A fourth candidate for Student Association president has joined the race, running on a platform to provide financial relief opportunities for low-income students and hold community-wide events between SA members and the student body.
Hannah Edwards, a junior and former SA vice president for diversity and inclusion, said she wants to push for updated scholarship opportunities for students. Edwards said she will use the connections she has made with officials and SA support to create an “inclusive culture” through hosting events, like an LGBTQ health and advocacy conference and a student-led conference about men and women of color.
“I think that helping to set the tone for the University whenever we go back to campus and with all these initiatives that I hope will actually change the institutional culture of GW – that is why I decided that I had to run for this position,” she said.
If elected, Edwards would be the first Black female SA president, which “in itself is important,” she said. Edwards is joining SA President Brandon Hill; SA Sen. Charles Aborisade, U-at-Large; and Christian Zidouemba in the race.
Edwards is required to gather at least 250 signatures during the candidate registration period from Feb. 24 to March 6 and must be approved by the Joint Elections Commission to qualify as a candidate.
Edwards said her “first priority” is to set up a student “reopening task force” to sit in on conversations with administrators about GW’s plan to reopen for the fall. She said the emails that officials sent to students regarding reopening plans for the fall were “too vague,” so she wants to work with officials to increase transparency.
“I will be in all of those meetings about the pandemic response and figuring out how to get it back on campus,” she said. “And making sure the student body is aware of what is going on behind the scenes because all the emails that were sent about the pandemic were not cutting it for me.”
Edwards said she plans to create peer education groups on topics like diversity and inclusion and sexual assault prevention on campus. She said the groups will host workshops and conversations for other students.
She said she has had conversations with Jordan West, the director of diversity and inclusion education, to create the diversity mentorship program to coincide with the peer education groups, which Edwards said West supported.
Edwards said she has also spoke about increasing sexual assault education programs with members of Students Against Sexual Assault and Tamara Washington, the assistant director of the Office of Advocacy and Support. She said she wants to increase the opportunities available for students to host or attend workshops on topics like sexual assault.
Edwards said she plans to host a student-led men and women of color conference, similar to the diversity summit. She said this event would bring in students around the D.C. area to learn about “what it means to be a college student” and act as a “representation of what students can accomplish.”
Edwards said she has had conversations with Chris Hooton, the associate director of alumni engagement and outreach, to create a scholarship dedicated to low-income students as GW currently does not have separate scholarships specifically dedicated to those students, outside of financial aid.
“If a student has a financial burden and they cannot make the difference between what they’re given by the financial aid office and student loans and their tuition, then they may not be able to continue their time at GW,” Edwards said.
Edwards said she also plans to host community service events like a 5K run/walk, where the money raised will go toward assisting the homeless population in Foggy Bottom. She said she would reach out to officials in the athletic department and members of the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Association to collaborate on the event with the SA.
Edwards said if elected, she will also facilitate an “interfaith dinner and dialogue” event with students to discuss different faiths on campus in a “respectful way.” She said the interfaith council – a student organization advocating for religious tolerance – hosted a similar event last year, and she hopes to partner with the organization to “expand” the event to more students.
She said she will also seek to plan events, like an ice cream social, with SA leaders and Residence Hall Association members for students to feel more comfortable speaking to members of those organizations at community-wide events.
“Right now, we have midnight breakfast and we have other great events like that that the entire student body gets excited to come out for – freshman day of service and different things like that,” she said. “So offering more opportunities for students to engage with each other is what I hope to achieve in the position.”