SPOTLIGHT: Project Lighthouse


This week for Heard on the Hilltop, we interviewed the head of Project Lighthouse, senior Ben Johnson, about the work that they have begun this past year to improve Georgetown’s mental health.

What is Project Lighthouse and how does it work?

Started last spring, Project Lighthouse has a website where you can anonymously log in from 7pm to 1am, 7 days a week with the exception of holidays. You chat in anonymously and confidentially with a Project Lighthouse peer supporter. They have no idea who you are, and you have no idea who they are. The goal for you to have a listener to bounce ideas off of. We encourage our Peer Supporters to stray away from saying “I understand.” People’s struggles are personal.

Peer Supporter training lasts for one semester, with three hours every Saturday. Each Saturday session features a skill and a topic, for example, depression and unconditional positive regard. There is an hour of lecture with a speaker, from the head of CAPS to a professor for Abnormal Psychology. They share the best practices, experiences of what it is like to actually treat these conditions. The second hour involves skills practice: we talk about how to talk to people and workshop helpful phrases to use in chat. The third hour involves a simulated chat, where Peer Supporters can experience the give and take of real conversation. Topics range from suicide to eating disorders to academic stress and social isolation. By the end of the semester, Peer Supports are ready to get online to chat.

Every night, Peer Supporters gather in an undisclosed location. There are two shifts, early and late of three hours each. When not chatting, Peer Supporters are free to work on homework. They chat as long as you need them to. Peer Supporters have a scheduling system, stating their ability the week before. Project Lighthouse has a budget through SAC and is currently in the New Club Development process.

How did Project Lighthouse get started?

Project Lighthouse had been in the works for a while, but the formation of the GUSA Mental Health Committee under the Rohan/Luther administration was certainly a turning point. It was the first time that this sort of committee had existed, and we wanted to create some sort of listening approach. Georgetown has counseling resources, but there are problems with accessibility, cost, stigma, and information. The aim of Project Lighthouse is to address these four issues. People are weary about spending money, worry about the stigma around going to see CAPS, can’t find time in a 9 to 5 schedule, and want to remain anonymous. Project Lighthouse seemed like the most obvious solution. It was never intended to be a be-all-end-all solution, but we can provide support on a campus like Georgetown, with a busy culture that can often leave students feeling lonely. You don’t really expect to see your friends around finals when you feel the most stress, and it’s nice having someone to connect to and listen to. Getting your rant out can be very therapeutic. We push other resources on campus, most often Health Education Services (HES), which is completely free administrative office that provides health outreach as well as free and confidential counseling for specific issue areas, such as substance abuse and sexual assault.

What kind of problems do you see?

It can really be anything. While we may not have the training or information to work with everything, we can refer you to someone who can. I tell people that some people have mental illness, but everyone has mental health. Project Lighthouse is here for anyone who wants to use it. 50% of chats touch on social concerns, and academic concerns are mentioned in nearly 90% of chats. Many students are comfortable complaining to their friends, but they may not reveal that they truly are worried about or struggling with something academically. A lot of students are terrified of letting down their parents.

Most of our chats last between 35-40 minutes, but there is no obligation for the chats to be that long or that short — we have talked to people from fifteen minutes to two and a half hours. It’s at the chatter’s discretion.

What would you tell someone who is hesitant to use Project Lighthouse?

You can’t knock it ’til you try it! People that hesitant to reach out probably don’t want to try anything. We have really good people — it’s your nicest friends that are the kind of people who join Project Lighthouse. You may not know them personally, but they are the ones their friends turn to when they are in trouble. Having this resource on campus is huge, and it’s OK to chat in with minor things — you aren’t wasting our time. Once, someone chatted in later into the year asking about how to use the GUTS bus because they were embarrassed they still didn’t know. Later in that same conversation, they asked more about CAPS and other mental health resources on campus. It’s a small deal, but it can be the first step to changing a situation that is bothering you. Project Lighthouse is the least committal step, but it is a step if you already know there’s a situation in your life that you would like to change. You can close out of a chat at any time.

How would someone get involved in Project Lighthouse?

Check us out at CAB fair, since that is where we do most of our recruiting. We hold the training classes every semester. There is not an interview process, and we aren’t super selective because the training itself is pretty self-selecting. It’s not easy to be a peer supporter — it’s a heavy time and emotional commitment. We take everyone who signs up for the training and keeps coming every week.

How did you personally get involved?

I have been on GERMS since my freshman year. I noticed that Georgetown is a pretty healthy campus — people work out, eat pretty well, and are young. Because of that, riding on the GERMS ambulance is not necessarily exciting. However, the serious things you see are often mental health issues — panic attacks, stress issues, and even suicide attempts. These were the most serious things, the things that kept me up at night.

My sophomore year, we got a call about a suicide attempt and talked the student into coming to the hospital with them. EMTs should not have to handle mental health issues. It shouldn’t reach an emergency situation. It’s a situation no one wants to get into. So I asked myself, how can I bring change to this community? It’s Georgetown, so I started a student group. The community culture causes the stress, so it’s up to the community to change that and protect its members. That’s where the idea for Project Lighthouse came from. Someone has to step in to help the Georgetown community before crises happen. Who better than the Georgetown community itself?

Visit to chat in.

RECAP: Hoya Roundtable on Smoking


On October 24th, GUSA hosted a smoke free roundtable to discuss the possibility of transitioning Georgetown to a tobacco free campus. Over sixty students attended and enjoyed the nacho bar provided by GUSA. Charles DeSantis, the University’s Associate Vice President for Benefits and Wellness, presented to the attendees followed by an open forum for questions. DeSantis highlighted the path to a “Tobacco Free Georgetown” and the steps necessary to roll out the enforcement of this policy by August 2017.

