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Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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President: Keanu Rowe

Rachel Schwartz | Assistant Photo Editor
Keanu Rowe, who serves as chief of staff under SA President Christian Zidouemba, said his experience in the executive cabinet led him to create policies he thinks are “both attainable and completely feasible.”

Year: Junior
Major: Political science
Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii
Student organizations/activities: Intramural basketball, Campus Living and Residential Education operations assistant
SA experience: Executive chief of staff
Favorite restaurant in the District: Le Diplomate
Your favorite “Only at GW” moment: Participating in the MLK Day of Service and Leadership with Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge
Favorite class: Film Theory with Michael Shull
Go-to study spot: Sixth floor of Gelman Library
Role model: My father
Moniker choice: Blue Fog
Deli order: Bacon, egg and cheese on sourdough

Keanu Rowe looks to bring a sense of family from his hometown in Hawaii to the Student Association.

Rowe said improving students’ perception of the SA starts with “changing the culture,” and he hopes to replicate the sense of community prevalent where he grew up in Honolulu with the professional aspirations at GW embedded in D.C. He said as president, he plans to go to students directly and bolster the University’s sense of community through University-wide initiatives, like a field day and monthly community service opportunities in hopes of supporting and uniting the student body.

“My unique background being from an island in the Pacific Ocean has made me more community-oriented and community-minded because we’re all we have,” Rowe said. “I would like to apply this kind of mindset that has been instilled in me at a very young age to this office.”

Rowe, who serves as chief of staff under SA President Christian Zidouemba, said his experience in the executive cabinet led him to create policies he thinks are “both attainable and completely feasible.” He said his work as chief of staff was “at the discretion of the president,” and he regularly attended senate meetings and facilitated communication between senators and executive branch members.

“Connecting people has been a huge part of this position,” he said.

Rowe said he feels there is a general lack of school spirit across campus, which he hopes to bolster through events like his field day idea. Rowe said for the event, he would collaborate with Fraternity and Sorority Life and student organizations to plan activities like basketball, Spikeball and volleyball on green spaces around campus and inside the Lerner Health and Wellness Center.

“The main purpose of this is attracting as many students as possible through activities we all like,” Rowe said.

Rowe’s platform also includes enhancing safety infrastructure on campus, like the blue light system and SafeRide. He said while working with Zidouemba, he was able to work with GW Police Department Chief James Tate to discuss campus safety.

“One of the good things about Christian’s administration was regular meetings with GWPD Chief Tate, and I’d like to continue that great relationship,” he said.

Rowe said he plans to assess where the University could install new blue light phones to improve the range of the cross-campus system. The University had 39 blue light systems installed across campus in 2014 and added “several” in 2017.

“The most essential thing a University must provide is student safety, first and foremost,” he said.

He said he also hopes to improve the accuracy of estimated arrival times for SafeRides after hearing complaints from students about extended delays. The University expanded SafeRide to 2400 M Apartments, The Flats at Dupont Circle and the Lincoln Memorial in 2021 in response to advocacy from former SA Vice President Kate Carpenter.

“It’s been very spotty,” he said. “And they’ve been told one time, and it’s just been far, far off from that.”

He said he would seek additional revenue for the SA from external sources, like nonprofits, to fund student organizations and host monthly community service initiatives in the D.C. area.

“If you vote for Keanu, what you’re voting for is uniting a stronger campus and leading with accountability, responsibility and agency,” Rowe said.

Erika Filter contributed reporting.

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