Vox‘s Guide to Making Informed GUSA Choices pt. 2

GUSA

Here’s part two of Vox‘s GUSA candidate surveys, featuring Village C West candidates Bruce Thomas (SFS ’13) and Taylor Wettach (SFS ’13), Harbin 2-5 candidate Colton Malkerson (COL ’13), Village B candidate Matthew Hoyt (COL ’12) and Off-Campus candidate Rahul Singh (SCS ’10).

Read their responses after the jump!

Village C West Candidates

There are five candidates—Ben Bold, Ricardo Garza, Tyler Sax, Bruce Thomas and Taylor Wettach—running for one seat.

Bruce Thomas (SFS ’13)

2 Why did you decide to run for GUSA this year?
I decided to run for GUSA this year because I’ve ran for student government office before in my high school and I had a great time, and I did a lot for my school. Another reason that I’m running for the Village C West district is because I love VCW, I think that it’s a great place, in which I’m lucky to live and would never trade for any other dorm on campus. I’ll also admit that one of my biggest heroes, former President William Jefferson Clinton (SFS ’68) was also a part of GUSA, and after I heard about that I wanted in as well.
3.  What would your three biggest goals be as a Senator and how do you plan to accomplish them?
One goal, which I’m planning to tackle will be the Meal Plan System. Right now I don’t like it all. I feel like the 14 meal plan is too little for a student, and a 24 meal plan is too much. I don’t see a middle ground. Either you forfeit your breakfast everyday, or you become a glutton. I think that there should be a middle path somewhere. Also down the line I have some plans for the Grab and Go System. The second goal would be to extend the Add/Drop deadline. I think that the Add/Drop deadline is way too early and students are not able to properly gauge how they’re going to fit in the class. Everyone knows that the first week of class is not representative of how the rest of the year will be, so is it fair that students get lured into a class they may not want to be in and then have to deal with the pain of withdrawing? I don’t believe that’s right. My last goal is very VCW oriented. I’ve visited all 16 floors several times campaign, so I feel like I know/ recognize a majority of the students in the dorm, but I couldn’t say confidently that other VCWers know each other that well. I think that there should be ways that people on the other floors can meet one another. I had a plan of creating an intra-dorm Tournament, where people can meet their fellow dorm mates and make new friends.
4.  What experience or character traits do you have that would make you a good Senator?
I’ve been a board member for clubs, and been a president of different clubs in my four years of high school. I have experience doing tasks and delegating them. I’m approachable, reliable and efficient. I’m never  complacent with the status quo, I always want to be able to get as much out of the system as I can for the benefit of the group.
5.  How would you evaluate GUSA’s past performance?  What would you like to maintain and what would you like to improve on?
I wasn’t around last year, I can’t truly comment on anything without knowing the full picture.
6.  Could you briefly (100 words or less for each) sum up your thoughts on the following issues:
—Reforming the Student Activities Commission (SAC) and the process for funding student groups (and would you be in favor of creating an independent GUSA Club Fund?).
It seems at least from the linked article that there’s a lot of confusion being created by this GUSA Club Fund, especially if it doesn’t seem to be working any different from SAC.  I don’t see how a “second resort fund” is absolutely necessary, but it seems like there’s some tension between SAC and GUSA that needs to be dealt with first, I also think that if the SAC is not doing its job correctly that GUSA should be able to take it over.
—Georgetown’s current alcohol policy (and, more broadly, the Student Code of Conduct in general).
The current alcohol policy seems to work, I’ve talked to students about it, and the general response is that it’s fair enough and is a lot better than other schools.
—The Student Commission for Unity, their recommendations, and their decision to break away from GUSA.
It seems too bad that the SCU split from GUSA, I feel like they could have done a lot of good together. Hopefully there could be talks between the two groups, some sort of reconciliation, but frankly I feel that if the SCU can do better without GUSA, then let them, whatever makes life better for  students is paramount to anything else.
—The current state of campus safety.
I feel safe on campus, but I get the emails like everyone else about the things that happen in our community and I want students to be safe. Luckily there’s that $500,000 grant that we received from the Department of Education, that’s really going to facilitate some change.

Bruce ThomasWhy did you decide to run for GUSA this year?

I decided to run for GUSA this year because I’ve ran for student government office before in my high school and I had a great time, and I did a lot for my school. Another reason that I’m running for the Village C West district is because I love VCW, I think that it’s a great place, in which I’m lucky to live and would never trade for any other dorm on campus. I’ll also admit that one of my biggest heroes, former President William Jefferson Clinton (SFS ’68) was also a part of GUSA, and after I heard about that I wanted in as well.