DeSantis’s presentation revealed how Georgetown is in effect behind many other schools in the DC area in enforcing this much-needed policy. Cessation resources to aid students in quitting smoking are not heavily promoted and the 25-foot-rule is not commonly enforced. This lack of enforcement possibly correlates to the placement of ashtrays right outside major on campus buildings, such as the ICC and Lauinger Library.  

Students posed many plausible concerns regarding the placement of smoking areas, enforcement, cessation, and communication. A major concern voiced was the fear of marginalizing international students, many of whom are smokers. Short-term goals were voiced such as removing ashtrays in public areas in an effort to remove smoke from high traffic areas.   

Overall, this open roundtable discussion was the first of many opportunities for students to voice their concerns and comments on a smoke-free campus. This event jump-started the campaign, in hopes of ending smoking on campus by next year.

What’s a Hoya: Professional Mentorship


Every year, GUSA holds three sessions of What’s a Hoya, a program intended to educate first-year students about life at Georgetown with the incentive of increased housing points for their sophomore year. This past weekend, What’s a Hoya held three modules on mentorship, with one module’s focus being professional mentorship.

Speaking to the first year students were three current Georgetown undergraduate students, an MBA student, the recruiter for the Cawley Career Center, and the Director of the Cawley Career Center (located in Leavey Center next to the bookstore).

One of the biggest pieces of advice given by the panel was to utilize Georgetown alumni resources for professional mentorship. The panel was in agreement that alumni want to hear from undergraduate students, learn more about their experiences, and help in any other ways they can.

“Hoyas will help Hoyas regardless of major or school.” – Matt Kelly (COL ‘08), current MBA student and representative for Hoya Gateway, an online resource for Georgetown students to reach out to alumni for advice and jobs.

Even as a freshman, many Hoyas worry about what comes next: internships, jobs, graduate schools, etc. The panel discussed how a lot of this panic is unnecessary, and how there isn’t one set path for any student. They found mentors in alumni, professors, and even older students. Simply talking to them helped the members of the panel in their own professional development by offering tips, getting them connected to others in their field, and helping them think big-picture.

“Keep an open mind, but if you know what you want to do, go for it.” – Mike Shaub, Director of the Cawley Career Center.

The panel encouraged students to major in something they like, not just something they think will get them a better job down the road. Multiple members on the panel started as pre-med and ended with degrees from history and theology to psychology. Georgetown provides so many opportunities to its students and helps them prepare for life beyond the Hilltop — reaching out to professors, alumni, and other students for guidance will help get you where you want to go.

Meet Comms!


You may hear a lot about different GUSA policy teams on campus, from Mental Health to Arts to Socioeconomic Inclusivity. There’s one group that is behind the scenes, coordinating social media campaigns for different events and getting the word out about what on Earth GUSA is doing: Communications! Here are the faces behind our Facebook page, blog, outreach efforts, videography, weekly newsletter, and so much more.

nataliaDirector of Communications: Natalia Peña

Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, I am a Senior in the College double majoring in Government and History and minoring in Justice and Peace Studies. I’m the Director of GUSA’s Communications team, the Co-Chair of TEDxGeorgetown, a Choreographer for Rangila and a Zumba Instructor at Yates. When I’m not busy, I can be found playing Assassin’s Creed on my Playstation 4 or eating acai bowls.
thomasDeputy Director of Strategic Marketing: Thomas Massad

Hi! My name is Thomas Massad and I’m Deputy Director in the GUSA Comms department. Natalia and I are the only seniors in Comms, so I feel like the grumpy old man of the group, particularly since I’ve been involved with GUSA since my freshman year. I originally participated just because I thought it was something I should do, but I really got into it when I saw the amazing work that GUSA was doing. As a GSP student, it was an enormous help for me when an old administration (Trevor and Omika) secured four years of university housing for myself and a whole host of other students. It’s not something a lot of students around campus knew about, but for myself and other students like me it was hugely significant. People don’t often hear about GUSA’s enormous accomplishments–in Comms, we’re trying to turn that around!

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Deputy Director of Social Media/Blogmaster: Angela Caprio

Hey Georgetown! I’m Angela Caprio, and I am a sophomore double-majoring in German and Political Economy. I have greatly enjoyed my work in GUSA Communications, beginning with my work doing Social Media for the Crenushe campaign last spring. GUSA Comms has given me the opportunity to be creative, and at the same time, do the important task of increasing the transparency and accessibility of the student government. “What does GUSA do?” is a very important question for the student body to have, and we want to keep the answers readily available — from the weekly blog and weekly tabling (Thursdays 11-5!) to daily Facebook posts. I’m so proud of the work that we do here, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year has in store!

kevinDeputy Director of Social Media/Graphic Design: Kevin Durham

Hi! I am Kevin Durham and I am the current Deputy Director for Social Media for the Georgetown University Student Association and a Sophomore in the McDonough School of Business majoring in Marketing and Finance with a minor in Studio Art. I am from Washington, DC, and I completely fascinated with Hillary Clinton, Meryl Streep and Williams-Sonoma. I love cooking and discovering new cuisines — my speciality is butternut squash lasagna and my favorite movie is Death Becomes Her (Watch It)
I’ve been a part of GUSA since my freshman year where I was a member of the Academic Reform policy team and the Freshmen Executive Committee. I remember hearing so many people say how GUSA does nothing, or that they had no idea what was going on throughout campus and I knew that joining the communications team would allow for me to ensure that every student had the ability to learn about the things going on on campus.

kaylanDeputy Director of Graphic Design: Kaylan Coke

I am a sophomore from sunny Miami, Florida, studying Global Health in the School of Nursing and Health Studies. I serve as the Deputy Director of Communications on the Georgetown University Student Association after serving as the Director of Graphics under Crenushe campaign. I am currently a Blue and Gray Tour Guide and work for The Corp IT+Marketing Department as well as the Center for Multicultural Equity and Access as a Student Peer Facilitator for ‘A Different Dialogue’. When I’m not dreaming of 75° weather or at a Comms meeting, I enjoy eating lots of mac & cheese, and listening to Beyoncé.

