Sophomore sets lofty goals in campaign for seat on local advisory group

Media Credit: Katie Causey | Photo Editor

Eve Zhurbinskiy, a sophomore student running for a position in the Advisory Neighborhood Commission, has included the addition of rape kits to the GW Hospital as one of her main campaign planks.

One GW student is hoping to bring a student perspective to Foggy Bottom’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission.

Eve Zhurbinskiy, a sophomore majoring in political science and history, submitted the required 25 signatures needed to get on the ballot to the D.C. Board of Elections on Monday, making her eligible for an ANC commissioner seat — if it passes through the week-long review period.

Zhurbinskiy set far-reaching goals as part of her campaign, ranging from topics like campus safety to sexual assault response, though the commission typically handles neighborhood issues like restaurant liquor licenses or noise levels in the area. She said she does not know if she’ll face an opponent in the election because officials are still reviewing signatures.

If Zhurbinskiy wins her election, which would be on Sept. 16 and would only occur if she has an opponent, she will be one of the youngest commissioners in the city.

The ANC has historically had students or alumni among its ranks because the area it represents is almost exclusively students.

“I thought it would be a good idea to fill it because it’s been vacant the entire summer,” Zhurbinskiy said in an interview. “There are no other students on the ANC right now, so I thought it was important to restore a student voice to the ANC.”

As a member of Students Against Sexual Assault, Zhurbinskiy said one of her biggest priorities on the commission would be to make rape kits available at the GW Hospital so that sexual assault survivors would not have to “jump through hoops” in order to receive the forensic medical exam.

Currently MedStar Washington Hospital Center is the only hospital in the city that offers the exam, which can take several hours and requires specialized training for the nurses.

She also has plans to try to make bike sharing opportunities for students more affordable. She said she hopes to create a student discount for Capital Bikeshare and work with the company owners so students can use GWorld to pay.

She said she would also like officers in the University Police Department and EMeRG staff to carry naloxone, a drug that reverses effects of drug overdoses.

“It’s always a good idea to have this on hand because every second counts,” she said.

Zhurbinskiy would fill the seat previously held by Peter Sacco, who graduated from GW this past spring and moved out of Foggy Bottom. He was hired as the executive director of the commission in June.

In an interview, Sacco said he has been talking with Zhurbinskiy about ways she can stay connected with the community and hear the concerns of neighbors and students.

“We’ve talked extensively about different strategies,” Sacco said. “For me it just comes down to attending a lot of meetings.”

Patrick Kennedy, an alumnus and the chairman of the Foggy Bottom ANC, said he expected the seat to remain vacant longer because the new representative would have to stay on campus for the entirety of his or her term, meaning he or she couldn’t study abroad or go home for the summer.

He said he was surprised Zhurbinskiy was able to get the necessary signatures because the majority of students in the area are not registered to vote in D.C., making their signatures invalid.

“I think it speaks to a diligence on her part and a dedication to the community, and I’m blown away by that,” Kennedy said.

In the 2012 ANC election, Kennedy and Sacco as GW students faced criticism for running for the positions when they were each likely only living in Foggy Bottom for a few years. Kennedy said adding Zhurbinskiy to the commission would bring variety to a group that would otherwise not have a student voice and called her fresh perspective a “definite advantage.”

“Having a homogeneous perspective is not good for the community,” Kennedy said.

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