What would your three biggest goals be as a Senator and how do you plan to accomplish them?

One goal, which I’m planning to tackle will be the Meal Plan System. Right now I don’t like it all. I feel like the 14 meal plan is too little for a student, and a 24 meal plan is too much. I don’t see a middle ground. Either you forfeit your breakfast everyday, or you become a glutton. I think that there should be a middle path somewhere. Also down the line I have some plans for the Grab and Go System.

The second goal would be to extend the Add/Drop deadline. I think that the Add/Drop deadline is way too early and students are not able to properly gauge how they’re going to fit in the class. Everyone knows that the first week of class is not representative of how the rest of the year will be, so is it fair that students get lured into a class they may not want to be in and then have to deal with the pain of withdrawing? I don’t believe that’s right.

My last goal is very VCW oriented. I’ve visited all 16 floors several times campaign, so I feel like I know/ recognize a majority of the students in the dorm, but I couldn’t say confidently that other VCWers know each other that well. I think that there should be ways that people on the other floors can meet one another. I had a plan of creating an intra-dorm Tournament, where people can meet their fellow dorm mates and make new friends.

What experience or character traits do you have that would make you a good Senator?

I’ve been a board member for clubs, and been a president of different clubs in my four years of high school. I have experience doing tasks and delegating them. I’m approachable, reliable and efficient. I’m never  complacent with the status quo, I always want to be able to get as much out of the system as I can for the benefit of the group.

How would you evaluate GUSA’s past performance?  What would you like to maintain and what would you like to improve on?

I wasn’t around last year, I can’t truly comment on anything without knowing the full picture.

What are your thoughts on…

…Reforming the Student Activities Commission (SAC) and the process for funding student groups (and would you be in favor of creating an independent GUSA Club Fund)?

It seems at least from the linked article that there’s a lot of confusion being created by this GUSA Club Fund, especially if it doesn’t seem to be working any different from SAC.  I don’t see how a “second resort fund” is absolutely necessary, but it seems like there’s some tension between SAC and GUSA that needs to be dealt with first, I also think that if the SAC is not doing its job correctly that GUSA should be able to take it over.

…Georgetown’s current alcohol policy (and, more broadly, the Student Code of Conduct in general)?

The current alcohol policy seems to work, I’ve talked to students about it, and the general response is that it’s fair enough and is a lot better than other schools.

…The Student Commission for Unity, their recommendations, and their decision to break away from GUSA?

It seems too bad that the SCU split from GUSA, I feel like they could have done a lot of good together. Hopefully there could be talks between the two groups, some sort of reconciliation, but frankly I feel that if the SCU can do better without GUSA, then let them, whatever makes life better for  students is paramount to anything else.

…The current state of campus safety?

I feel safe on campus, but I get the emails like everyone else about the things that happen in our community and I want students to be safe. Luckily there’s that $500,000 grant that we received from the Department of Education, that’s really going to facilitate some change.

Taylor Wettach (SFS ’13)

Taylor WettachWhy did you decide to run for GUSA this year?

I’ve had a lot of experience with student government and grassroots activism before coming to Georgetown.  When I went to an informational meeting for the Senate I was interviewed by a representative from Vox Populi and found out about GUSA’s 20 percent approval rating.  At this point and with encouragement from my friends I decided to commit myself to improving this figure.

What would your three biggest goals be as a Senator and how do you plan to accomplish them?

  1. We need to provide WiFi for all at Georgetown.  VCDubs, where I reside, has terribly patchy WiFi.  If we had a dollar from every Georgetown student we could afford to fix this.
  2. We need to allocate more funds for GUTS busses, not only to the see the Hoyas play basketball but also for the weekends to help our students get out to take part in all the opportunities DC has to offer.
  3. We need to have a more open discussion of the alcohol policy at Georgetown between the student and administration, to promote safety and not fear.

What experience or character traits do you have that would make you a good Senator?

I take responsibility to make everything I’m involved in the best it can be, having served as president of my class, president of my student government, and leading in many academic and performance groups.  Besides leading in the student government, I formed a grassroots group that incorporated input/ action from the 1600+ members of my high school student body.  I’m known for my voice, having performed with many music groups and led a popular regional rock band- I plan on using my voice to speak up for VCDubs.