13131105_10209314770655603_8700744840386952516_o.jpgDeputy Director of Videography: Nick Gloria

My school year is 2019, I’m currently undeclared, and I’m from Newton, Massachusetts. I joined GUSA because I wanted to help Student Government have a more positive image on campus, and more specifically GUSA because I love video and music. On campus, I work for GUSA, Phantoms A Cappella, Hilltoss, TEDx, and Unsung Heroes. My favorite music to edit to is Kanye, Travis Scott, and Lil Yachty, and my dream job is to spend the 25th and 26th years of my life making music videos for and up and coming rapper. If I were a character from a sitcom, I would be Dennis from Always Sunny in Philadelphia, because he’s lovable and sadistic.

cat-cafe-me-2Graphic Designer: Angela Bai

I am a senior in the College majoring in biology and minoring in business administration. I am the Arthropod Extermination Specialist for the Rooted House on Magis Row. Additionally, I’m really good at finding parts in a Word document where there are two spaces by accident. In my free time I like to fry eggs and collect cardboard boxes for the purpose of art, and I am the happiest when I have food in both hands. By the end of 2016 I will have been both above the Arctic Circle and below the Antarctic Circle. Show her a typeface and she will tell you what it is.

Webmaster: Tiffany Tao

IMG_2885Newsletter & Polling Director: Roey Hadar

I am a senior in the SFS studying International Politics, and I am the creator and editor of the GUSA Weekly Newsletter. I am originally from Fair Haven, NJ, down the Jersey Shore, although I get quite annoyed if you mention the TV show of the same name. Although not a veteran of GUSA, I enjoy the work that I do with Comms. When I’m not at a Comms meeting, I can often be found sitting in the HFSC watching a major sporting event, running the Quiz Bowl club’s bi-weekly practices, or dancing like no one is watching at Hoyas’ men’s basketball games.

sitting-senate-photoSenate Liaison/Director of Logistics: William Morris

Hey everybody! My name is William Morris and I am really excited to be a part of the GUSA Comms team again for this upcoming year. I served as a Senator last year and initially got involved with Comms as a liaison with the GUSA Senate. This year, having been re-elected, I look forward to continuing this role! Within Comms, I formally serve as Director of Logistics (and informally as Master of Fork Acquisition). I’m from Dallas, Texas, and had lived there my whole life until coming to Georgetown. Aside from GUSA, I participate in Ultimate Frisbee and Chi Alpha on the Hilltop. Interestingly, I have a twin sister who also attends Georgetown! Overall, I’m definitely looking forward to all the great things the Comms team will accomplish this year!

New Members!

august-graduation-pictureSecretary of Communications: Augie Iorio

Hey I’m Augie and I’m a freshman in the SFS from Westchester, New York, planning on majoring in International Politics. I wanted to join Comms because I think it’s important that the student body understands how transparent GUSA is and how they can benefit best from its services. However, in that spirit of that transparency I feel obliged to disclose that the Tuxedo I’m wearing in my picture is fake.

11732024_866293740130164_6275778951333093885_oDeputy Blog Coordinator: Lille Brow

Hi! I’m Lille Brown and I am a freshman in the SFS, c/o 2020! I’m thinking about majoring in International Politics — subject to change. I’m so excited to be joining COMMS and GUSA as a whole! I want to help the Comms team create messaging that will resonate with the entire student body, making each club/association member understand that they are important to GUSA. I’m so pumped for this year!



Version 2Secretary of Outreach: Paula Hong

Hello Georgetown! My name is Paula Hong and I am a freshman in the College. I am currently undeclared, but hope to major in Government and minor in Journalism. Growing up playing golf, a huge part of who I am is getting to know and meet new people. This is a big reason for why I wanted to join GUSA’s Communications team – because I would love to get to know every member of the Georgetown bubble! Thanks!


grace-chungVideographer: Grace Chung

Hello! My name is Grace Chung, and I am a freshman in the College. I’m currently undeclared (surprise, surprise) but am potentially thinking about double minoring in Spanish and business administration. I have never been involved in student government, and I thought joining Comms would be a good way to get my feet wet. I have also had a growing interest in marketing and advertising, and this team seemed like the perfect space to learn just that. So far, I have been loving it- namely, the brownies and the excessive amount of forks for finger foods at my very first meeting. I hope to be a source of help for anyone who needs it, and I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone :~)

img_2822Deputy Newsletter Coordinator/Graphic Designer: Cate O’Leary

Hi, my name is Cate O’Leary! I’m a member of the School of Foreign Service Class of 2019 majoring in International Economics and minoring in French. Outside of my studies and GUSA, I’m a member of the Georgetown University Women’s Rowing team, the Minnesota State Chair for GAAP, and an SFS Economics tutor. This year, I joined the Comms team to develop my creative design skills and to make the things GUSA does for Georgetown students well-known. I’m very excited to be a part of GUSA and I can’t wait to start working!


Meet the Senate!

