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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Crime log: Subject barred after shoplifting at bookstore
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • February 26, 2024

Op-ed: The long-lasting accomplishments of a fruitful SA year

Ari Massefski is the outgoing Student Association chief of staff and the president of the Residence Hall Association.

When Student Association president Julia Susuni and executive vice president Kostas Skordalos assumed their roles last spring, they brought with them a dedication to service in the hope of making improvements to student life. Through meaningful relationships with students and administrators, they have worked tirelessly to utilize the SA as a bridge between the two groups.

As the SA’s chief of staff, I’ve worked closely enough with Julia and Kostas to know that their selfless dedication to the student body, coupled with their strong leadership skills, has emulated George Washington’s motto “Deeds, not words,” and truly benefited the entire GW community this year. As their terms wind down and the new leadership prepares to take over, it’s important to commend these leaders on their exceptional work this past year.

Our community expects a great deal from its SA leadership. Julia and Kostas regularly speak with students who are looking for assistance, and they meet with administrators nearly every day to convey those concerns.

In addition to being full-time students, they send and receive hundreds of emails a day and are expected to be experts on every aspect of life at GW. They lead our student body in times of joy, like the SA president’s speech to incoming freshmen at Colonial Inauguration, and in times of sadness, like the memorial services they helped organize this semester for Sean Keefer, Benjamin Asma and Lynley Redwood.

From the first days of their campaigns, student access to physical and mental health services was a priority for Julia and Kostas. They knew that bringing Student Health Service and the University Counseling Center back to a centralized space on campus was a lofty goal, but they also knew that it was the right thing to do.

Over the summer and during the fall semester, they researched health care options at similar universities and submitted a 25-page proposal to the administration detailing the rationale behind the move. Their efforts to galvanize student support demonstrated the student body’s desire for improvements in GW health services.

Despite long odds, Julia and Kostas didn’t stop pushing for the change. And in early November, when University President Steven Knapp called Julia to say that he was on board with moving health services to the center of campus, she and Kostas didn’t celebrate because of their own accomplishments. They celebrated because the voice of the student body had been heard – and that could not have happened without the support of students and administrators.

Julia and Kostas’ approach to gather student feedback and work with their team and with administrators has led the University to commit to a seven-year cycle of residence hall renovations and dozens of new Colonial Printing kiosks across campus, in addition to strengthening students’ relationships with administrators and the Board of Trustees. The SA’s projects have succeeded this year because from the very beginning, Julia and Kostas have made sure to put students first.

This year’s student-led initiatives may not affect you until you’re late to class in October and print your paper from the first floor of Ivory Tower, or until next March, when you need to visit centralized health services in the Marvin Center. But through passion and hard work, the lasting changes made by this year’s student leadership leave a legacy that future SA leaders should strive to emulate.

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