A sophomore and Student Association senator is vying to become the organization’s executive vice president.
SA Sen. Amy Martin, ESIA-U, announced her campaign for the SA’s No. 2 spot Monday with a platform highlighting more than a dozen initiatives, including mandating a University-wide clicker brand and facilitating diversity training for student organizations. Martin said she will build off her experiences as an SA senator to push the University toward a series of institutional changes, like ditching the Colonials nickname and institutionalizing a program stocking on-campus bathrooms with menstrual hygiene products.
“It’s been just a big learning curve, and I’ve learned what it looks like when it’s done right, and I’ve learned what it looks like when it’s done wrong,” she said. “I have the knowledge, the drive to make institutional changes – not just quick fixes.”
Martin is the second candidate to join the race for SA executive vice president.
If elected, Martin said she will work with Jordan West, the diversity and inclusion education training director, to design a program for the SA’s diversity and inclusion assembly to begin conducting diversity trainings for student groups this summer. Martin said she has spoken about the training with West, who said she would help develop a plan for members of the assembly.
Martin said members of the assembly could use the training to launch a peer education service on unconscious bias, similar to a sexual assault prevention service that Students Against Sexual Assault currently offers.
“It’s really important that this resource is there, and I think student orgs would love us to have it,” she said.
Martin said she would also advocate for People for Periods, a program in which students stock bathrooms with feminine hygiene products, shifting to be run by the facilities department.
She said she wants the program to be run by the University to ensure that the initiative does not die out as SA leaders graduate. The program expanded last semester to fill bathrooms on the Mount Vernon Campus.
She said she has discussed growing the initiative with John Ralls, the director of communications and outreach for the Division of Operations, and he was “very enthusiastic” about discussing ways to expand the service.
“It takes a lot of effort for me and my peers to go in and do this, and it would be an easy thing for the University to adopt,” she said.
Martin said she also wants to ensure that students always have access to their transcript. Currently, students cannot obtain a copy of their transcript if there is a financial aid hold placed on their account.
Martin said she would issue a survey to determine how many students have been unable to access their transcript because of a financial hold and advocate to provide students access to their transcript at all times. She said officials should also notify students of a financial aid hold at least 48 hours before it goes into effect.
“Transcripts are your own information, and you should not be barred from accessing that at any point,” she said.
Martin said she plans to spread awareness of Title IX resources on campus by mandating that professors add Title IX procedures to their course syllabi and moving support services to the top of the Blackboard homepage. She would also advocate for adding Title IX resources to student employee handbooks, she said.
Martin said she has met with workers in the Center for Career Services who said they were open to adding Title IX documents to the handbook.
Martin added that she would like to encourage the University to offer more dining plan options for students. GW currently offers two meal plans – one for students with an in-unit kitchen in their residence hall room and one for students without a kitchen – but Martin said the University should provide four to five meal plans to choose from so students can opt into a program depending on how much money they spend in a typical year.
She said the University offers fewer meal plans than its peer institutions, which offer an average of eight different dining options, according to an SA affordability report issued last year.
“Living in a city, people have a lot of different habits and they have a lot of different eating habits,” she said. “I think it’s ridiculous to fit everybody to comparable standards.”
This article appeared in the February 25, 2019 issue of the Hatchet.