Every year, the editorial board endorses a candidate for Student Association president, a candidate for vice president and opinions on how students should vote on referenda. Out of a competitive field of candidates for SA president, the candidate who is best suited for the position combines experience, actionable plans and fresh ideas.
Students should vote for Hannah Edwards as their next SA president.
After meeting with all four candidates running for the position, the editorial board felt that Edwards has both the advocacy experience and plans necessary to lead the organization. While meeting with the editorial board, she laid out concrete steps to improve the culture of the SA, create a precedent for school spirit and community and advocate for increased diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. Edwards has a clear and fiscally conscientious vision for how to address these issues and demonstrated thorough research and experience that she can execute these plans.
This year has been a whirlwind year for the SA after sexual misconduct allegations against former SA President Howard Brookins and his subsequent resignation. Moving forward, the SA needs someone who is going to improve its transparency, culture and bylaws. To do this, many candidates focused on large sweeping reforms, the use of executive sessions in senate meetings and bylaw amendments. While Edwards did include many of these things, she also put an emphasis on little things that would make a big difference. Edwards proposed publishing monthly statements from the SA president detailing the SA’s progress in different advocacy efforts. This small action item would create a culture of accountability and transparency that has been lacking within the SA. Plus, it’s something that can happen on day one in office.
With two classes of students having never set foot on campus during their undergraduate experience, there is a lot of focus and opportunity for the SA president to work to change GW’s culture and spirit. Many candidates had innovative ideas for this, but what set Edwards apart was feasibility and principle. Edwards pointed to thorough research that all of the University’s peer institutions but GW had an SA Reopening Task Force of some kind. Proposing this new addition to the SA makes logical sense and would give students more of a seat at the table when officials continue to weigh reopening plans this fall.
Edwards also has a clear vision for bringing students and members of the D.C. community together. Edwards wants to approach bringing students onto campus as a fresh slate for school spirit and GW’s community through partnering with service organizations and GW’s athletics department. Edwards encourages participation in a Foggy 5k Run/Walk, which would support D.C. public schools, and a Hoops for Humanity event, which would support the homeless population. It is small, practical and fiscally feasible actions like this that are what set Edwards apart from the rest of the candidates.
While the majority of candidates focused on improving diversity and inclusion on campus through the hiring and admissions process, Edwards took a unique approach. She proposed a partnership with D.C. public schools, along with various specific conferences, dinners and programs that would create community on campus and create inclusive spaces. An example of these specific events would be to partner with interfaith and religious organizations on campus to create one large interfaith dinner and dialog series that would foster community and promote respect among communities on campus. The events are something that would take planning and time to execute but are much more realistic goals than using the SA’s pressure to influence administrative hiring decisions. Edwards has proven in the past that she has the ability to host this conference, having hosted the inaugural conference on LGBTQ health advocacy the previous year.
Aside from her platform points and demonstrated research, Edwards’ experience shows commitment and dedication to diversity and GW’s community. Edwards has shown her commitment to diversity and inclusion through her term as the former SA vice president for diversity and inclusion, and she serves as president of GW’s chapter of the NAACP. While Edwards does not have some of the more SA-focused experience that some of the candidates do, her demonstrated leadership is enough to garner our support for the top position of the SA.
Although we are endorsing Edwards, other candidates also impressed us. Brandon Hill, the current SA president and former executive vice president, brought experience and innovating thinking to the table. He impressed us with his experience and connections with administrators. Despite this, we still chose Edwards because many of Hill’s platform points seemed similar, if not the same, to points he ran on for executive vice president last year.
Charles Aborisade’s well conceived and fiscally-minded plans were impressive, and his ideas regarding disbursement of the Student Fund to student organizations was innovative and new. Christian Zidouemba impressed us with his emphasis on community on campus and his sheer passion for plans that he brought to the table, identifying issues and advocacy points for many things not on other candidates’ platforms.
Despite the positives on many of the candidates’ platforms, Edwards still came out on top because of her ability to identify workable solutions rather than large scale solutions that need more support from administration than they will probably get. We value her experience in diversity and inclusion, her fresh ideas and the new and workable solutions to large scale problems that she brings to the table.
The editorial board is composed of Hatchet staff members and operates separately from the newsroom. This year’s endorsements were written by opinions editor Hannah Thacker and contributing opinions editor Andrew Sugrue, based on discussions with managing director Kiran Hoeffner-Shah, managing editor Parth Kotak, sports editor Emily Maise, culture editor Anna Boone and design editor Olivia Columbus, and interviews with the candidates.