The SA now turns its focus to spring semester goals.
The Student Association recently released a report showcasing its achievements so far this academic year. GW Today caught up with SA President Peak Sen Chua and Executive Vice President Sydney Nelson to talk about the accomplishments, what’s coming this semester and how students can get involved.
What do you consider the biggest wins for students so far this year?
Ms. Nelson: We’re incredibly excited about the achievements we’ve been able to accomplish for students in partnership with student organizations and administrators. Through Top Textbooks with GW Libraries, students are able to borrow high-cost textbooks for free—so far resulting in savings of over $21,000 for students. In the SA Senate, we rewrote over 40 pages of election reform to create a more positive and inclusive student body elections experience. This spring, we’re partnering to bring Hungry Harvest to campus, so students can use their GWorld to subscribe to boxes of fresh produce at a discounted price. In the largest Student Association sustainability effort ever, we reduced the cost of double-sided printing and are aiming to save a million pieces of paper. Excitingly, we’ve secured more student representation than ever across all levels of the university, magnifying student voices more than ever.
What have SA representatives learned this semester that will inform your work going forward?
Ms. Nelson: This semester, the Student Association partnered with the Office of the Provost to hold listening sessions to gather input on how to improve the student experience. These sessions have been held in conjunction with our role in the Board of Trustees’ Student Experience Task Force. These sessions have proven to be invaluable, as we are able to directly bring student voices to administrators and the trustees. This semester we’ve also been able to develop a strong relationship with President [Thomas] LeBlanc, connecting over our shared dedication to improving the student experience.
What are some of your goals for the rest of the year?
Mr. Chua: This spring we’re focused on how to impact the student experience at the most basic levels: academics, health and food. We’re working to set students up for success before they enter the classroom by expanding access to course syllabi. Additionally, we’re proposing for the university to place resources and attention toward creating an Academic Resource Center to expand upon the current array of skills and services offered to students at the university. Regarding the Colonial Health Center, we’re highlighting the improvements that students need to see. Finally, we’re addressing food insecurity by working with administrators to prioritize affordability and accessibility for all students.
What are some ways students can be more involved with Student Association priorities and initiatives for the rest of the year?
Mr. Chua: We encourage students to share their ideas, questions and concerns with the Student Association by going on GWVoice, our new petition platform. Throughout this semester, students should be on the lookout for emails to attend a listening session run by the Student Experience Task Force, which will form guiding principles that will impact decisions surrounding the student experience for years to come. In March, student body elections will take place, providing opportunities for students to build community and advocate for others by running for positions in Program Board, Class Council or the Student Association.