Two-term SA senator launches bid for SA president to increase school spirit

Media Credit: Donna Armstrong | Senior Staff Photographer

Junior and SA Sen. George Glass, U-at-Large and the finance committee chair, is running for SA president on a platform of building school pride.

Updated: Feb. 24, 2020 at 10 a.m.

A two-time Student Association senator wants to become the organization’s next president.

Junior and SA Sen. George Glass, U-at-Large and the finance committee chair, said he wants to bolster the University’s pride and school spirit through about 20 different initiatives. Glass said that if elected, he would prioritize holding week-long events dedicated to topics like mental health awareness, boost the SA’s involvement in community service projects and create more GW traditions.

“This campaign is trying to instill passion, pride and spirit in this University because I don’t think school spirit is just exclusive to going to basketball games, going to athletics events and shouting, cheering, chanting,” he said. “It’s everything that encompasses what the University administration and what the SA does.”

Glass is joining the race alongside Students for Indigenous and Native American Rights President Georgie Britcher, SA Vice President for Public Affairs Drew Amstutz, SA Sen. Howard Brookins, U-at-Large, sophomore Christian Zidouemba and Black Heritage Celebration co-chair Bishop Walton.

Glass said he would increase the SA’s involvement in community service through week-long events centered around mental health awareness and worker appreciation. He said SA members should also participate in monthly community service projects, like volunteering with the GroW Garden and The Store, a student-run food pantry, to show the GW community that the SA is in tune with students’ needs.

“The best way that the SA can function is as a body that takes its work very seriously but doesn’t take itself very seriously,” he said. “And I think that we can do that a lot better by showing a lot more humility, by having senators and cabinet members go out into the community and attend extracurricular activities that aren’t related to what we’re doing in the SA.”

He added that he will create a bi-weekly video blog – which he will upload to his personal social media – that details what the SA accomplished during the week and promotes events students should attend. Glass said using his own account would add a more personal touch to the SA’s social media and improve student engagement with the SA.

Glass said he would also plan to hold bi-semester student forums, one for students to “comfortably” interact with and ask questions of University President Thomas LeBlanc and one for graduate students to help the SA deepen relations with students who are underrepresented.

SA Sen. AJ Link, Law-G, filed a complaint in April alleging the number of undergraduate and graduate seats are not proportional to the student body. The senate unanimously voted in October that a 2018 bill ensures senate seats equally represent undergraduate and graduate students.

Glass said he would personally reach out to different graduate schools and student groups to recruit graduate students for the SA.

“There are so few graduate students on the SA and they have such a diminished voice on the SA,” he said.

Glass said he would advocate for students to be able to paint a mural in Potomac Square to add character to the area of campus. He said students could submit applications to paint the space with visuals that would promote their student organizations.

“If they had a space on campus where it’s completely student-owned, where students know, ‘I can go there and express myself,’ it would go a long way in actually developing more character for the University,” he said.

Glass said he would use his experience heading George’s Army, the spirit fan section, to continue students’ yearslong efforts to change the Colonials moniker and advocate for an alternative moniker, like the “Revolutionaries.” He said the current moniker often fails to drum up school spirit because of its ties to racism and colonialism.

About 54 percent of students approved a referendum during SA elections last spring urging the University to change the nickname, but officials have not taken a stance on the issue.

Glass said he would reach out to alumni who may not support the change to include them in conversations. He said he will speak with people he knows in GW’s Fan Council – which he said officials in the marketing department lead – who reach out to “older alumni.”

He said he plans to speak about his ideas with SA Director of Legacy Review André Gonzales, who heads the SA’s Colonial Moniker Task Force, a student committee researching alternatives to the moniker.

“Colonials is four syllables long, no one ever chants that any basketball games, no one barely ever wears shirts that says ‘Colonials,’” he said. “You don’t really know what a Colonial is. It’s kind of just a word that has a connotation of the past.”

Glass added that he would lobby officials to hold an annual New Student Orientation event for students and families on the National Mall, mirroring Commencement for graduating seniors. He said LeBlanc could deliver his yearly speech to new students and their families on the Mall instead of the Smith Center, where it is typically held.

He has spoken about the event with Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of the Student Experience Cissy Petty, who Glass said “loves” the idea.

“It’s a big, big ask and something that would have to be coordinated a lot with not only GW but also the city of D.C.,” he said. “But it’s something that I think we should get the ball rolling on and we should be starting to talk about.”

This post has been updated to clarify the following:

The Hatchet has updated this post to clarify a paraphrase from George Glass.

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