Last week, the Georgetown student body elected the GUSA Senate for the 2016-2017 school year. You’ve been seeing their posts in the GAAP groups for the last few weeks and their posters hanging up all over campus. Here’s who won your votes:

Freshman North (Darnall & Harbin)

img_0148Billy O’Carroll (SFS ’20) – Undecided: I am from Milton, MA, which is right outside of Boston. I ran for GUSA because I did student government in high school and really enjoyed having a role in improving my school. My hope for this year is to at least discuss the possibility of moving freshmen elections to second semester so freshmen can run on more substantive platforms. I look forward to this year in GUSA!



img_0726Joshua Sirois (SFS ’20) – International Economics: As a freshman, this first month on the Hilltop has been crazy: moving to a new home, meeting new people, joining new organizations, deciding to run for GUSA Senate…it’s all been a blur! There have been ups and downs and moments in between, and I truly can’t imagine beginning my college experience in any other way. Like my first month on campus, I see that Georgetown, too, has its own ups and downs and moments in between, and that’s why I would say I ran for GUSA Senate. I want to be a mouthpiece for the student body in times of good, bad, and somewhere in between. I hope that I can do my part in making Georgetown the best community for each and every Hoya.

aneeshAneesh Rahangdale (COL ’20) – Political Economy: I am an avid runner, chill dude, and aspiring comedian from Tallahassee, Florida. As a senator, I hope to connect with the student body in ways I would not be able to otherwise and bring meal swipes to Epi.





Freshman South (Harbin & New South)

zach-oscin-15-very-small-cropZach Oschin (SFS ’20) – Global Business: I am so excited to be at Georgetown and to get to know the other freshmen. There is so much opportunity to improve the programs that already exist here, and I can help do it with input from my friends and peers.



javonJavon Price (SFS ’20) – International Politics: Hey everyone! My name is Javon Price and I’m excited to represent the Freshman of Freshman South this year in the Senate. A little bit about me: I’m from Fairfax, Virginia. In high school, I was an active member of student government and I’m ready to get to work this year in GUSA. Looking forward, I’m hoping to make sure that the Class of 2020 is represented in the Senate this year on issues such as: choosing the next dining provider, encouraging renovations of Freshman dorms, and strengthening the relationship between the students and the administration! I’m ready to work with you all this year and I’m excited for the things to come!

image1Charles Hajjar (MSB ’20) – Undecided: I’m from Milton, Massachusetts (just south of Boston) and decided to run for the GUSA senate to advocate for my fellow freshmen. I hope to tackle issues related to the meal swipe plans, aid in creating a more inclusive community for people of all socioeconomic backgrounds, and begin taking steps towards completely divesting the university’s endowment from fossil fuel companies.




North Campus (Henle & Arrupe)

owenOwen Hayes (COL ’18) – Government & EconomicsOriginally from New York, this is my second year in the GUSA Senate. I will be serving as the Chair of the Finance & Appropriations Committee this year, and I hope to work closely with student leaders to determine where funding can most effectively be allocated to improve the Georgetown experience for everyone.

Sitting senate photo.pngWilliam Morris (COL ’19) – Undecided: I had the privilege of serving in GUSA last year as freshman and I look forward to continuing to work on behalf of my constituents in Henle and Arrupe as well as for the good of Georgetown as a whole. I am particularly passionate about improving GUSA internally and partnering with campus organizations to create the best community possible. Last year, I worked with the GUSA Communications team and the Religious Inclusivity policy team. This year I hope to build upon past accomplishments and work alongside our new class of senators to make the Hilltop a better place. I believe that together we can make a lasting difference and I welcome the challenge of the work to come.

Central Campus (Copley, Former Jesuit Residence, Village C East)

white-houseCaroline Barnes (COL ’19) – French & Government: Hey Hoyas! My name is Caroline Barnes and I’m a sophomore from Croton-on-Hudson, New York, studying French and Government in the College. I live in Copley and am one of the three Senators representing Central Campus. This is my first year in the GUSA Senate, however I was an active volunteer in the Crenushe campaign last semester and am currently the secretary of the Arts policy team, as well as a member of the Dining Hall and Residential Life policy teams. During my first year at Georgetown, I was the Harbin Hall Council President and was able to organize monthly events, meet new freshman, and establish myself in a leadership role that helped acclimate other first years and create a smaller community here on campus. Although I enjoyed this position freshman year, I was ready to take it to the next level and explore other opportunities that were more issue-oriented and addressed the larger student-body. With this experience, in addition to the many years of student government in middle and high school, I am excited to bring my energy and ideas to the Senate and work closely with the incredible Executive who are equally passionate about bringing positive change to the Hilltop and GUSA as a whole.

guyEvan Farrara (COL ’19) – Political Economy: I hail from Palm City, Florida and have previously been involved in GUSA’s Freshman Executive Committee and Accessibility Policy Team. I hope to continue to work with the Accessibility Team to make this campus as inclusive as it can be and to work on a variety of Residential Living issues that I outlined in my campaign.


img_6860Hunter Estes (SFS ’19) – International Politics: I’m originally from Potomac, Maryland, and attended Georgetown Preparatory School. In high school, I was deeply impacted by the principles which drive the Jesuit education system. I was inspired to continue my Jesuit education at Georgetown. I recognize how incredibly blessed I am to attend Georgetown and just hope that in my short time on the Hilltop I can have an impact that will last long after I’m gone. I have been active on the executive side so far, as president of VCW Hall Council, Vice-Chair of the Free Speech team, and a student rep. to the Board of Governors and hoped to extend my impact further by joining the student senate. I greatly look forward to the good that I can have on the community that means so much to me.

South Campus (Village A)

West Campus (Southwest Quad)

FullSizeRender-1.pngJasmin Ouseph (SFS ’19) – STIA: I’m from Pembroke Pines, FL (it’s kinda near Miami, I guess). I love dogs, tea, pretending I’m a photographer, tagging people in memes, etc. I ran for GUSA last year because I thought I could ~make a difference~ and in some ways I did. In other ways, I really didn’t, but that’s partly why I ran again. I value inclusivity and representation, and I think GUSA’s unfortunate reputation as being a white boy’s club can turn Hoyas from all sorts of marginalized communities off, so I’m slowly hoping to work on putting a dent in that image.


