Meet your ANC candidate: Reed Howard

Reed VoxIn the elections this November, Georgetown’s voters will be able to select new local representatives for the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E. Two ANC chairs are reserved for student representatives, and two candidates have stepped forward to represent Georgetown: Reed Howard (SFS ’17) and Kendyl Clausen (SFS ’16).

Howard was interviewed first. An interview with Clausen will follow later.

Voice Features Editor Caitriona Pagni interviewed Howard. Here is the full transcript.

Vox: What sparked your interest in the ANC?

Howard: The ANC is a really interesting institution because of its hyper-local nature. It’s so unique to D.C. And one of the reasons that I primarily got involved is my interest in issues in the D.C. community. Specifically, the ability to interact with neighbors on things that they’re concerned about. At the last ANC meeting that I went to, there was a mother who was really upset about the progress of construction at an elementary school in the area. And being able to work with parents and community members on issues that are important to their livelihood is something that I’m interested in.

The other thing, obviously, is the campus plan, on which the ANC is given considerable weight in their advice. And we’re seeing now how the construction is affecting student life. To be able to be a part of that planning process with the ANC is something that is rewarding and is something that excites me.

Vox: Do you attend ANC meetings regularly?

Howard: I have attended the ones this year and the ones toward the end of last year just to get a taste for what the position would be. I wanted to make sure that it would be something that I would be able to do well. I got a good picture of what that life would look like.

Vox: In my freshman year I actually profiled the last set of student ANC commissioners, so I profiled Craig [Cassey Jr. (COL ’15)] and Peter [Prindiville (SFS ’14)]. If I remember correctly, the position is a two-year commitment and you can’t study abroad? Can you talk about if that was a factor for you?

Howard: It was a hard decision because I am really interested in China and I wanted to study abroad there. But there are a couple things that have drawn me to the possibility to study abroad during shorter time periods. But, ultimately, weighing the pros and cons, I decided that the ability to get involved on the ANC was worth postponing or foregoing my study abroad experience.

Vox: The ANC is not really well-liked by the student body, mainly because of what’s happened with the campus plan. How do you plan to advocate for the students that you’re representing during your term?

Howard: I think we saw last year that relations are beginning to improve. The ANC really does get excited when students are involved in the process. And that’s the thing, that the representatives that we choose to serve these two districts that run through Georgetown University on the ANC can do a lot to build bridges between members of the ANC and the student body. And I think that we need to do a better job on reporting and getting the word out about how students can get involved. There are a lot of students who are involved with book reading groups in the community and neighborhood trash cleanups with community members. And they really appreciate it when they can interact with Georgetown students on authentic levels. I’m really optimistic about the relationship between the student body and the ANC moving forward.

Vox: Do you have an idea of what specific issues you’d like to focus on during your term?

Howard: Yeah, there are so many things that come before the ANC, and a lot of it doesn’t necessarily relate to the day-to-day student experience of Hoyas. But the campus plan is something that is going to be one of my first priority. Making sure that students have the voice that they deserve as residents in this community, and that we’re fairly represented.

The second issue that I care about is education. We see that Georgetown students are very invested in D.C. public schools. We have D.C. Schools, we have incredible tutoring opportunities in the District, and to be able to work, in whatever capacity comes before the ANC, on those issues is something that, personally, I’m excited about. But my main focus is making sure that we’re fairly represented during this next campus planning process, which will come before the ANC during this next term for whoever is elected.

Vox: Can you give me your thoughts on how the past two years went in terms of what was good for students and what were the things that could have been done better?

Howard: I think what was done well was we realized how important it is to have the students behind each stage of the process. We realized what can happen when students are not involved and they feel that they have not been properly engaged in talks and negotiations. Now we’re realizing that, whether it’s through the Georgetown Community Partnership—the talks on the campus plan need to have students involved.

Kendyl [Clausen], the girl who’s running for the other ANC district, and I met with [VP for Community Engagement and Strategic Initiatives] Lauralyn Lee and they told us that they want as much student engagement and as much student input on the negotiations as possible. What we’re going to do is hold them to that commitment and increase the transparency of their office so students know how they can get involved. And so it’s not students come to whatever negotiation it is saying “we want to hear our voices,” but instead it’s that whoever those parties are are going out to students and saying that they want to hear from them.

Vox: Going back for a bit, how did you even find out that there was an ANC student position? Like you said, most students probably aren’t even aware of what the ANC is.

Howard: There were a couple of things that made me aware of it. First is I know Craig [Cassey] and he told me about the ANC and the value that it has for student life at Georgetown and how important it is for the student experience. The other thing was getting involved in the GUSA campaigns. Last year, I got more and more exposed to the anger over the campus plan and how that process excluded students. I wasn’t even at Georgetown when the last campus plan was pushed through, but the ANC kept coming up. I read articles in The Hoya and the Voice and from sources beyond the campus media and that’s how I found out about the ANC.

Vox: Those are the prepared questions. Is there anything you’d like to add?

Howard: The one thing I think is going to be different this year than it has been in the past is that Kendyl and I are very committed to representing the Georgetown student voice in a way that builds bridges with the community members. And I think that the plans that we’ve been making to get more student engagement and the way that we plan to approach the ANC is hopefully going to smooth over relations between the students and the neighbors. And in the next two years, when we leave office, hopefully there will be a new era of relations between students and neighbors. One that is very warm, very friendly. We have this idea that we’re both living and learning in the same space together.

Another thing is that we can present a unified front for the student interest. Kendyl and I are really committed to working together. We already have a strong working relationship and I think that’s really going to help us be the best advocates we can be for students because we’re going to be on the same page. We may or may not agree on all of the small issues, but on the large issues like the importance of the student voice, the importance of making sure that the University is putting our interests first before they appease the neighbors. Those are all issues that we are committed to together.

I think that it is an exciting time and we’re going to be looking for a lot of student input. We’ll be tabling. We’ll be hosting town halls. We’re going to do as much as we can—and this is after we’re elected—so, if we’re elected, we’ve committed to tabling, doing those town halls, and having office hours so we can get as much student engagement as possible.

Photo: Matt Naslonski

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