With background in student health advocacy, Dowd aims at new check-in system, 4-RIDE

Media Credit: Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Year: Junior
Major: International Affairs
Hometown: Orlando
Clubs/Activities: Resident adviser, GW equestrian team member, Alpha Delta Pi sorority member
Previous SA experience: Freshman Advisory Council, 2012-2013; Director of New Students, 2013-2014; Vice President of Undergraduate Student Policy, 2014-2015
If not GW, where you would be going to school? “Probably a school in-state, because it would be cheaper.”
Favorite monument: Jefferson Memorial, “especially during cherry blossom season.”
Captain Cookie order: Two chocolate chip cookies with chocolate ice cream
Season Three of “House of Cards” or “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”? Season Three of “House of Cards”
Black and blue, or white and gold: Black and blue
Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks: Starbucks
Android or iPhone: iPhone
Dream Commencement speaker: Beyoncé

Junior Andie Dowd has served on the Student Association since her freshman year but still finds time to travel to horseback riding competitions.

If elected, the SA fixture plans to build on her previous work helping freshmen adjust to GW and creating policies for undergraduates to push for better health and wellness resources on campus.

Dowd, who is a member of the SA’s health and wellness task force, said she will create a more private online check-in system for the Colonial Health Center, so students are able to sign up for counseling or appointments without having to specify at the front desk. Dowd said she has already begun working on the system as a member of the task force.

“I think it’s a great step toward destigmatizing mental health on campus,” Dowd said.

The group formed in August 2013 as former SA President Julia Susuni began her push to move health services to campus. University officials approved the move last year, and student health and counseling services are now on the ground floor of the Marvin Center.

Dowd said she used her experiences working with students – from her role as a Colonial Cabinet member in summer 2013 to her current position as a resident adviser in Francis Scott Key Hall – to craft her platform and focus on what students need most.

“When I was making my platform, I took from my experiences, but I also thought it was really important not to make a selfish platform and to reach out to other student leaders and advocates and see what was affecting them,” she said.

Dowd said she will also revamp the University’s 4-RIDE system, making it possible for students to call and track an after-hours ride from their smartphones.

Those changes would come at little additional cost to the University because they would be upgrades to GW’s existing app, Dowd said, which is “just a matter of getting the correct technology.”

“It’s not a super expensive system. We already have the IT and the GW app to do all of this. It’s just a matter of pushing for it,” Dowd said.

Past SA presidential candidate John Bennett ran on reforming the University-run transportation system in 2012, but did not win the election. Last year, officials added larger 15-passenger vans to the fleet after the number of requests increased by 4 percent.

Dowd said she will try to improve the campus-wide electronic emergency alert system. Earlier this year, University officials took an hour to issue an alert about a multiple-suspect robbery on New Hampshire Avenue.

She said she would also gather student input as GW searches for a new police chief. Former University Police Department Chief Kevin Hay retired in the fall.

She plans to advocate for UPD and sexual assault resources to be printed on the back of GWorld cards. Members of the advocacy group Students Against Sexual Assault asked administrators to place sexual assault resources on syllabi last year.

In addition, Dowd said she will prioritize student space, especially on the first floor of the Marvin Center, which she believes students are in danger of losing “to administration space.”

The fifth floor of the Marvin Center, which had previously held spaces for students, was converted to administrative offices in 2012. But officials then added 33 percent more student space to the fourth floor of the building.

Dowd said she will push for renovations to the aging Multicultural Student Services Center. Current SA President Nick Gumas has begun lobbying for smaller scale upgrades to the building, like replacing couches and bringing in new equipment, while students wait for officials to approve or deny a budget for larger renovations.

And to cap off her mental health priorities, Dowd promised to effectively usher in a peer-support program, which University President Steven Knapp committed in January to implementing. The program, which would train students to be peer counselors, was one of Gumas’ three major campaign promises last year.

Over the past year, Dowd has worked with Gumas to shape the program and will create a detailed plan – outlining how much the program will cost and how students will be trained – through a series of meetings with administrators.

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