Isaac Liu (COL ’20) – Government & EconomicsI mainly ran to make sure the voices of freshmen in LLCs in my quad were heard and in order to offer my ideas to greater community. I plan to work on issues surrounding the arts (particularly the music/visual arts scene), technology, and possibly sustainability although I may introduce and work on projects in other areas as well. Hometown: Charleston, West Virginia


benBen Baldwin (SFS ’19) – International Politics: I am a sophomore in the SFS from Middleburg Heights, OH. In my second year in the GUSA Senate, I hope to continue to work on sustainability and master planning initiatives. I believe that together we can make Georgetown green again. A fun-loving Taurus, I plan to make this representative student government as student-oriented and representational as possible.


East Campus (LXR, Alumni Square, Nevils, Townhouses)

fullsizerender-1Zainab Feroze (SFS ’18) – STIA: Hey, everyone! I’m Zainab Feroze, a junior in the SFS majoring in Science, Technology, and International Affairs. I’m a nerd who enjoys The Office as much as I love coding, a liberal who was raised in a town where cows outnumber people, and a student who spends more time at Sweetgreen than in Lau. But most importantly, I’m a firm believer that every Hoya — regardless of their background or circumstances— has the right to experience all the best Georgetown has to offer. As a former member of GUSA’s Multicultural Council, I hope to continue advocating for Hoyas of all races, cultures, and socioeconomic statuses. If you have any questions, slide into my DMs. Hoya Saxa!

_dsc0618Alex Bobroske (SFS ’17) – International Politics: I spent the last year building the Crenushe machine, serving both as Enushe and Chris’ Campaign Manager and then Chief of Staff for the first half of their administration. After increasing demands for SWUG representation in the Senate and avocados on campus, I assumed the role as Chairman of the SWUG Party in September 2016. As SWUG Party Boss, I helped exponentially grow the SWUG Party, capturing 1/5 of the GUSA Senate seats in the recent election. I looks forward to continuing to working on institutional reform started at the beginning of the Crenushe Administration, as well as better engagement of seniors in campus issues while advocating for avocados.

img_9049Habon Ali (SFS ’18) – Regional & Comparative Studies: I am originally from Kenya but now reside in Minnesota. I am interested in international development and the advancement of women’s right. This year I hope to bring socioeconomic issues on campus on the senate agenda. I believe that as an organization we  need to serve the needs of the student body and socioeconomic issues are one of the most pressing problem many students face at GU.


10714107_10203365238023931_7088278394490335284_oMarisa Hawley (SFS ’17) – International Politics: I am happy to declare that I will be assuming the position of Secretary of Defense for the SWUG administration…just kidding. Although I have previously been involved in the running club team, the Journal of International Affairs, and the Voice during her time at Georgetown, this will be my first time actually participating in GUSA instead of writing about it. Despite my washed-up senior status, I look forward to serving fellow off-campus students by raising awareness of senior-specific concerns and advocating for avocados. I will also work to contribute to GUSA’s advocacy for improved mental health resources on-campus and for greater student awareness of those resources.

14434848_1099627593418478_8883826572754071840_o.jpgJennifer LeBeau (MSB ’17) – Accounting: Hello SWUGS and future-SWUGS! I come to GUSA as a new Senator after three years on the Hilltop being involved in New Student Orientation, the Georgetown University Grilling Society, and GU Signs. With no previous experience in student government, I hope to bring a fresh perspective to the Senate and help to close the GAAP between the representatives and the student body. I will proudly serve as the SWUG Party’s Minister of Finance and Sergeant of the First Avocado Battalion, championing the causes of mental health policy, accessibility, and avocados for all.


13895373_10154555882972590_3535177016770838738_nMichael Hosbein (COL ’17) – English: Hey guys!  I am VERY excited to be a part of GUSA.  I was a little nervous that Chicken Madness was going to beat me for the spot, but here I am!  This is my first year as a senator, but I hope to bring my perspective as a senior to the student government!  For a little more about myself, I’m from Chatham, New Jersey, I have a yellow labrador retriever, and on campus I am very involved with club sports!  Looking forward to serving you all this year!

alejandroAlejandro Serrano (MSB ’17) – Finance & Accounting: Hailing from the South Florida’s Atlantic coast, I replace the Chicken Madness ticket for the Off Campus GUSA election, having garnered the 5th most votes. Despite no student government experience, I will bring new insight and an eagerness to help improve student life and involvement in its government. As SWUG Director of Intelligence and Party Whip, I look forward to increasing accountability and transparency in GUSA to better engage with the student body.


13047930_10153693530350197_111344784842170057_o (1).jpgScott Lowder (COL ’17) – Government: Greetings, undergraduates of Georgetown! I am thrilled to be representing all of you in the GUSA Senate this year, especially as important changes to the structure of our student government are being discussed. As SWUG Party Attorney General, I will be working on expanding access to avocados, restoring previous levels of funding for Georgetown Day, and ensuring the pasta line’s existence for decades to come. I will also work to continue GUSA’s advocacy for sexual assault survivors and free speech protections for students. If you have a SWUG issue (or any other issue) you want addressed, always feel free to reach out to me!

cherieCherie Vu (COL ’19) – Political Economy: I am a Sophomore in the College majoring in Political Economy representing At-Large, and am now Vice-Speaker of the Senate. I decided to run for GUSA again because I am proud of all the work that we have been able to in the past year and I can’t wait to continue the momentum we have going. When I’m not doing GUSA, I’m probably eating jalapeño chips and listening to Drake.


GUSApicture.pngJuan Martinez (SFS ’20) – International Politics: Hey everyone, my name is Juan and I am from Dallas, TX! I decided to run for GUSA Senate because I love Georgetown and want to play a part in helping it continue to be such a great environment. Of course there are many ways in which our campus can be improved, and that’s why this year I want to focus on diversity initiatives to promote inclusivity on campus and on making GUSA’s decision-making more accessible and transparent to our student body. 🙂

richieRichie Mullaney (COL ’18) – Government & American Studies: I’m from Jacksonville, Florida and enjoying the last few days of the warm weather in DC. This year, the Senate will be focusing on working with students typically underrepresented in GUSA. As Speaker, I hope this focus helps to make the Senate more inclusive, receptive, and productive.

