Chief Justice Devin Eager swore in newly elected Student Association President Arielle Geismar and Vice President Demetrius Apostolis in an inauguration ceremony Friday.
More than 40 people attended the leaders’ inaugural addresses, where Geismar set forth plans to create a mental health task force and GWHub, a “one-stop shop” app where all of the online resources the University offers will be compiled into a singular app. Apostolis said in his address that he will work to expand U-Pass to include part-time graduate students and reform the academic advising system so students don’t have to wait “months” to meet with an adviser.
Geismar said in her address she plans to author an “annual accessibility report” to highlight policy solutions, including recommendations on how to address food insecurity after Whole Foods stops accepting GWorld as a method of payment in June. She said she is excited to support the new District House market — which will open after Crisp closed in late April — to combat food insecurity on campus and partner with the Shenkman Hall Teaching Kitchen, where students can learn how to cook from trained chefs.
She also said she will support women’s and gender-diverse health in the Student Health Center by “uplifting resources” and pushing the University to hire more diverse health professionals. Geismar said, like other students, she previously had skepticism about the SA being a “true vehicle of change” but realized she had the potential to create “meaningful change” and make a “lasting impact” as president.
“As a leader on campus, it’s my responsibility to have doubt in the status quo in the way that things have always been around here,” Geismar said. “It’s one of the things I’m most excited to bring to the GW Student Association.”
Apostolis said in his address that he plans to improve and broaden the impact of the policies he created this year as senate chairperson pro tempore, like encouraging University administration to create a grocery store that accepts meal swipes.
Apostolis, who said he was the youngest senate chairperson pro tempore, said his time in the senate has taught him how to move past drama and infighting to better advocate for students that elected him.
“I know how the senate functions,” Apostolis said. “I know how legislation works. I know how senators function. Being able to be on the ground experiencing that has set me up so that I can hit the ground running tomorrow.”
Apostolis said he is looking forward to sitting down with students and senators so he can build a cabinet that can fulfill the needs of students.
Outgoing SA President Christian Zidouemba said the incoming leaders must remember that being a student body official requires representing 27,000 students with different backgrounds, all of whom look to the SA to solve their problems.
“A reminder is to put into consideration and to remember that we have different constituencies across the University, each with different needs,” Zidouemba said in an interview. “But, as long as you try to be in student organizations and listen to the student needs and our campus, that’s the most important thing overall.”
This article appeared in the May 1, 2023 issue of the Hatchet.