How to save a D.C. landmark

It is an unusual place. In its 75 years of business, Sholl’s Cafeteria has served food to both politicians and the homeless. As it faces the real possibility of closing its doors for good, an opportunity arises for the Student Association to save itself from its dismal year and prove it can be an effective body.

In my current job at city hall, I have been attending meetings with local government officials, agencies and community activists, all of whom are discussing ways to help Sholl’s stay in business. The problem facing Sholl’s is one of economics. The new owner of the building is going to raise the rent, and Sholl’s just doesn’t have enough money to afford the space. Each person I met tells me the same thing: The most efficient way to help Sholl’s is get more customers in there.

GW students are not that familiar with Sholl’s. Despite its good location (19 and K streets) and its remarkably low-priced food, GW students are not regular customers at this D.C. landmark.

Enter the SA.

The SA should begin a campaign to promote Sholl’s to GW students. Fliers, e-mails, posters, advertisements, the works. The entire SA Senate should have lunch there next week and then report back to their constituents on the restaurant. SA President Carrie Potter should bring her entire cabinet to Sholl’s along with other student group leaders.

Some say GW students are not that interested in going to a place like Sholl’s. Nonsense – they just don’t know it exists. I did a little unscientific poll in J Street last week. I asked some students if they know what Sholl’s is and where it is located. Almost all of than had no idea what I was talking about.

Willie Sutton once said when asked why he robbed banks, “it’s were the money is.” Why would GW students go to Sholl’s? It’s where good cheap food is. Since when are GW students not interested in good cheap food?

It is a golden opportunity for the SA. It may be its last chance to salvage some respect from the student body. What better way to respond to an election gone haywire and an administration that never got going, then to launch an all-out effort to save Sholl’s?

If the SA were successful and brought students to Sholl’s, then it could be partly responsible for saving a D.C. institution. Not bad for an organization in chaos. In fact, this could be the turning point for the SA.

The opportunity is there, the only question is, will they seize it?

-The writer, a senior majoring in political communication, is press secretary for D.C. at-large Councilmember Harold Brazil.

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