Vox GUSA election questionnaire: John Morris-Lauren Weber
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 John Morris and Lauren Weber.
Why are you qualified to the GUSA President and Vice President?
We feel like we are in a unique position as a ticket. John has the most Executive Branch experience in the field this year, having spent his entire Georgetown career in the GUSA Executive, as a member of the Outreach team, as Co-Director of Executive Outreach, and currently, as a Deputy Chief of Staff. He knows how to do things and how not to do things in the GUSA Exec. Strides have been made in all departments to which John was the primary contact point: Student Safety, Student Advocacy Office, Sustainability, and Neighborhood Relations. With the SAO, in particular, John traveled to American University twice, met with the Office of Student Conduct, and worked with Ace Factor and James Pickens in selecting the advocates that currently run the SAO.
The other half of our unique position is Lauren’s work outside of GUSA. Though interested in GUSA from the beginning of her freshman year, Lauren has never been directly involved. Ironically, despite this lack of experience, John thinks that the case can be easily made that Lauren knows more about the Georgetown University campus than any other undergraduate. Whether it was being a beat writer early on in her freshman year, rising through the many levels of The Hoya as Campus News Editor, or during her time as Executive Editor, Lauren was exposed to just about everything on Georgetown’s campus. She will be an incredible asset for GUSA, much like she is already an incredible asset for Georgetown.
That’s why we’re qualified: our “Inside-Outside” experience is unmatched. Both of us, more than anything, want to ‘bring GUSA to the students’; who better to do so than the team with the most Executive experience and the most experience voicing the opinions and concerns of the Student Body that GUSA was created to respond to and to represent.
What are your top three goals that you hope to achieve as the GUSA Executives?
One of our main goals is to strengthen the Student Advocacy Office. Right now, the SAO’s track is to be a resource for students who have allegedly violated the Student Code of Conduct and educate them about their rights. In our vision, not only will the SAO perform these tasks, but it will become a hub for students to learn more about the administration, the bureaucracy, and the red tape at Georgetown.
Another main goal is instituting a GUSA Student Lecture Fellows program that will allow students to pursue a passion that they may not be able to study in the classroom. Additionally, students will be paired with a faculty mentor, whom they will meet with on a regular basis, to foster an intellectual and personal, long-lasting relationship.
Finally, we hope to improve the relations with the neighbors. They’re not going anywhere, and neither are we. It’s time that GUSA took the lead, through programs like GU Samaritans, and reached out to the neighbors. If we show them the kinds of projects that we work on, the passions that we hold dear, and our love for this place, we can unite the campus and the neighborhood.
What do you believe GUSA’s role should be in interacting with the administration?
GUSA’s job is to make sure that the students’ voices are heard. From setting up meetings to advocating for new policy, GUSA should constantly be on the lookout for ways to make some headway in the topics students care about while constantly working to improve administrative relations. We plan to advocate for open coffee hours for all students with top administrators each month, as well as maximize our current network of administrative contacts to set up productive conversations that will have real results.
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 have done an excellent job of building upon the successes of GUSA in the past, while setting up the next executive to be able to reach a whole new level of student participation in student government. We would like to capitalize on that momentum by reaching out to student group leaders, going out to the students, so that the general student body knows what GUSA does and can do for you. We believe that improvements can always be made though, and we plan on using what John has seen in the Executive, as well as input from Mike and Greg, to improve GUSA in any way necessary.
Do you believe that student groups are people? (inspired by Mitt Romney)
Student groups make up the fabric of Georgetown. They make this place tick, whether you are involved in an a cappella performance or planning Run for Rigby. And they couldn’t do it without their people.