Juniors Secure Top Student Association Posts

Julia Susuni and Kostantinos Skordalos win president, vice president positions.

student association gw new president and vice president
Julia Susuni and Kostantinos Skordalos.
March 25, 2013

The race for the George Washington University Student Association’s top leadership positions garnered nearly 5,000 votes and ended in a win for juniors Julia Susuni and Kostantinos Skordalos.

Ms. Susuni, a Cherry Hill, N.J., native and international affairs major, took the presidency with nearly 60 percent of the vote. She is the fourth woman to hold the position in university history.

With a campaign that generated almost 600 Facebook “likes,” nearly 200 Twitter followers and a high-tech, user-friendly website, Ms Susuni said strategic use of social media drove her campaign’s success. So, too, did her dedicated team.

“I have a really great team, and when it came down to the election, we made sure people went out and voted,” she said.

Mr. Skordalos, a Baltimore native and women’s studies major, took executive vice president.

“Honestly, my first thought was, ‘Wow, they pronounced my name right …wait they said my name!’” said Mr. Skordalos, who said speaking with individual students and organizations fueled his win.

Ms. Susuni is fresh off a stint as the SA vice president of public affairs and Mr. Skordalos, a newcomer to student government, is the founder of the GW Men of Strength, a sexual assault awareness group.

With transition meetings already begun, both are looking ahead to their work with the Student Association Senate and university administrators while continuing, in part, discussions on student space. Ms. Susuni is adamant about the importance of “transparency, accountability and accessibility” among all parties, she said.

“I want to make sure there is an open line of communication,” she said. “Students come first. That’s what I believe, and that’s what I hope to show everyone this year.”

Similarly, Mr. Skordalos views his post as an opportunity to strengthen the university community—specifically the relationship between students and administration.

“I’ve always had this idea that strong leadership is strong service,” he said. “Because I’ve been an advocate, I’ve learned how to work with and for the people.”

Current SA President Ashwin Narla urged the future leaders to stay on top of their academics and “stick to the ticket” by setting three main objectives for their year. He also hopes they will “play an active role in the implementation groups related to the strategic plan.” The decade-long plan is in its final stages.

With that in mind, the duo said their plan is based on one overarching strategy: setting realistic goals that have a lasting impact and build the university community.

“I want to give back, so that the same opportunities I had are available to incoming students,” Mr. Skordalos said.

Added Ms. Susuni: “When you’re the leader of an organization of 25,000 students, it’s important to lead, but you should also be cooperative and foster leadership qualities in other people.”