This is only one of many interviews of all president and EVP candidates. To view the complete series click here.
Aria Varasteh welcomed me into his office wearing sweats and a smile. He seemed nervous, but excited. It’s obvious that he cares a lot about this position.
Varasteh is on the E-board of three clubs: the German Club, Arab Student Association, and the International Affairs Society, in addition to being an active member of several others. He has no SA experience, which could be a deciding factor for voters. However, Varasteh is confident that he’ll be able to bring a fresh perspective to the SA. “I have a lot of experience with clubs and working with the SA in that capacity. I’m familiar with bureaucratic red tape, and I really think I can make a difference,” he asserts.
Varasteh, a junior, has a platform that is high-reaching; however, his enthusiasm is convincing. His platform revolves around finance reform and student organizations. “We know that the SA has had problems with budget management,” he begins, “and we all know about the rumor that they ran out of money in February. They started with one million dollars. Where did that money go?” He doesn’t go into possibilities; instead he jumps into his solution.
When asked about how feasible his platform is, he admits that as EVP he’d really only have two roles: overseeing the Senate and being an advocate. He was adamant, however, that he would fight for the reforms he believes in and work to see them happen. He addressed his lack of experience by mentioning his E-Board positions, from which he has great experience in communicating and budget planning, as well as fundraising and organizing.
Like many other candidates, Varasteh wants to reform the SA co-sponsorship system. “I’d work on fundraising options for clubs, because right now we’ve only got Pita Pit, Krispy Kreme, Campus Fresh, and Crepeaway. Pita Pit and Campus Fresh just aren’t that profitable, and now we’re having zoning problems with the Krispy Kreme fundraisers, leaving Crepeaway as the only option. Crepeaway is great, we make money, but it’s so popular that it’s pretty much impossible to get a fundraising spot. I’d like to investigate new and more profitable fundraising options,” Varasteh said.
Most of Varasteh’s focus is on club funding, and the rest of his platforms are club-centric as well. “I’d love to get Greek life involved with other orgs. They do these great workshops for their members, but they would be even more successful if they had collaboration with other non-Greek organizations. It would look better and work better all around.”
He’s also looking into providing performing space for GW’s A Capella and dance groups. He mentions that currently the dance groups only have spaces in the Marvin Center to practice, and those spaces fill up fast. They get booked within the first week of the semester. To fix this problem, Varastreh wants to look into making spaces like the dance rooms in the performing arts building available. For the A Capella groups, he wants to put pianos into the Ivory Tower practice spaces for their use, or to give them access to the music practice rooms in the Phillips basement.
Above all, Aria Varasteh is an articulate speaker. He spoke about his platform for 45 minutes, without stopping. He truly believes in his goals and aims to complete them. Though he has no formal SA experience, he feels completely capable of fulfilling the executive vice president position and making change happen within the SA.