How would you evaluate GUSA’s past performance?  What would you like to maintain and what would you like to improve on?

The most recent GUSA survey of the student body states that only 20 percent approved of GUSA’s past programming, while 29 percent of last years Hoyas felt unrepresented by GUSA.  I need to make a thorough review of GUSA’s operations, but I think we’re moving in the right direction this year.  There will be stricter policies promoting senator attendance and involvement, and I’m looking forward to meeting with my district frequently to tell them what GUSA is doing for them, and for them to tell me what we need to do better.

What are your thoughts on…

…Reforming the Student Activities Commission (SAC) and the process for funding student groups (and would you be in favor of creating an independent GUSA Club Fund)?

Ideally, I believe SAC needs to be dependent on GUSA.  SAC needs increased oversight, and under GUSA, SAC would be monitored by students elected by their peers- more democratic governance is better governance.  If this is not feasible, I would be in favor of an independent GUSA Club Fund.

…Georgetown’s current alcohol policy (and, more broadly, the Student Code of Conduct in general)?

We need to focus more on the safety of students and less on disciplinarian tactics.  We are moving in the right direction with the anonymity of GERMS, but need more open dialogue with the administration and a stronger Saferides system.

…The Student Commission for Unity, their recommendations, and their decision to break away from GUSA?

I believe the Student Commission for Unity is doing vital work, and that we need to continue looking at diversity issues on campus.  Their recommendations should be taken into account by GUSA.

…The current state of campus safety?

Campus safety could be better, especially with the recent sexual assaults.  Increasing Saferides is a good start.

Harbin 2-5 Candidate

There is one candidate running to represent Harbin 2-5.

Colton Malkerson (COL ’13)

Why did you decide to run for GUSA this year?

I have always been interested in working to strengthen and improve my community. In high school I was active in student government and community involvement. Now that I am a Hoya I want to give Georgetown that same determination and attention.

What would your three biggest goals be as a Senator and how do you plan to accomplish them?

Presumably like every other GUSA senatorial candidate, getting wireless internet into the residence halls is a top priority. Students absolutely should have access to wireless provided by the school. At the very least it should not be against school policy to have a base station in the dorm room. If the school cannot provide wireless for the dorms, increased floor funds and other student budgeting options should be considered.

GUSA is the primary student group representing the interests of the students. Therefore, GUSA should be the leader of all student organizations. I would like to see GUSA work more closely with the Honor Council, Student Activities Commission, and each school’s academic council. This could be achieved through strengtheninn senate committees that deal with academic integrity, clubs, and academics.

In addition I would like to look at the meals policy here at Georgetown. Especially true for freshman, many students waste their money on unused swipes at the end of each week. There should at least be a grace period for freshman to change their meal plan while in the first few weeks of school so that they have time to get accustomed to the system.

What experience or character traits do you have that would make you a good Senator?

I was very active in student leadership in high school. I served on three student government organization bodies including Student Council (the primary student government group), UpDAC (the student discipine board), and the ISACS Committee (an advisory group to the school on matters of academics).

In each of my roles in student government I worked effectively for the student body and delivered on my promised results. These included reforming student government with the creation of a Student Leadership Constitution that gave more credibility and responsibility to student government. They also included giving the student body more of a voice in school policy decisions. These were hard things to achieve and demonstrate my ability to get things done.

Outside of school I have pursued work experiences that reflect my interest in government and politics. For 9 months I interned on Mike Ciresi’s U.S. Senate campaign. Ciresi was running against Al Franken for the Democratic Party’s endorsement. While our campaign did not win, it was an invaluable experience. In addition, I have interned for KARE-TV, Minnesota’s leading local news station. I also interned at Tunheim Partners, a Public Relations firm in Minneapolis.

How would you evaluate GUSA’s past performance?  What would you like to maintain and what would you like to improve on?

It is clear that GUSA’s past performance has been poor and this is reflected by the students’ known perception of GUSA. It is also shown by the freshmen’s total lack of knowledge about GUSA. This performance stems from lack of attention by GUSA senators and flaws in the concept of GU student government. I support the recent changes enacted by the GUSA senate, but we must go further yet. GUSA senate committees seem to have little reason for existence because so many other student organizations exist that fulfill the same role. If GUSA is to become an esteemed student government organization it must take greater responsibility over student life and activities. GUSA needs to actually make a noticeable impact.

What are your thoughts on…

…Reforming the Student Activities Commission (SAC) and the process for funding student groups (and would you be in favor of creating an independent GUSA Club Fund)?

