuesday’s elections could place students on local advocacy groups in Dupont Circle and Southeast D.C. that deal with those controversies.
Seven GW students and alumni are running for spots on Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, groups that are typically dominated by middle-aged or longtime residents, across the city this fall. Current student representatives say they bring unique perspectives to decisions about liquor licenses, noise rules and GW concerns.
Junior Daniel Warwick is running for the Dupont Circle ANC and said a close connection to GW would help him reach out to more students and balance their concerns with those of permanent residents.
“Being a GW student, students are people, too, but students are residents, too. I understand the various roles of Dupont Circle – it’s not just where people live and work, but where people have fun,” Warwick said.
Senior Markus Batchelor is also running a campaign for a spot on an ANC in Southeast D.C. Batchelor was arrested for protesting in 2012 during a D.C. Statehood rally with three other GW students. If elected, he’d be the first GW student to represent a Southeast neighborhood in recent years.
ANC commissioners do not have a vote in city politics, but are closest to neighborhood issues and can bring concerns to city agencies or the D.C. Council.
The Foggy Bottom ANC has acted as the leading neighborhood voice on issues like GW police jurisdiction and student conduct off campus. The group also helped save an N Street school in 2013 after low enrollment put it on a list for closure.
The group’s chairman, 2013 alumnus Patrick Kennedy, is running for re-election unopposed. He said it’s important for the group to have a mix of GW students and neighbors.
“Having a commission with no GW tie, that’s detrimental to students. There should be a commissioner that speaks to GW students. GW constitutes a sizable portion of the Foggy Bottom West End area,” Kennedy said.
Seniors Jackson Carnes and Peter Sacco are both running for re-election in Foggy Bottom this fall, with Sacco running as a write-in candidate. Graham Galka, an alumnus who graduated in 2008, is also running for re-election.
Rebecca Coder, a Foggy Bottom commissioner up for re-election, said student views help the group better represent GW in neighborhood discussions.
“I think having people of different ages, different background, different places in careers, it all adds to a real richness as far as dialogue and point and view,” she said. “When it comes down to it, they represent their constituents. Their constituents, even if they are represented by a GW student, still feel that that is their voice, no matter who they are.”
Eva Palmer contributed reporting.