#HoyasForShe Kickoff


If you were in Red Square last week, you probably saw a big tent set up for the very first HeForShe photo campaign. President DeGioia signed on as one of ten University IMPACT Champions last year, and the photo campaign kickstarted the effort to bring the movement from an institutional level to the student level. We had over 100 students and faculty make a #HoyasForShe commitment for gender equality on campus in honor of our partnership with HeForShe.

colorWhat is HeForShe?

HeForShe is a movement started by UN Women and UN Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson to promote gender equality worldwide. To start the program, UN Women involved 10 university presidents, 10 CEOs, and 10 Heads of State to promote gender equality and raise awareness in their respective institutions. Learn more by visiting the HeForShe website.

How is Georgetown/GUSA involved?

Georgetown is one of 10 IMPACT universities globally to take on the project of gender equality. Last year, President DeGioia signed on and has stated his goals for Georgetown in this regard, by strengthening the Institute for Women, Peace, and Security as well as the Georgetown Women’s Alliance. Another priority for President DeGioia is ensuring the safety of women on campus.

fighter.jpgThis past summer, GUSA Vice President Chris Fisk as well as GUSA Communications members Natalia Peña, Kevin Durham, and Angela Caprio coordinated with the President’s Office and the team behind Georgetown HeForShe to increase visibility of HeForShe for students. We achieved this through the photo campaign in Red Square and pamphlets that were included as part of the NSO welcome packets. We will be continuing our efforts through a video campaign later in the semester and another photo campaign at the TedxGeorgetown event on October 22. Learn more on our Facebook page.

What other universities are IMPACT champions?

Georgetown is one of 2 IMPACT Universities in the United States. The other is Stony Brook University in New York. The other universities include: University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa), University of Oxford (United Kingdom), University of Waterloo (Canada), Sciences Po (France), University of São Paolo (Brazil), University of Leicester (United Kingdom), University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong), and Nagoya University (Japan).

natasha.jpgHow do I get involved?

The HeForShe movement is continuing to grow on campus, and we want as many voices as possible. Fill out our Google Form if you have any interest being involved on a committee, joining our video campaign, or simply receiving updates from HeForShe throughout the year.



Getting to Know GUSA


Last year, we restructured GUSA: Now, we have a variety of policy teams that consist both of elected GUSA Senators and appointed members by the Executive through an application process. Applications are due Friday, September 3rd at 11:59pm, and more information can be found on the Facebook event here. GUSA policy teams range in topic, and there’s a home for everyone in GUSA. We talked to members of different policy teams at the GUSA Fair last Friday, and here’s what they had to say about their policy teams:

Academic Affairs

“The Academic Affairs team is a great opportunity to discuss issues and propose developments to academic life on campus that affect students university-wide, from all four undergraduate schools. We hope to make an impact this year on topics including course registration and internships, so come join our team and lend your voice to these important conversations! We hope our efforts can make Georgetown an even more student-friendly environment for you, your friends, and students to come.” – Brendan Saunders


“The environment is one of the most important issues of our day. We enact policy change on campus, in order to make a better campus for us today and a better world for the future.” – Ben Zimmer

“In order to be stewards of the planet, we must first be stewards of the university.” – Ben Baldwin


Student Worker Affairsimg_1750

“The Student Worker Affairs Team is important because a ton of students quality for work student and there aren’t enough work study jobs. We can be a resource for student workers and help build power for students in the campus workplace.” – Lily Ryan


Transfer Council

“The transfer policy team, also known as the Transfer Council, is a great way to give back to the transfer community. We put on programming specifically designed to give transfer students a leg up on the hilltop, as well as advocate for transfer-specific issues with university administrators.” – Sydney Jean Gottfried


“Tech advisory is very important because almost all the school work we have has to be submitted in an electronic form, so we need good technology from the university. Our main goals are to facilitate communication between UIS and the student body to better represent our needs–SAXANet, software, labs, and printing make our lives easier and student life possible.” – Yafet Negash


img_1753Socioeconomic Inclusivity

“We have to reduce barriers that Hoyas face on a regular basis. We try to make it possible to have a full Georgetown experience and be able to graduate without hidden costs. Georgetown prides itself on a financial aid system that meets everyone’s needs 100%, need blind. This isn’t really the case after a student arrives on campus. Many aren’t aware of the extra costs when they arrive on campus–laundry, dining, supplementary course materials, textbooks, transportation to and from airports and train stations. Financial aid doesn’t cover those things.” – Owen Hayes


img_1754Mental Health

“We are focused on finding creative solutions to policy and culture-related problems on campus. We are excited to have as many minds in the conversation as possible to really improve/make Georgetown a better and more inclusive place.” – Sylvia Levy



“Accessibility is important because Georgetown is a place where it can be hard to get around physically if you are disabled. Making Georgetown more accessible is important. It’s wonderful to be in a GUSA policy team with a ton of help from Enushe and Chris. We have found a lot of awesome friends with cool reasonings and personal experiences. It has been truly inspiring.” – Kenneth Mars


sexualassaultSafety & Sexual Assault

“The Safety and Sexual Assault Policy Team addresses really important issues that affect all students on campus. We run awareness campaigns, craft policy asks, and interface with campus resources like the Georgetown University Policy Department and Health Education Services. Our ultimate goal is to create a culture of care on the Hilltop!” — Maddy Moore


“GUSA Comms is a fun, artistic group to be in. Everyone has different skills and experiences in terms of social media, web design, graphic design, and organizational skills. We run GUSA’s Facebook page, website, and blog. We help provide transparency and accessibility to GUSA for the student body. It’s important to have as many voices as possible in campus conversations, and we help bring as many people as possible to the table.” – Angela Caprio

“We sing. We dance. We take requests.” – Natalia Peña

(We do take requests–If you have a GUSA event in need of a Facebook event and graphics or would like us to advertise your event on our Facebook page, please fill out this form here.)

