Vox invited each ticket to respond to five questions about their campaigns to be the next leaders of the GUSA Executive. They will be posted without editing or comment. Below is the response of Clara Gustafson and Vail Kohnert-Yount.
Why are you qualified to be the GUSA President and Vice President?
We are the most experienced, committed, and energetic team to serve Georgetown as the president and vice president of the Georgetown University Student Association. Clara has three years of experience in the GUSA Senate and co-founded the Social Innovation and Public Service (SIPS) Fund, and Vail served as the president of one of the largest and most active student groups on campus and has been a leader at the Center for Social Justice and in many other student groups. With our combined experience both inside and outside of GUSA, we know how things work and how to get things done.
What are your top three goals that you hope to achieve as the GUSA Executives?
The first sentence of the Georgetown University mission statement reads: “Georgetown is a Catholic and Jesuit student-centered research university.” In line with the university’s mission, we hope to achieve the following three goals:
1) We will strengthen Georgetown’s commitment to our Jesuit values of cura personalis, community in diversity, and being men and women for others by supporting and advocating for more and better space for arts and athletics, holding the first ever GUSA Unity and Diversity Summit, and advocating for more staff and funding for the Center for Social Justice.
2) We will hold the university accountable to representing students’ interests by ensuring students have a seat at the table in all decisions that affect us, especially the redesign of the Leavey Center, making professor and course evaluations more accessible, and creating a single centralized space booking system online.
3) We will reinvigorate academic and intellectual life at Georgetown through strengthening our university’s commitment to research and inquiry. We will sponsor the first annual university-wide undergraduate research symposium, advocate for the proposed Undergraduate Institute for Research and Inquiry, and actively participate in the selection of a new provost.
What do you believe GUSA’s role should be in interacting with the administration?
GUSA is the advocacy organization for the student body to the administration. We will take our role as your advocates seriously and make sure that students have a seat at the table in all decisions that affect us, from selecting a new provost to redesigning the Leavey Center to reforming the student code of conduct. We know how power works at Georgetown, and we will mobilize students to show their support for things that matter to us, like having a student-run pub on campus..
How would you characterize President Meaney’s and Vice President Laverriere’s time in office? If elected what do you plan to do the same/differently?
Mike and Greg made great strides in transforming GUSA from a closed and often opaque entity into an open and inclusive institution. We want to continue their work and make GUSA not only open but proactive. We will not only hold office hours so that students can come to us with their questions, comments, and concerns, but we will reach out to all corners and communities of campus.
Our commitment to outreach is embodied in our platform, which we built with the input of dozens of students that represented a diverse range of Georgetown experiences. This is why our platform is the most ambitious, realistic, and representative of students’ needs.
Do you believe that student groups are people? (inspired by Mitt Romney)
Student groups are people, my friends. Some of my best friends are student groups!