The creation of a GUSA Club Fund makes sense if SAC cannot provide funding for mid-year events. This does pose the question of who is in charge of club funding. Funding for student events should come from one organization. Splitting funding with GUSA and SAC will lead to waste and inefficiency. The GUSA Club Fund can be a temporary fix while a better solution is found. This solution should be having GUSA responsible for funding all student events. Budgets for clubs and mid-year expenses should be allocated through the GUSA senate.

…Georgetown’s current alcohol policy (and, more broadly, the Student Code of Conduct in general)?

Alcohol policy is an issue that really doesn’t affect me as a freshman and one I could not make much of a difference on. As for the Student Code of Conduct in general I support academic and personal integrity for all students.

…The Student Commission for Unity, their recommendations, and their decision to break away from GUSA?

I think it is unfortunate that the SCUnity decided to break away from GUSA. I believe they could be more effective under the direction and support of GUSA. If elected, I would try to bring groups like SCUnity under the umbrella of GUSA.

…The current state of campus safety?

Campus safety is of real concern to me. The number one thing a school should ensure is the safety of its students – good learning environment demands it. The easiest way to deter crime is through increased visibility of security. I would like to see increased patrols in and around campus and a greater number of blue light systems. Students should also be closer to DOPS and feel comfortable with them around. Many students don’t want to see social events constrained by increased public safety, thus DOPS must be careful about providing safety for the student body without encroaching on our social activities.

Alumni Square Candidates

There are two candidates—Matthew Hoyt and Nick Macri—running for one seat.

Matthew Hoyt (COL ’12)

Matthew HoytWhy did you decide to run for GUSA this year?

I’m running for GUSA Senate to both represent Alumni Square and make a difference at Georgetown. Though, in recent times, GUSA has received a lot of bad press (for not representing the student body, among other things), I want to help right the ship. As a GUSA Senator, I think I can make simple, but important, changes that everyone agrees GUSA should work on (but isn’t).

Though GUSA isn’t a big deal, I’m willing to get involved and do the dirty work that helps things run smoothly.

What would your three biggest goals be as a Senator and how do you plan to accomplish them?

My three biggest goals, as a senator, would be well worth the effort made to improve each one:

  1. CAMPUS SAFETY:  I want to put a stop to the crime (and cuddler) alerts by adding more DPS on the streets and more, student driven safe rides
  2. DINING HALL:  When the Amarak contract expires, I want to make the occassional Leo’s meal worth the trip by negotiating higher quality food and the changes you want
  3. 3. GEORGETOWN BASKETBALL SHUTTLES:  I want to add direct shuttles, that way we can get to Verizon and watch the Beast of the Big East without an hour commute

By actively working with GUSA and School officials, I can work to implement all three of these major goals in a timely manner.

What experience or character traits do you have that would make you a good Senator?

I’m an outgoing guy who wants to improve OUR Georgetown experience. I’m always open and available to hear your opinions, and I’m willing to work hard to ensure your voice is heard. I’m flexible when working on important issues, but I’m also realistic about what can and can’t be done. As long as I think it’s possible, I’ll do whatever it takes to make the changes you want to see become a reality. Above all, I’m passionate about being a representative and I’m willing to make your vote worthwhile.

How would you evaluate GUSA’s past performance?  What would you like to maintain and what would you like to improve on?

In the past, GUSA has helped make some important changes on campus and in the community. Recently, though, GUSA has steadily become an irrelevant part of student life. I want to improve upon this decline by making GUSA more accessible and integrated in all campus activities.

Additionally, I want to increase GUSA’s social justice involvement and broaden GUSA’s perspective of who they’re working to support.

What are your thoughts on…

…Reforming the Student Activities Commission (SAC) and the process for funding student groups (and would you be in favor of creating an independent GUSA Club Fund)?

I support SAC, as a separate entity, as a means of preventing bias and indiscretion by GUSA representatives. However, I also believe SAC should be held accountable for the money it receives, and that GUSA has a right to audit SAC spending. I want GUSA to play a more direct role in advocating for Georgetown student groups (and helping all of us get increased funding).

…Georgetown’s current alcohol policy (and, more broadly, the Student Code of Conduct in general)?

I think Georgetown should do more to stick up for the rights of registered Party Hosts, who are often burdened with things out of their control. Rather than assuming that an otherwise responsible Party Host is at fault in all situations, I want to help reform Georgetown policy to reflect fair rules for Party Hosts. A registered Party Host shouldn’t be penalized for their party in most situations. Furthermore, I want to work to improve student representation in front of the Judiciary Council.

