Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Major: Business with a concentration in public policy and economics
Student organizations/activities: Co-president of the Multicultural Business Student Association, Program Board, Dean’s Council for Multicultural Recruitment, former Class Council sophomore committee finance chair
Previous SA experience: Vice chair for inaugural Black Senators’ Caucus, academic affairs committee vice chair, government and nominations committee and diversity and inclusion subcommittee member
Favorite GWorld spot: Tasty Kabob
Favorite off-campus spot: National Mall
Dream job: Lawyer, judge or mayor of Chicago
Favorite childhood memory: Gathering petition signatures with my dad, a Chicago city councilman
Proudest GW moment: Seeing Kanye West perform in Lisner Auditorium
Fun fact: I went to the same high school as Chance the Rapper
Favorite place in the world: South Side, Chicago
Howard Brookins grew up campaigning.
Brookins’ father is a councilman in Chicago, Illinois, and he spent years knocking on doors and attending block parties to garner support for his dad. Now, he is campaigning for his own seat as Student Association president, which Brookins said he wants to use to push the University to divest from fossil fuels and improve the Office of Student Financial Assistance.
“We should divest to show other universities and other organizations that GW is a leader in reducing carbon emissions and really moving to better the world,” he said.
Brookins said student activism, like multiple on-campus protests earlier this semester demanding that officials divest from fossil fuels, motivated him to run for the SA’s top spot so he can continue advocating for those issues through direct conversations with administrators.
He said he will press members of the Board of Trustees to consider divestment and focus instead on investing in wind and solar energy. He added that he will push for the SA president to gain voting power on the board so they have a greater voice in top decisions.
“Since the University is heavily investing and moving to increase the amount of STEM students that we have on campus, it is definitely within their wheelhouse to do a lot of research to figure out how we can curb some of our own carbon emissions and usage of fossil fuels,” he said.
He added that he wants to expand his advocacy in the SA Senate in addressing campus racism, pointing to issues of xenophobia against Asian students amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Brookins proposed revising the Student Code of Conduct Faculty Code and Employee Handbook to include more “strict” discrimination and harassment policies, an issue he has spoken about with Diversity and Inclusion Education Director Jordan West and SRR Director Christy Anthony.
“I think that is unacceptable and amplifies the point that we need reform within our code of conduct to discourage this kind of action from taking place,” he said.
Brookins’ platform also outlines plans to create a financial aid advisory council, which was proposed last year alongside several other financial aid changes but has not yet formed. He would bring in students from “diverse” financial perspectives to take part in the council, including international students and first-year students.
“We all have complications from the financial aid office and putting that student group together to identify those problems on both fronts, putting forth our own recommendations and doing the job that the financial aid advisory council should do is a step in the right direction,” Brookins said.