Both candidates for Student Association executive vice president came into the race with different experiences and backgrounds. One is an SA outsider who embarked on a listening tour to learn about the student body, while the other is an SA senator with nearly two years of experience.
Both candidates are exceptionally qualified and can make a difference in students’ lives with their unique strengths. But Amy Martin’s experience and institutional knowledge made her stand out as poised to take the job.
Her relationships with administrators and in the SA will help her work with the SA president and see the realistic goals on her platform come to fruition. When we sat down with Martin, she pointed to her experience to answer questions about how she will approach her platform and cited data, testimony from students and discussions with administrators to prove the feasibility of her goals.
While Martin’s platform encompassed a wide array of campus issues, what is most impressive was her ability to combine goals that are actionable in the short-term with long-term goals. Her ability to discuss each aspect of her platform – including potential challenges – showed that she is well-versed in SA and University procedures, which is a necessity for the SA Senate’s leader.
She has already started the fight for one of her key platform points of pushing toward an inclusive mascot by spearheading the effort to put a referendum on the ballot to assess student opinion on changing the Colonials nickname. The referendum will appear on the ballot this week, and we were impressed that she is already working toward one of her goals.
Martin’s platform takes on some of the most pressing issues on campus, including combating food insecurity, enhancing the campus community with dedicated student spaces and expanding mental health care on the Mount Vernon Campus.
While Martin’s experience ultimately put her over the top, we were also impressed with her opponent, junior Quentin McHoes. He transferred to GW from a two-year community college in Wyoming and impressed the editorial board with a passionate platform that focused on smaller priorities.
While he entered the race with a steep learning curve ahead, McHoes kicked off his campaign with a listening tour where he spoke to nearly 300 students and has brought a refreshingly open-minded and outsider approach to the race.
McHoes’ platform focused on eliminating costly and unnecessary fees, like laundry, mental health assessments and printing, and we applauded him for conjuring up a platform of initiatives that seem achievable.
But we had concerns about some of his more lofty platform points. McHoes’ platform included a desire for more blue light security systems on campus but didn’t focus on other security measures that might better serve students. He expressed concern that officials continue raising students’ dining dollars, but he didn’t provide a realistic solution to address food insecurity on campus.
While his platform did a good job of identifying pain points in student life at GW, it was underdeveloped and concerningly vague. He overcame this a bit during our conversation, but it was not enough to edge out the institutional knowledge and experience Martin brought to the table.
Many of McHoes’ goals were rooted in personal experience and conversations with students. His dedication to listening to students is important, but also troubling. When answering questions, he continuously said he wanted to get student input and while it is good that he wants to be sure he represents students, the SA needs leaders that can make immediate change – not just listen. It was apparent from Martin’s hearing that she is capable of listening while also charging ahead and making changes based on her own opinions and research.
There are pros and cons that come with being wrapped up in the world of the SA. While rattling off past SA initiatives and legislation, it appeared at times that Martin struggled to break the SA bubble and relate to students that aren’t involved in government. But we were encouraged by McHoes’ outsider vantage point. Ultimately, the executive vice president position must be the most well versed in SA proceedings so they can effectively lead the senate, and it was clear from speaking with Martin and reading her platform that she could do that.
It is clear that Martin will be able to seamlessly step in and lead the SA. With her experience, realistic goals and passion for students, she can continue fighting for issues that she has been advocating for as an SA senator if she is elected executive vice president.
Vote for Martin for SA executive vice president on Wednesday and Thursday.
The editorial board is composed of Hatchet staff members and operates separately from the newsroom. This week’s piece was written by opinions editor Renee Pineda and contributing opinions editor Kiran Hoeffner-Shah based on conversations with The Hatchet’s editorial board, which is composed of managing editor Matt Cullen, contributing social media director Zach Slotkin, managing director Elise Zaidi, sports editor Barbara Alberts and culture editor Lindsay Paulen.