I’m Clara Gustafson, and I’m president of the Georgetown University Student Association (GUSA). GUSA’s mission is to advocate for the undergraduate student body to the Georgetown University administration and positively work with other organizations and bodies within and without of the University to improve the student experience. With the new Campus Plan Agreement, there is a new body—as I’m sure you have heard—called Georgetown Community Partnership (GCP). I am very excited to hold a position on the Steering Committee of the GCP. It is important that all members of our community are considered legitimate members of our Georgetown neighborhood.
The GCP holds a lot of promise for information sharing and discussions about how best to make our community a better place for all. I hope that neighbors, administrators and students will be able to interact in new, productive and collaborative ways through this body so that we will all be able to have more informed, empathetic and thoughtful discussions about issues affecting all of us.
Some work that GUSA is doing this year is streamlining the Student Code of Conduct process, improving and centralizing sustainability initiatives at Georgetown University, and working to accomplish the goal—as stated by the 2012 Campus Plan agreement—of making Main Campus a hub for vibrant student life.
Since vice president Vail Kohnert-Yount and I have been in office since April, we have heard many students express deep frustrations with the student conduct processes. In general, the system appears unpredictable and opaque, and few students view their interactions with the Office of Student Conduct as a learning experience. As a university, Georgetown strives to have all its processes be as educational as possible for its students. Further, as representatives of the students of Georgetown, we hope that we can help push for a more open, efficient, and educational experience for all students interacting with the Office of Student Conduct.
Many of us have also worked tirelessly to improve Georgetown University’s footprint and increase awareness of sustainability throughout our community. President John DeGioia, along with other DC universities, made a commitment to our city called the CUSP Pledge, which promised that we would move forward and take a real look at our commitment to sustainability as a university community. One initiative that GUSA has scheduled is a garbage and recycling audit, which took place on October 27. These types of data gathering initiatives are necessary to figure out how we can improve our footprint.
GUSA has taken on these types of sustainability initiatives, because there is such student interest in this issue. We are also hoping that we will be able to start the process for creating a centralized administrative approach and support system for sustainability initiatives. A centralized way to support sustainability is crucial for our continued leadership as a university in this area.
Vail and I, our staff, cabinet, and the GUSA Senate are all elected to serve the student body and advocate in any and all realms to improve the student experience. We are looking forward to a productive academic year in many ways, but one focus, as stated, will be improving neighbor-student relations in short and long term ways.