Vox‘s Voting Guide: GUSA Candidates for Southwest Quad
Today, Vox will complete the series of blurbs on students running for GUSA Senate. Yesterday we ran candidates from Village A, here we have the seven candidates for the Southwest Quadrangle: Sam Greco, James Gadea, Michael Mezzino, Jemm Dela Cruz, Nolan Diconti, and Jack Manning. Max Malec could not be reached for an interview.
Sam Greco is a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service, thinking of majoring in International Politics. He previously served in GUSA for half a year as a Senator-At-Large. He is running for reelection because he believes GUSA has an important role to play in serving as a check on the administration.
“Whenever I talk to students I hear the same thing, the administration will put their other pursuits over the undergraduates and that couldn’t be a bigger problem in my opinion.” Greco said. “So I’m running to make sure the university considers the students as their top concern in any decision they make.”
On Grecos’ agenda is passing the Student Code of Conduct reform and reforming Leo’s. Reforming Leo’s was something Greco worked on previously during his term in GUSA. “The university has a large amount of influence they can put on ARAMARK that they’re not doing at the moment, and we need to get on them to make those changes.”
Greco points to his experience in GUSA and SFS academic council as an asset which will allow him to hit the ground running. “I know the ropes, I know who you have to talk to to get things done. There’s no learning period with me.”
He feels his biggest accomplishments in GUSA include supporting the Code of Conduct reform and fighting to eliminate the sophomore meal plan requirements. “That’s just an example of a time I was really fighting for something that would benefit students and although we were up against the administration I’m not done fighting.”
James Gadea is a freshman in the SFS, thinking of majoring in International History. He lives on the Culture and Performance Living Learning Community in Reynolds.
Gadea places a strong emphasis on environmental impact and creating a green future for Georgetown. “I want to start an environmental program.” Gadea said. “[It] would plant a lot of trees and do some landscaping for the University, so that in 20 years or so, there would be a lot more trees on campus and make our campus a lot more greener.”
Gadea feels that around campus there are very few trees, which can have huge a large positive environmental impact. Getting this project off the ground would be among Gadea’s first priorities, “working with the administration, seeing if we can get some funding to do some planting. Planting trees is a relatively low cost investment and it has a high pay off because in 20 years the campus would be significantly nicer.”
Gadea would like to plant these trees in the different grassy areas around campus. In high school Gadea researched the impact trees could have on lead in the soil, which started his interested in environmental causes. “I know the university is trying to go greener, so I think this would go well with what they’re already working on.” Gadea acknowledges his project is looking for a long term payoff and as much as he wants to make current students happy, he also wants “to put my concerns to the use of future generations as well.”
Michael Mezzino (MSB, ’15): The Five Meal Plan
Michael Mezzino is a sophomore in the McDonough School of Business, leaning towards majoring in International Business. Mezzino’s main issue is working on improving quality at Leo’s. “Leo’s would be my one main thing,” Mezzino said. Mezzino would like to see students having more input in the decisions being made. “I don’t think anyone is happy with what they’ve done with the pasta line,” Mezzino said. “What they’ve done with the stir-fry station, with the fact they’ve gotten rid of make-your-own pizza.”
The efforts Leo’s is making to appease students have not gone far enough in Mezzino’s opinion. “Its seems as though this year they are trying a lot of ‘cost cutting techniques’ and those are coming at the expense of students and what they enjoy eating.”
He also sees a lack of other dining options on campus. “We’re kind of coerced into purchasing these certain set packages of meals.” One solution Mezzino sees is offering a five meal plan. Mezzino points to his work with The Corp, where he works in the accounting office, but also in many of the storefronts, as an example of how he has a lot of experience both “working with students and serving students.”
Jemm Dela Cruz is a freshman in SFS, looking to major in Science, Technology and International Affairs. Dela Cruz lives in the Justice and Diversity in Action Living Learning Community in McCarthy. “I want to make a serious difference on campus,” Dela Cruz said. “Student government has always been a big deal in my life.” In high school, Dela Cruz was her class president and in that role worked to improve the lives of students.
One of Dela Cruz’s major accomplishments from her involvement with student government was creating more school spirit. “Like Georgetown, our basketball team was the big sport, and football wasn’t as great.” Dela Cruz said. “My freshman year we started an annual tailgate, which boosted school spirit and more people went to the games.”
Dela Cruz has several priorities if elected. “I know the big deal is Leo’s and I want to get past the health code problems and I want better late-night.” Another issue Dela Cruz wants to “poke” the administration about is a lack of outlets in Regents. “The other thing is more study spaces, because just last weekend all of Lau and MSB, and Regents was full,” Dela Cruz said. “I thought it would be cool if Healy was open for people to just go and study in the rooms.”
Although only a freshman running in a predominantly sophomore dorm, Dela Cruz feels that “it’s not like high school where freshmen are just underdogs, but in college we have the perspective that everyone brings something to the table.”
Nolan Diconti is a sophomore in the College, thinking of double majoring in History and Government, with a potential minor in French. Diconti feels that there are many things that need adjusting around campus, but also wants to use his potential role in GUSA to foster a relationship between the students. “I think students want to have that relationship.” Diconti said. “[They want to know] there are students out there who are fighting for initiatives to benefit them and better their Hoya life.”
A D.C. native, with parents who are employed by the university, Diconti says he has been a Hoya his whole life. “This was my dream school.”
First on Diconti’s agenda is the Student Code of Conduct reform. “I think everyone is going to be voting yes… it just seems like the most fair discretionary process.” Another area of concern for Diconti is the weekend GUTS schedule. “It’s a little absurd how we have it throughout the week, but we don’t have it on the weekend.” Diconti said. “The weekend is when D.C. is our playground. That’s our motto, ‘D.C.’s our playground’, yet we have limited access to it.” Along with the reforms and adding GUTS runs, Diconti wants to address issues of field space for clubs. Diconti above all “wants to help everyone” and wants everyone to feel they can come in and talk to him. “That’s the point, for me to serve them.”
Jack Manning (COL ’15): Time To Take Initiative
Jack Manning is a sophomore in the College, planning to major in Government. Manning’s main focus is on reforming Leo’s. His friends and other students have been complaining a lot, and “if they’re complaining about it, I think I need to do something about it.”
Last year, Manning worked on the GUSA Executive Committee, under former GUSA President Mike Meaney and Vice President Greg Laverriere. “I don’t have many ideas beyond Leo’s, but over the course of the year things happen and I can bring ideas to the table.”
The executive committee met every other week and served as a think tank of sorts for the GUSA executive as different issues arose over the course of the year. Manning admits he is not sure how the Senate works, but hopes he can move quickly on Leo’s reform. “I know a bunch of Senators are running on the same thing, so I’m hoping if elected we can get something to work in terms of reform.” Manning said.
Manning believes his time on the executive committee helps to distinguish him from other the candidates. “Not many have worked on that other side… and being put under the pressure of getting ideas for them every two weeks, keeps it fresh.” Manning said. “Let’s not just worry about one issue, but if something happens, let’s take initiative.”
Max Malec is also running in the SWQ but did not respond to interview requests.