An international student and Student Association outsider announced his candidacy for student body president Monday, saying his perspective will add a fresh view to the organization.
Alex Cho, a sophomore studying political science and theater production, said he will focus his campaign on expanding community service opportunities for students. If elected, he would be the first international student to lead the SA in recent history.
He said he will work with GW administrators to provide more transportation for students to travel to service sites and increase the number of those sites. He said streamlining communication among student organizations and community service groups in D.C. is key to increasing student involvement.
He said he has also spoken with GW’s executive chef, Ernesto Pabico, about starting a program in which the University would give leftover food from J Street to the homeless.
“I would like GW to know that community service is common sense,” he said. “This shows that community service is a key thing the Student Association stands by.”
He said he hopes to extend free mental health services to all students on campus. Students can now go to six free sessions at the University Counseling Center each year and are allowed a total of up to 12 sessions a year.
He said he would also want to create a bystander intervention program and would work with Students Against Sexual Assault to do so. He was one of more than 100 GW students to attend a sexual assault forum held by SASA on Saturday.
The program would teach students not only what to do if they were sexually assaulted, but how to prevent those situations from occurring in the first place, he said.
“This is not a matter of suggesting potential perpetrators to ‘not rape,’” Cho said. “For this issue, it is bigger and more comprehensive than that. It needs the whole community attention, fostering respect on behalf of your friends, sisters and brothers.”
Born in South Korea, Cho moved to Lancaster County, Penn. when he was a freshman in high school. He spends school breaks with his foster parents and returns to South Korea each summer to be with his relatives.
Cho also runs a laundry service for 250 senior citizens in Silver Spring, Md.
Last year, he and a team competed and placed in the top 10 schools in the American Society of Mechanical Engineer’s Innovation Showcase. His prototype processed used oil so it could be reused for other purposes and is now being considered by companies throughout Southeast Asia. A similar process is done at J Street for its leftover cooking oil.
He will also advocate for members of Greek life on campus, concentrating on the Greek life task force that began earlier this month, and has discussed his plans with Associate Dean of Students Tim Miller. Cho is not a member of a Greek organization.
“We can work together,” he said. “We can bring our representatives from the Student Association and parent and Greek life community members to bring in more diversity and see different pictures of campus culture.”