GUSA launches new website and it’s shiny
Yesterday, the Georgetown University Student Association announced the launch of its new website, which was a minor point of contention during the 2013 election. Vox took it upon herself to explore the website, because you know you weren’t really going to.
GUSA President Nate Tisa (SFS ’14) said, “One of the things we’ve committed to as an administration is being transparent and accessible. This website does that by being a one-stop shop for students looking to learn more about GUSA and get involved.”
At first glance, the website immediately looks sleek and well-organized—there is a Twitter ticker on the left-hand sidebar, and clearly labeled tabs at the top of the page. Of particular note is the tab for the Student Advocacy Office, ensuring that all students can easily access case submission forms.
As part of the site redesign, GUSA also has a new logo. No longer a mildly embellished version of the abbreviation “GUSA”, this logo is now an incredibly embellished version of the abbreviation GUSA. It has an eagle holding the Georgetown motto “Utraque Unum” in its majestic beak.
Although the website has many new useful features, including a General Resources page, a few minor details remain a work in progress.
For instance, there is currently no Senate legislation readily available on the website. “The website will help improve institutional memory and make our history accessible, so future generations of students will know where we came from as they decide where we’re going,” Tisa said. Without a record of legislation of past sessions, however, there is very little hope for institutional memory. To address this issue, Coordinator for Special Events Thomas De Bow (COL ’15) said, “The Senate will transfer its Box.com account files to the website as far back as possible, and then utilize the website from now on, on a weekly basis.”
There is also the issue of accessibility. Lydia Brown (COL ’15), GUSA’s Undersecretary for Disability Affairs said in an email to Vox, “For an organization that must represent and advocate on behalf of the student body, it would be a poor and harmful statement about which types of people are valued for the GUSA official website to be accessible only to some people rather than to all.” She is working on a number of disability-friendly options on the website, including options for contrast settings, large text, visual descriptions of images, audio transcripts and subtitles of audio and video material.
Finally, under the SAO tab, where there are meant to be pamphlets to inform students of their rights in the case of an investigation into student conduct violation, it still says “coming soon”—it might just be premature extrapolation, but Vox thinks that might be important to have for the first week of freshman year.
Tisa emphasized the importance of the timing of the website relaunch. “We hope to tap into interest from incoming freshmen, many of whom may have participated in student government in high school. Even if they don’t choose to get involved right away, they’ll be able to learn more about what GUSA does and what are the big issues students at Georgetown are concerned about and working on,” he said.
Vox eagerly awaits the full form of the GUSA website as the school year approaches—there seems to be potential for it to be a hub of useful resources for students. In the meantime, she’ll worry about whether the new GUSA logo means she’ll have to change the elegant GUSA Round-up header currently in place.