Learn more about these policy teams and all of the others on our website! Don’t forget to submit your policy team applications by Friday, September 23 at 11:59pm.

What GUSA Has Done So Far…


Welcome (back) Hoyas! While you were at home, studying abroad, working, interning, or hanging out this summer, GUSA has been hard at work to improve your experience here on the Hilltop. Here’s the lowdown of everything we accomplished the past couple of months:

LeosDining: GUSA has helped secure the implementation of a meal exchange program for non-Leo’s food options on campus. For the first time ever, your meal swipes work at restaurants in the Leavey Center — SubwayCosiElevation Burgerand Salad Creations — after 3pm! To help cut down on wait times, you can also now use the app Tapingo to pre-order your meals from all Aramark retail locations on campus for pick-up. In addition to this, GUSA participated in a week-long presentation process to start the selection process for a new dining provider. Since arriving back on campus, GUSA has worked to keep the pasta line available at Leo’s for dinner. GUSA is in the process of organizing open houses and a town hall for students to interact with the potential new dining vendors before the new dining contract is signed. We want to ensure that students have a say in the dining contract negotiation process!

Housing: Since saving Brown House this spring, GUSA has secured the senior right to live off-campus and committed the university to create a timeline to renovate current apartments and dorms. We also helped finalize a 2017-2036 Campus Plan that reflects student interests. Renovations are prioritized over new construction, and students have permanent representation on the Georgetown Community Partnership, including a new student co-chair for the Safety and Student Life Working Group.

Socioeconomic Inclusivity: GUSA partnered with the Corp to provide summer storage for Georgetown Summer Fellows and Community Scholars.  GUSA also pushed the university to permanently cover the cost of housing to independent, homeless, and students otherwise without a place to return over Winter Break. GUSA also spearheaded a textbook-drive last spring and collected over 200 books to add to the CMEA’s library of rentable textbooks for students. GUSA also expanded the GUSA Summer Fellows for this past summer by five students.

GUTSTransportation: GUSA continued to push for a more substantial weekend GUTS bus service schedule. We continued to work with the city of Washington to pursue a student metro and bus pass. GUSA also launched an Uber pilot last spring and will continue efforts to plan another pilot for later this fall semester. Furthermore, we have gotten the University to commit to re-routing GUTS bus routes for university breaks this year, which includes direct trips to Reagan National Airport (DCA). We also created a comprehensive DC transportation guide that was distributed to new students at NSO.

Sexual Assault: After putting information on sexual assault response services on GoCards last spring, this summer GUSA created a sexual assault task force under the Office of the President. The task force will focus on bystander intervention amongst other improvements to current campus policies and procedures. Furthermore, GUSA worked with the University to provide free CAPS counseling for a semester, starting this academic year. GUSA also pushed Student Affairs to hire a staff member to focus on Bystander Intervention training.

IMG_9434Racial and Cultural Inclusivity: GUSA began planning a campus-wide “Culture Day” for early October (stay tuned!).

Accessibility: GUSA signed onto the creation of a new full-time position at the Academic Resource Center with commitments to hire additional staff in coming years. In addition, an emergency response system was created with Facilities Management to immediately respond to accessibility/Americans with Disabilities Act issues on campus.

Sustainability: GUSA will be creating a formal academic recommendation regarding sustainability after evaluating environmental academic programs of Georgetown’s peer institutions this summer. GUSA also hosted a Sustainability Fashion Show and the Georgetown Day Cup (with the Corp) this past spring.

reissAcademics: GUSA helped finalized the 2017-2036 Campus Plan that includes the renovation or replacement of Reiss and construction of new academic space elsewhere.

Student Activities: GUSA began a collaborative project with The Corp and GUASFCU that aims to establish a platform for alumni to donate directly to student groups and initiatives.

Arts: The HFSC calendar is now available for performing arts groups to reserve spaces starting this fall. GUSA also hosted the first ever Arts Forum (more to come!) and a Hoya Roundtable focused on the arts.

Communications:  GUSA created this blog to increase transparency within GUSA and make the day-to-day operations of GUSA more accessible to the student body. Get to know our team by reading our summer series Inside Georgetown, which includes great information for both current and new students alike. Just click the category link on the right of this page!

DC/Federal Relations: GUSA helped expand the Student Leadership Alliance to over 30 university student associations (and counting)! We supported efforts for DC Statehood with working groups through the Mayor’s Office as well as testifying at the DC Constitutional Convention. We also organized events in DC for current students and alumni, including a 5K on September 17 to raise money for an underfunded school in Southeast DC. In addition to this, we submitted a testimony to ease access to driver’s licenses for immigrants and worked on education legislation. We also organized a mental health awareness campaign during finals week.

Inside Georgetown: Take a Break


Everyone needs to take a break from school work every now and again, and here’s a great list of shows to watch when you need to get your mind off of Micro.

(All shows are on Netflix unless otherwise stated.)

25 Minute Shows

Parks and Recreation: I genuinely believe this show made me a better person. Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) helps run the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee, Indiana along with a creative and diverse set of characters. It’s a great show for lovers of comedy, local government, and waffles. If you’ve never seen it, make this show your next priority.

lucilleblinkArrested Development: This comedy series follows the life of Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) after his real estate mogul father is arrested and he has to keep his family together. There are four seasons of dry humor, with the last season produced by Netflix. Because of this, you can switch this show into a variety of different languages, which is a great way to study for listening tests in language classes. This is true for all Netflix originals.

