Meet your ANC candidate: Kendyl Clausen
Last week, Vox interviewed student Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E candidate Reed Howard (SFS ’17). This week, Vox interviewed the student running for the other seat reserved for students, Kendyl Clausen (SFS ’16).
Vox asked Clausen the same set of questions Howard was asked.
Before the interview transcript, it’s important to note that both Howard and Clausen are running write-in campaigns. That means that their names will not appear on the ballot but must be written in in order for them to be elected. Students who are registered to vote in D.C. should vote for Clausen if they live in the Southwest Quad, New South, or Village A. All other students living on Georgetown’s campus are in the other campus district and should vote for Howard.
Also, during this interview Clausen said that the next campus plan may be longer than 10 years and could be a 20-year agreement between the University and the local government.
Vox: What sparked your interest in the ANC?
Clausen: My freshman year, one of the RAs on my floor was a commissioner for the ANC, Craig Cassey [Jr. (COL ’15)], so I went to one of the meetings freshman year and was absolutely fascinated by it. That sounds really nerdy.
Vox: Well, I’m the one reporting on it.
Clausen: *Laughs* Yeah, it was just really interesting to see how the different politics involved with Georgetown play out. I’ve always been really intrigued by the micro level of politics. After that, I got more and more involved with RA’ing and getting involved in the neighborhood and seeing how Georgetown’s campus community has had a lot of issues in the past. And I’m really passionate about making it so that we don’t have those same issues. We have an amazing group of people on campus and an amazing community around us, and, for some reason, we’re always at odds. The neighborhoods tend to see Georgetown students in the worst light, and so ANC is an opportunity for them to see Georgetown students in a better light and for Georgetown students to be able to positively impact the next campus plan and all sorts of things that can improve our relationship with the community and give us a say in upcoming things on campus.
Vox: Do you attend ANC meetings regularly?
Clausen: Yeah, Reed and I have been going to them pretty regularly recently. We haven’t necessarily been going to the full meetings because they can last for four or five hours, but we do go to the meetings. We’re working with Craig and Denny [Dennis Quinn], he replaced Peter Prindiville [(SFS ’14)] last spring. They’ve been helping us a lot with campaigning, even though we’re technically unopposed.
We’ve been trying to work with the current commissioners to make it so that we can get as much influence on Georgetown students as possible so that it won’t be like starting from scratch.
Vox: Reed touched a little bit on the write-in campaign. Could you explain how that works?
Clausen: We can get on the ballot hypothetically. But you need 25 signatures during a month-long period to get on the ballot. But that month-long period is during the summer and the signatures have to be from people who have already registered to vote, which means nobody really has registered to vote but still lives in either of our districts and lived there during the summer. I think we found like seven people in all and they were all adults. So that’s the problem at hand.
The districts are each half of the campus, so, if somebody moved from New South to Henle, they are now in Reed’s district but registered on the wrong ballot. And then most people on campus don’t actually register to vote in D.C., unless they register to vote on election day, and hardly at all over the summer. So it was a little bit difficult to get enough signatures to actually get on the ballot, so we do have to run write-in campaigns. I don’t know of anyone else who’s expressed any interest in running so we should be good.
The main reason we’re running the campaigns at all and trying to get our name out have cover photo changing and events and actually campaign is because we’re trying to gain legitimacy for the actual office, so it’s more to make it so that people know that the office is there. And the second reason is so that students see that we take this seriously and that we care a lot about being on the ANC and it’s not just like “oh, who got stuck with it this year?”
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?
Clausen: One thing that’s interesting to note is that there’s a new system set up to help develop the next campus plan and that is through the Georgetown Community Partnership working groups. So technically on the ANC I’m more there as a voice for students to bridge gaps between the neighborhood and the students. There are certain things that come up that are relevant to students but I’m going to have more of an influence on the campus plan through meetings with the GCP working groups, which I’m already getting involved with.
So the GCP working groups are what’s going to make the biggest influence on the next campus plan, which is actually going to be a 20-year plan instead of a 10-year plan. That’s what they’re trying to do. That new system with the working groups is actually their new way of making it so that students have more of a voice in the process. But, besides that, we’re going to be trying to do as much as we can to have monthly either newsletters or forms or something where we can talk with students and directly get their input on what they want. And we can explain what’s been going on and what’s been discussed. This way it’s not just two students representing an entire campus. You’re actually having communication with the students on campus.
Vox: Do you have an idea of what specific issues you’d like to focus on during your term?
Clausen: I think the ANC is more of a position that goes on what issues come up at the time. Whether it’s like “how many streets need to be paved?” or issues like the campus plan, I would like to make sure that, with the next campus plan, there’s a lot more student involvement and student agreement. I know that the administration is really proud of the fact that we’re going to have so many people on campus because it creates a better, more vivacious campus community, but I would prefer that to be something that the students also would agree with.
I don’t know if I’d necessarily say that I don’t want anyone to be on campus or not to have those requirements, but I would like to get the students to have a lot more of a say and not feel so left out or left behind to where it’s too late to make a difference.
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?
Clausen: I don’t know if I can speak to specific situations that were not necessarily good for students. I know that one of the reasons I was at the first ANC meeting I went to was because Craig and I were working on the GU 26 Acts project after [the shooting in] Newton. They were doing a campaign for people to do 26 acts of kindness in honor of the 26 victims. There have been a lot of things like that where the Georgetown University community will do something, like a campus cleanup or something like that, and go to the ANC and show them what they’re doing. I really like that involvement with communication between the students and the community.
I think it was honestly already too late for them [Cassey and Prindiville] to make a difference in the campus plan when they were sitting on the ANC because it wasn’t like they could do much. I don’t think there’s anything I could say about what they could have improved upon, especially since they’re helping us so much in the transition. The only thing I think could be improved upon is creating even better relationships with the community and building on what they’ve already accomplished.
Vox: How did the level of commitment involved with this job play into your decision to accept it? For example, you can’t study abroad.
Clausen: I already was not planning on studying abroad because I want to be an RA for all my years here. The one snafu might be when I graduate, which is what happened to Peter, I would need to stay in D.C. for the summer or I would have to give up the position and someone else would have to come in later to the game. Reed is a year younger, so he won’t have that problem.
The meetings are just once a month. They go for a long time, and, obviously, there are other things we do throughout the month, but it’s not that much of a commitment to make such a big impact on our University’s future. We’re literally shaping what people are going to go through in 10, 15 years. It seems like, honestly, such a small time commitment for the amount of impact we can potentially have.
Photo: Kendyl Clausen