…The Student Commission for Unity, their recommendations, and their decision to break away from GUSA?

I think the Student Commission for Unity is best suited to operate separately from GUSA politics. Instead of falling under GUSA supervision, I believe the SCU can work alongside GUSA to offer effective solutions for diversity awareness on campus. Rather than both groups burdening each other with conflicting interests, SCU recommendations can be best addressed in a cooperative relationship.

…The current state of campus safety?

I think it’s a serious problem that Georgetown DPS and Saferides isn’t doing more to improve campus safety, especially considering the recent rash of crime reports. By increasing the number of available Saferides and strategically placing DPS officers on patrol in high risk areas, I think I can help make Georgetown a safer place.

Off-Campus Candidates

There are three candidates—Josh Mogil, Susie Movitz and Rahul Singh—running for three spots.

Rahul Singh (SCS ’10)

Rahul SinghWhy did you decide to run for GUSA this year?

I was a Senator last year and I was the first person from the School of Continuing Studies Undergraduate program to be elected. I felt that this section of the larger undergraduate studentry needed representation and I decided to run.

What would your three biggest goals be as a Senator and how do you plan to accomplish them?

  1. Find out the needs of off-campus students and see how to make the school environment better for us. I plan to send out a survey to all off-campus students with questions relating to transportation, food services, building hours, and parking to see if there are ways that the college experience can be made easier for us.
  2. Line item budget. There needs to be a way to pass our Senate budget every year on a case by case basis. I plan to amend the constitution and by laws to make our annual authorization and appropriation process more conducive to the students’ interests.
  3. Comprehensive document repository. I would also like to see that all documents and records associated with the Senate be published online for all of our students. I plan to place an item on the Senate’s budget to pay for professional services such as Google Docs, Central Desktop, or Box.net. Since we have a paid Secretary, it will be easier to institute a process for uploading weekly meeting minutes and official communiques to the internet for public consumption.

What experience or character traits do you have that would make you a good Senator?

Sociable. I love people and think that each person is a book that needs to be read. I don’t judge books by their cover.

Communicator. I love to speak and can communicate for others when they don’t feel they can do it themselves.

Courageous. In the face of adversity, I feel challenged, but without fear. I will do what is necessary and what I must to get the job done.

How would you evaluate GUSA’s past performance?  What would you like to maintain and what would you like to improve on?

The redistricting of senate seats should foster a better, more engaged participation of senators. The openGUSA project should continue to publish to the world using modern technologies, the proceedings of the Senate body. To get better feedback and requests from the studentry, senators should maintain better contact with who they are representing. Each senator operates differently and they should take proactive measures to find the needs and wants of their constituents to better serve them.

What are your thoughts on…

…Reforming the Student Activities Commission (SAC) and the process for funding student groups (and would you be in favor of creating an independent GUSA Club Fund)?

The current funding process is convoluted. It doesn’t make sense. To improve any large convoluted processes, it needs to be broken down, analyzed and prioritized for fixing. I don’t think unilateral measures are good when dealing with the fate of funding for thousands of students.

I have my issues with the funding process, but I know that the ideas that I have are better suited for discussion. I personally would like to see a line item budget authorization process.

…Georgetown’s current alcohol policy (and, more broadly, the Student Code of Conduct in general)?

I have no comment on the current alcohol policy because I live off-campus. I have reviewed the student code of conduct but don’t have an informed comment on this matter. I haven’t been in trouble with the school, nor do I know anyone who has. As far as I can see, the SOC is fine.

…The Student Commission for Unity, their recommendations, and their decision to break away from GUSA?

Independence and Interdependence can be beneficial and detrimental if not balanced. I think it was time for SCU to split from GUSA for their own good. I don’t believe in monolothic, bureucratic, and authoritatrian structures to get work done. History will judge whether or not this departure was good for the school or not.

…The current state of campus safety.

I walk to and from campus from West Georgetown to get to class. Campus police are fairly visible. The Citizen’s Association of Georgetown which I am a member of also hires a security company to patrol the streets. Over all I am not affected. Knowing that there have been attacks against students, I think that there is room for improvement.

One Comment on “Vox‘s Guide to Making Informed GUSA Choices pt. 2

  1. Are there ANY women running for GUSA? Has anyone looked into what the deal with the male domination in GUSA is, and why women are reluctant to run?

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