Golden and Forman Prepare to Lead Student Government

Posted: August 13, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Nick Walker

Claire Forman
Claire Forman

Zack Golden and Claire Forman aren’t your typical Student Government representatives.

A seemingly unlikely pair who barely knew one another prior to their campaign, Golden and Forman won a closely fought election to emerge as Mason’s new Student Government president and vice president respectively.

“I’m really excited to get started,” says Golden, a senior government major.

Golden became involved with Student Government in 2007 as the secretary of university services.

“We created the refillable bottle program in the food court and worked on a couple of other projects to save students paper and money,” says Golden.

Zach Golden
Zach Golden
Photos by Evan Cantwell

Forman, who shares Golden’s enthusiasm about leading Student Government, is a senior with a double major in global affairs and Latin American studies, with a minor in economics. Although she hasn’t had experience in Student Government, Forman serves as a Mason Ambassador.

Golden and Forman met over winter break at a training program for resident advisors.

“I knew that Claire also worked in Admissions and was very involved on campus,” Golden says.

“So I went to talk to Zack on a Sunday, and he already had everything laid out for the campaign,” Forman says. “He already had the entire platform written, though we made several edits along the way. But he had thought this through, and I thought this would be an opportunity to actually implement change, to provide input and see results.”

“I decided, maybe I want to run for office someday, so we’ll see how it goes at Mason,” Golden says. “I thought it’ll be fun to get out and campaign a little bit, talk to people, and promote our goals for Mason and students.”

“The campaign was long and exhausting,” Forman says. “I learned more about the university in the two and a half months we spent campaigning than in the previous two and a half years. We were speaking with at least three student organizations a day for three and a half weeks between spring break and the election. It was eye-opening to learn about what students were doing on campus, some of which I wasn’t even aware of at the time.”

“We talked to a lot of student organizations and reached out to commuters and residential students,” Golden says. “We handed out somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000 flyers just in the last week of the campaign.”

Their efforts paid off, although the vote was close; they won the schoolwide election by a mere nine votes.

Student Government won’t be back in session until later this month, but Golden and Forman have been hard at work over the summer.

“Our overarching goal is to come up with ways of making college life less expensive,” Golden says. “One of the things we’re trying to do is get a new shuttle system to take students around the Fairfax area. It’ll save on gas money if you have a shuttle that can take you to Fair Oaks, for example. We are working on the shuttles with Josh Cantor, director of parking [and transportation].”

“The university is large enough now that this is something we can fathom having, and students will like this now that it is more expensive to have a car on campus,” Forman says. “This would also give freshmen a reason not to bring cars, freeing up space in commuter lots.”

The shuttle service is only the first of several initiatives by the Golden-Forman administration.

“We also want to make sure student input is heard with regard to all of the new construction and services available. The administration is very open to student input so far and very good to work with,” Golden says. “We are working on a couple of flyers on ways to save money here at Mason with Vice President of University Life Sandy Hubler.”

“We want to show students we can take on projects and accomplish things in a period of time in which they can take advantage of the benefits,” Forman says.

When they aren’t working with Student Government, Forman and Golden have been busy with numerous other projects. Golden has helped with summer freshman and transfer orientations, while Forman has been working in the Student Activities office getting things ready for fall.

Golden also serves as an outreach intern on a U.S. Senate campaign. “Basically, I do what we did in our campaign, only on a larger scale,” Golden says.

Both Forman and Golden expect to graduate in May 2009. Forman plans to go to Honduras to teach in an orphanage for an organization called Helping Honduras Kids. She also plans to earn a certificate for Teaching English to Students of Other Languages.

Golden would like to go to law school post-graduation.

“I’m not sure when. Hopefully, I’m going to work on Capitol Hill as a legislative aide for a couple of years first. But I will go as soon as the opportunity presents itself.”

Upon her return from Honduras, Forman plans to enter graduate school herself.

“I would like to get a master’s in international education,” Forman says. “I have a few schools in mind, but I’d like to have a concentration in marginalized populations, such as refugees, orphans, children with HIV/AIDS, dropouts and kids who never enrolled in schools — in other words, the children who are left out when most public education systems are planned.”

Write to at