A Student Association senator announced his campaign for SA president Wednesday, running on a platform to increase grant funding for students and expand student organization programming.
SA Sen. Charles Aborisade, U-at-Large and the chair of the finance committee, said he hopes to advocate for more funding opportunities for students pursuing unpaid internships and increase the SA’s outreach to student organizations. He said his experience serving in the finance committee and working alongside student organizations helps him understand how to improve connections with students.
“We can all attest to this pandemic has made it hard for students to organize in the typical meaningful ways that they do in person,” Aborisade said. “Being able to understand those struggles and understand those situations, I think I am providing the unique position to usher the school, Student Association, as well as the student body into an era when hopefully in the fall we will receive more engagement, more interaction with students and hopefully this will be a gradual transition back to normal.”
Aborisade is the second candidate to announce his run for president, following current SA President Brandon Hill.
Aborisade is required to gather at least 250 signatures during the candidate registration period from Feb. 24 to March 3 and be approved by the Joint Elections Commission to qualify as a candidate. The senate approved legislation in November that reduced the number of required signatures for candidates to run this year in half.
Aborisade said if elected, he would work to allocate money from the SA executive budget to Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund grants. He said he would reach out to parents and alumni – who fund the grant – to explore ways to grow the fund.
The GW Career Services Council offers KACIF grants to financially support students taking unpaid internships, on average allocating between $750 to $1,500 for students in domestic internships and roughly $2,000 to $3,000 to students with international internships.
He said he also wants to use “some” of the SA executive budget – which amounts to roughly $50,000 a year – to create an “online textbook pantry” for students to access their materials online. He said SA leaders could also use the pantry to purchase textbooks for students and offset other students’ fees.
Aborisade said he also wants to create an initiative titled “AborisAid” to increase funding for student organizations to host programming. He said he would also create a coalition made up of SA senators and student organization leaders to meet with administrators to provide more representation for student organizations on University issues.
“Whether it comes to advocating for reduced costs for graduate students or whether it be for advocating for certain events on campus or certain changes to be made on campus, I want to build a rainbow coalition that can help support the voices of the students,” he said.
Aborisade said he wants to transition the SA’s budget allocations into a two-step process where student organizations would requests funds at the end of the spring semester and the end of next fall semester. He said the SA finance committee currently only has one budget allocation per year, which he said forces organizations to plan for events a year in advance.
He said he would work to create a more flexible exam submission schedule to improve the virtual learning environment. He said if elected, he would work with the deans of the schools to allow students to have 24 hours to complete their midterm and final exams once they open them online in a virtual or hybrid environment.
“I know a lot of classes and teachers have already implemented such a thing, which is absolutely great, but I want to see if we can expand those to more classes particularly as it relates to these other different schools on campus,” he said.
Makena Roberts contributed reporting