Student Association leaders added a community liaison position this semester to bridge the gap between the SA and other student organizations on campus.
Sophomore Daria Nastasia will step into the liaison role this semester to develop relations with student organizations through more communication and increased engagement at meetings. Nastasia said she will attend general body meetings hosted by other student groups, invite student organizations to SA Senate meetings and lead the Student Accountability Mechanism – an outside committee comprised of other student leaders who will advise the SA.
Nastasia said these initiatives will help restore trust with student organizations and ensure students feel more “comfortable” addressing their concerns with the SA.
“That that really is important, because really what this is for, is to essentially hear what the problems are because sometimes people are afraid to say these things,” Nastasia said.
Nastasia said student organizations will receive their own time to present their latest work to the SA during senate meetings. She said SA Vice President Kate Carpenter will attend student organizations’ general body meetings with her to check on ongoing events or initiatives.
Nastasia said the SA’s accountability committee will create a space for students to express concerns and voice their opinions on SA-related matters like legislation, executive orders or events.
“I also just hope that it’ll show other members in the SA that students do care about the SA, and they care about what we do,” Nastasia said. “And so therefore, holding our senators and holding the cabinet members accountable is how I see that working.”
Carpenter said the liaison position was created in May to ensure the SA is more accessible to student organizations who can raise any concerns about the body more easily. She said she appointed Nastasia because her application was “remarkable,” and she brought new ideas to Carpenter’s initial job description for the position.
Carpenter said Nastasia will oversee students’ applications to join the Student Accountability Mechanism, which will be open to all students and independent from the SA. She said the student accountability group won’t have a membership limit, and members will meet once or twice a month to discuss how to hold SA members accountable and ongoing work and initiatives within the SA.
“I wanted to make sure that we were investing in the community, making sure that we were accessible,” Carpenter said. “The best way to do that was to appoint somebody that had the interests in mind.
Carpenter said she and Nastasia will invite student organizations to deliver five-minute presentations with the latest updates at senate meetings.
“As much as we like to act like we’re in tune with the student body, there’s always going to be criticism, there’s always going to be positive feedback,” Carpenter said. “We want to make sure that we are taking everybody’s voices into account and making sure that we have heard everyone.”
Chris Johnson, the senate’s chief of staff, said SA leaders plan to keep the community liaison position for years to come, especially because students have been disconnected from each other during the last year because of remote learning. He said he will work with SA leaders to open the application for the Student Accountability Mechanism next week.
Johnson said he plans for the accountability committee to represent a diverse base of students and increase transparency between the SA and the GW community.
“The big goal is to make it long-term where we can still continue to have this role in future years to come because I think it’s really important that as student leaders, they hear the feedback from the students and what they want,” Johnson said. “As we saw last year, it’s very hard to reach people virtually. Now we’re all back.”