Getting to Know GUSA

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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

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Sustainability

“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

img_1752Technology

“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

 

img_1755Accessibility

“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

Communications

“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.

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What GUSA Has Done So Far…

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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.

RECAP: Sexual Assault Open Forum

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Recently, GUSA sponsored a Sexual Assault Open Forum to continue the conversation between administration and students. Representatives from the administration included Carol Day (Director of Health Education Services – HES), Jennifer Wiggins (Sexual Assault Specialist – HES), Sergeant Sarah Halpren-Reuder (GUPD Sexual Assault Response Team – SART), Dr. Todd Olson (Vice President of Student Affairs), Dr. Phil Meilman (Director of Counseling and Psychiatric Services – CAPS), Judy Johnson (Director of the Office of Student Conduct – OSC), and Laura Cutway (Title IX Coordinator).

Information on Reporting:

The university is working on a standard timeline for sexual assault cases. After 30 days, Dr. Olson wants for the Title IX Coordinators and Office of Student Conduct to hear specifics (anecdotal evidence) on the case. It is complex, and both parties can send in evidence. Respondents have seven days to respond once a complaint is made. The Title IX Coordinators will then update the reporter weekly, even if no progress has been made. Ms. Cutway encourages people to follow up with her if they have concerns. If you want a case to remain confidential, it must go through HES, as Title IX is a semi-confidential resource. Dr. Olson stressed that specific outcomes cannot be publicly disclosed, but there have been serious consequences. Standard responses include suspension and expulsion from the university for sexual assault cases. Deans’ Offices have been accommodating to survivor needs.

Information from Each Specific Department:

Ms. Day and Ms. Wiggins highlighted the efforts of HES. They have created Center for Multicultural Equity and Access (CMEA) Walk-in Hours, and hope to further increase transparency and accessibility of resources, using a new brochure. As well, they intend to include more students of color and men in the conversation. Along with the Title IX office, a bystander education committee is being finalized. A bystander committee will work with What’s a Hoya, and will have housing point incentives for bystander education. They noted how HES has experienced an increased demand for services and hope to respond in a quick, accessible way, and make the process as easy for students as possible. HES wants to increase sexual assault education for first-year students, including a mandatory training session during NSO, Think About It, along with GUPD. HES has also continued to working with Sexual Assault Peer Educators (SAPE), which has 700+ students involved, with more partnerships with student organizations like the Corp in the works.

Dr. Meilman plans to grow CAPS staff incrementally in order to decrease wait times and increase availability to students. CAPS also emphasizes that all Georgetown students need to understand that the university does not tolerate this behavior. They have enacted a policy for a free semester of CAPS services for survivors of sexual assault and respondents. CAPS is partnering with HES for coordinated care. Through the Mental Health Advisory Board, CAPS is altering the university’s Medical Leave of Absence (MLOA) policies to create more safety nets for returning students.

Ms. Cutway and the Title IX Office plan to increase reporting by ensuring that students understand the process of reporting. They have created a flow chart of how to access services, checklist for confidential and non-confidential resources, list of Title IX staff, FAQ, and better website for online reporting. They also intend to put more emphasis on a bystander intervention program in order to prevent sexual assaults. The Title IX Office hired Samantha Berner as the Title IX Investigator back in December.

Dr. Olson supports a working group for bystander intervention programs and an increased focus on resources for graduate students. He acknowledges that our current reporting system is not perfect, but they are working towards improvements. He continues to build relationships with HES and CAPS and increase partnerships between students and administrators. “Open dialogue and shared work has led to action,” he stated at the event.

Sgt. Halpren-Reuder provided updates on GUPD SART. They are no longer required to report sexual assaults to the Metro Police Department. GUPD SART plans to better bridge the gaps between law enforcement officers and students. All new hires receive an orientation, and the entire department is trained in crisis intervention. SART currently includes 14 officers with forty hours of specialized training, who help students access necessary resources after a crisis.

Ms. Johnson and the OSC are training for hearing boards, which will provide the university with trauma-informed training from outside experts.

All GoCards from this point forward have phone numbers for emergency resources, including CAPS and GUPD, printed on the back. You can replace yours for free at the GoCard Office on the ground floor of Darnall Hall, next to Epi and the Student Health Center.

If working with HES, STI testing can be access for free from Washington Hospital Center through coordination with Student Health.

Welcome to the brand-new GUSA blog

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You never have to wonder again what GUSA is doing to help their fellow Hoyas. Here you will find new posts daily with news and information directly from the various policy teams on how they’re trying to make your life at Georgetown even better and how you can get involved!

If there’s a specific issue that you’re passionate about, click on the Policy Team category links on the right side of the page to see only posts from that specific policy team.

Welcome & don’t forget to like our Facebook page for updates!