Project Lighthouse Applications Open, GUSA Executive Pledges Assistance

Washington, D.C. -- A new initiative created by the GUSA Mental Health Committee, Project Lighthouse, was officially announced on January 13, 2016.  The initiative is a student-led and operated effort to expand and improve the quality of mental health resources available to students. The program is a new, anonymous online chat service which will enable Georgetown students to talk to their peers about any issue - from class-related stress and sleep problems to thoughts of self harm. The Peer Supporters will be trained in active listening, and educated in campus resources and pathways to access care.

Project Lighthouse will train its first class of peer supporters over an 8-week period between February and March with the help of professionals from Counseling and Psychiatric Service (CAPS) and Health Education Services (HES). In early April, Project Lighthouse will conduct a beta test to gauge student interest. Project Lighthouse will enter into full-service for final exams this May, and plans to be available 7 days a week during the evenings and nights until 2 AM.

While this program will be independent from GUSA, the GUSA Executive is excited about its offerings and hopes to support Project Lighthouse. "Mental health has been a serious issue for us since Connor and I first began our GUSA campaign," said GUSA President Joe Luther (COL ‘16). "We are thrilled that Hoyas are actively working to improve and expand the mental health resources available to fellow Hoyas."

"Project Lighthouse will allow more students to receive assistance, improve knowledge about professional resources on campus, and reduce the stigma associated with seeking out mental health resources. We will continue to fight for improved resources at Georgetown and are thrilled to help bring this program to Georgetown," concluded GUSA Vice President Connor Rohan (COL ‘16).

Project Lighthouse is seeking applications for its inaugural class of peer supporters. The application is open to any student (Freshman - Junior) who is passionate about mental health support and wants to become a trained peer supporter. The application closes on January 23, 2016 at 11:59 PM and can be found at: http://goo.gl/forms/ddHb85SqvR.

GUSA Executive and the Division of Student Affairs Welcome New Access Coordinator Anisha Thadani

Washington, D.C. – As the new academic year started earlier this month, GUSA, OCAF, and the Division of Student Affairs welcomed the hiring of the a new Access Coordinator and Events Manager. Anisha Thadani was selected for the position in August and began her work at the start of the school year. Ms. Thadani will “serve as the primary point of contact on accessibility issues pertaining to campus spaces and access routes.” Furthermore, she will work to review programming requests and ensure compliance while working to foresee and prevent possible access issues.

This hiring was the result of over a year of student advocacy efforts in order to provide students with disabilities a more unified and coordinated resource for accessing the entire Georgetown experience. GUSA President Joe Luther (COL’16) and Vice President Connor Rohan (COL’16), along with VP for Student Affairs Dr. Todd Olson, welcome the new addition to the Georgetown community.

“We are happy to welcome Ms. Thadani to Georgetown and are excited about the work she will do to improve accessibility” said Luther. “We will continue to work with student advocates both inside and outside of GUSA to make Georgetown a more accessible place for all.”

"We are enthused to have Anisha Thadani join our staff team, and we're pleased to work together with GUSA and our students to strengthen our work on critical issues of accessibility," said Dr. Olson.

GUSA, Georgetown Administration Reach Agreement on Sexual Assault Policy Reforms

Washington, D.C. -- After weeks of coordination with student activists, GUSA and the Georgetown University administration reached an agreement on policy reforms and next steps regarding sexual assault and survivor’s rights on campus. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which was signed by both parties on September 14th, formalizes policy agreements that will serve to create a more survivor-centric campus through bolstering existing resources, increasing outreach, and enacting institutional changes.

Numerous changes and commitments were agreed upon, including:

  • The development and implementation of a comprehensive ongoing educational program centered on bystander intervention that reaches all students by March 1st, 2016;
  • The addition of on and off-campus sexual assault resources to the back of GOCards for incoming students in Fall 2016 and the placement of stickers with resources on the back of all on-campus bathroom stalls;
  • The confirmation that interview slots for the final candidates for Title IX coordinator position will be scheduled for before September 30, 2015, and a commitment to continuously evaluate staffing levels in relation to student needs;
  • The initiation of focus groups beginning in Fall 2015 to review Medical Leave of Absence policies and practices;
  • The completion of a Campus Climate Survey in January 2016.

The full text of the agreement can be read here.

“This agreement brings us one step closer to creating a survivor-centric campus, where students know their resources and where Title IX obligations are fully met.” said Joe Luther (COL’16), GUSA President. “I am encouraged by the success of our meetings thus far with administrators, and am looking forward to continued dialogues and progress.”

“We are very grateful for the brave survivors and student activists who have made today’s success possible.” said Connor Rohan (COL’16), GUSA Vice President. “This agreement is an example of what can be achieved when GUSA, students, and administrators work together to address a pressing issue. With this precedent of cooperation set, I am confident that all members of the Georgetown community can come together to create a more survivor-centric campus.”