Feb. 1, 2019
Sina Nemazi (COL ’21) and Roya Wolfe (SFS ’21) met at Georgetown’s International Relations Summer Program in 2015, two years before enrolling at Georgetown and long before entering the 2019 Georgetown University Student Association executive race. Now, the pair believe their different experiences working with campus leaders will serve as assets in their campaign for greater representation of student voices.
Nemazi and Wolfe’s campaign slogan, “Run For All,” has an additional reading of “Run With All” because of their emphasis on working alongside leaders of student groups in their advocacy, according to Wolfe.
“We want to be able to be a group where people go to for help, to tell stories. We want to be able to be the group that listens, not the group that only speaks,” Wolfe said Sunday in an interview with The Hoya.
Nemazi and Wolfe are running their campaign on the premise of “standing up” for five main points: advocacy for survivors of sexual assault, improvements to dining, women’s basic rights, mental health on campus and sustainability. The pair have centered their platform around tangible goals.
Specific points on their agenda include Title IX and sensitivity training for students working in the Student Advocacy Office, free feminine hygiene products in all campus restrooms and a punch card initiative program rewarding students who use reusable water bottles with a fraction of a housing point.
Nemazi and Wolfe are running against three other tickets: Norman Francis Jr. (COL ’20) and Aleida Olvera (COL ’20); Nicki Gray (NHS ’20); Ryan Zuccala (MSB ’20) and John Dolan (MSB ’20). The election is set for Friday, Feb. 8.
The pair are the only sophomore ticket on the ballot this year. Former GUSA president Kamar Mack (COL ’19) was the most recent sophomore to win the election in 2017.
“We’re the only ticket that are both sophomores,” Nemazi said Sunday in an interview with The Hoya. “We don’t have to be in this seat to be able to fight for these things. But obviously it’s nice to be able to propose a budget and have that push to see things through.”
Nemazi, who is running for GUSA president, currently serves as GUSA’s dining policy chair as well as the director of communications for Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service’s student-run online publication, “On the Record.”
Wolfe, Nemazi’s running mate, works for Uncommon Grounds, an on-campus coffee shop owned by Students of Georgetown, Inc., commonly known as The Corp, and is a former member of the Georgetown women’s club ultimate frisbee team.
Nemazi’s experience as GUSA’s dining policy chair will also play into the pair’s platform for dining reform at the university. The pair is pushing an initiative to increase the value of a meal swipe and the number of flex dollars a student on the meal plan receives, as well as attempting to expand the hours of various Aramark dining locations.
While Wolfe does not have previous GUSA experience, she said that her status as a GUSA outsider minimizes her bias going into the position and increases her approachability as a candidate.
“My inexperience can make an advantage because I don’t have any biases to anyone in GUSA, I don’t have any liaisons or agendas to make one thing pass or one thing not pass,” Wolfe said. “I’ve never done anything like this before. This is a journey for me, and this is very new, but it gets exciting and it gets more interesting and hopeful every day that goes by.”
Nemazi originally planned his campaign early last fall with Harrison Nugent (SFS ’20). But over winter break, Nemazi reconsidered their pairing because of the need for his running mate to be better versed in addressing the relevant issues of Title IX and sexual assault on campus. Wolfe, who was initially part of the campaign as its women’s rights chair, took Nugent’s place.
Nemazi and Wolfe both said that having an all-male GUSA executive was not what the campus needed in the current climate.
“There are certain issues on campus that two males cannot stand for,” Nemazi said. “Roya told me, ‘You need me on your ticket,’ and I said, ‘I do.’ In the best way possible.”
Both candidates said the ultimate goal of their campaign is not necessarily to win, but rather to make sure their platform and its ideas for change are heard.
“We want to give a voice to people on this campus, and that goes beyond the election, it does, it goes beyond who wins or not,” Wolfe said. “Winning is not our priority. What we are afraid of is that our message won’t make it to a greater scale. What we want to get done won’t get done.”
The two candidates plan to work closely with student activists to see how GUSA can help them achieve their goals, according to Nemazi.
“There are student groups on campus who are better versed in, for example, mental health or sexual assault than we are. So my plan is to help guide them to do their work,” Nemazi said. “We can basically just say, ‘What have you been doing, what do you need to do and how can I help, how can we help, push this through the administration, what resources do you need to continue to do the great work that you do?’”
The pair also underscored their openness to challenges to their platforms and policies for the sake of accountability, according to Nemazi.
“I’m sitting here telling you that I don’t have all the answers, I can’t 100 percent say that I’m going to, you know, bring everything about,” Nemazi said. “But I just want people to criticize us in the work that we’re trying to do because that’s how you improve campus life.”