Friends: This another show everyone has to see. It’s a classic sitcom, and even though it went off the air twelve years ago, it still fuels pop culture references in TV and movies. It’s fun to watch now and see how the world has changed since the show went on the air in 1994, from clothes and hairstyles to pagers.

The Office: Michael Scott (Steve Carell) plays the hilariously awkward boss for a paper-selling company in Scranton, Pennsylvania. It features a lot of amazing characters like Dwight Shrute, and no one can beat Jim and Pam’s relationship.

mytreatMaster of None: The first and only season (so far) of Aziz Ansari’s show premiered exclusively on Netflix. He stars in the comedy, which has been celebrated for its diverse cast and creative plot lines. It doesn’t follow a traditional timeline, and he brings attention to real, everyday problems. You’ll feel every emotion watching this show, and since there’s only one season out right now, it’s not a huge time commitment.

50 Minute Shows

cjThe West Wing: This is my all time favorite show, and it’s a popular show among Georgetown students. This inspirational drama about the president and his staff highlights some real issues that still face our country. The cast is amazing and loveable, featuring the likes of Martin Sheen, Allison Janney, Rob Lowe, and Dulé Hill.

Madam Secretary: Another great DC political show. The show centers on Secretary Elizabeth McCord as she balances global crises, diplomatic responsibility, and commitments to her family. The show is high drama, and Georgetown’s campus is even featured in a few episodes. Those scenes are especially great to watch after you’ve arrived on campus, since they have used CGI to alter the campus landscape. Try and find the large bronze fountain on Healy Lawn or the Washington Monument on campus.

millie-freaks-and-geeksFreaks and Geeks: Taking place in 1980, this show focuses on the lives of Lindsay and Sam Weir as they navigate high school. The show takes on a lot of complex issues, such as bullying. Even the most minor characters in the show are extremely complex, and it helps defy the stereotypes we all subjected ourselves to in high school. On top of that, this show launched the careers of many of today’s household names, from James Franco and Seth Rogan to Jason Segel from How I Met Your Mother. This show also only lasted one season, so it’s a low time commitment show.

Grey’s Anatomy: Someone will always be watching this show in your floor’s common room. The popular hospital drama features a lot of cliffhangers and tears, but it has been nonetheless beloved by millions.

NCIS: This is the show that never seems to end that your mom is always watching. However, this DC Navy detective drama features another great cast with characters you’ll grow attached to. The cases are clever, and it’s fun to recognize the names of different places they visit in DC  (but less fun when you recognize the location of a murder).


The Big Short: A must-watch movie for MSB students. This movie focuses on the men who predicted the 2008 financial crisis that stemmed from the mortgage bubble, one of whom is played by Ryan Gosling. This all-star cast makes the gritty details of the world of finance interesting, fun, and dramatic. It’s also on Netflix, and it will blow you away.

Newsroom: If you have HBO Go or Amazon Prime, you can watch Newsroom. Another show by Aaron Sorkin (the writer of The West Wing), this show follows the fictional Atlantic Cable News company as they break the biggest news stories from 2011-2013, during the show’s air time.

ginaBrooklyn Nine-Nine: If you have a Hulu account, you should definitely watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Sparked from the success of workplace comedies like Parks and Rec and The Office, Brooklyn Nine-Nine centers on a Brooklyn police precinct and their misadventures. The show is hilarious, and the actors actually went through police training before filming.

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This post was written by Angela Caprio (COL’19), GUSA Deputy of Social Media, majoring in German and Political Economy. Have stories you would like to share with the next freshman class? E-mail us at





Inside Georgetown: Events to Look Forward to in the Fall


Coming into freshman year, it’s easy to get lost in the flurry of joining clubs and making friends. You might not even realize some important events happening on campus.  Here are some events to mark in your fall calendar so you don’t forget them! Even if you’re not a freshman, maybe its time to do something new and engage with the Georgetown community in a new way?

rangilaRangila: Join Rangila!! Rangila is the largest dance and cultural showcase Georgetown has to offer, with nearly five hundred students involved every year. It includes different South Asian dances and is a great way to meet people from all different years and backgrounds on campus. Sign ups are near the beginning of the year, so keep your eye out! Dances are known to have waiting lists hundreds of people long, but people are placed into dances randomly as no dancing ability is required.

And if you don’t get a chance to join a dance, still be sure to catch one of the two shows later in the fall (usually right before Thanksgiving)! Profits go to charity. You can check out more about it here!

*cough, shameless plug: You should join the dance Filipino Fusion because I heard their choreographer is pretty gr8*

georgetown_basketballMidnight Madness: Every year around October the Georgetown men and women’s basketball teams open the season by presenting the new and old members of each team as well as having both student and other performances. Former performers include 2chainz and Trey Songz, so who knows who they could bring this year??

It’s a great way to feel the Hoya spirit and maybe even meet Jack the Bulldog (or at least Jack the Bulldog mascot?).

Corp Gala: Around December, the Corp hosts one of the biggest parties of the year. Even if you aren’t in the Corp you can go and have a fun time with your friends, while meeting new people. It also gives you a chance to dress up in the Fall and dance the night away!

The proceeds also always go to charity.

Homecoming: I am pretty sure you cannot “forget” to go to Homecoming because the whole campus really goes all out, but its worth mentioning!

TEDxGeorgetown: ~shameless plug~ TEDxGeorgetown is an amazing conference which will host around 9 speakers in the fall to give a TED talk to the Georgetown community. The day includes amazing 20 minute talks, with personalized breakout sessions, goodie bags, and even its own Farmer’s Market! With historically over 1500 attendees, it won’t be an afternoon to miss.

nataliaThis post was written by Natalia Peña (COL’17), GUSA Director of Communications, majoring in History and Government. Have stories you would like to share with the next freshman class? E-mail us at