Staff not waiting for disaster

I am writing less in response to the opinion piece by Evan L. Smith (Officials over-enforce alcohol policy, Sept. 14) regarding GW’s alcohol policy, but more in an effort to appeal to the common sensibility of college-age adults. As GW students, you come to campus each year with more impressive resum?s, experiences, GPAs and SAT scores. You are lauded as leaders in student government and leaders in our communities; and yet sadly, each year more and more students come to campus and lose this much-celebrated mystique to the lure of alcohol.

Yes, Mr. Smith, I agree that college students may drink alcohol. But I am confident that through continued efforts of awareness and education, GW students will realize that there are alternatives to alcohol and that if they choose to drink, an awareness of their own physical limitations is essential. Over time, they also realize that many students actually drink responsibly or abstain from alcohol use altogether. As the Community Director for the Hall on Virginia Avenue, I am in full support of the training we provide our Community Facilitators and the way they have put that training into action since school began. I am proud of the fact that all CFs employed by the Community Living and Learning Center understand that their charge is to facilitate the creation of active, safe, communal living environments that assist students of all ages and backgrounds in the process of making the most of their college experience.

Excessive use of alcohol, particularly by underage residents, is not conducive to a college living-learning environment. For every room where alcohol flows freely and students spend weekends in varying states of alcohol-related sickness, at least 10 rooms house students who are studying, enjoying D.C., making friends and preparing for careers without engaging in illegal activity. It is the responsibility of all CFs to make sure the college experience of 10 rooms is not impaired by the activity of one.

CLLC is comprised of professional and para-professional educators dedicated to the growth and development of GW students. We won’t wait for a student to die of alcohol poisoning before we ask our CFs to do rounds on the weekends to ensure the safety of our campus environment. We won’t wait for a student drug overdose before we act on information and conduct searches in accordance with the rights afforded to us in the Residence Hall License Agreement. We won’t wait for drug dealers to invade our halls when enacting a zero-tolerance policy to drug offenses helps keep them at bay. We won’t wait for more students to end up passed out on the bathroom floor, in the emergency room, arrested or suspended from school before we do all we can to make it clear to the University community that alcohol consumption by minors and illegal drug use is not tolerated in our GW community.

I am a GW alumnus, and I will continue to expect the best from GW students. Our current alcohol and drug offender statistics are not the best we can do. We will continue to enforce the alcohol and drug policies, implement new and innovative programs that address the formation of positive social norms among young adults and provide alternative events for students as long as we do what we can to make our campus a model for urban campuses across the country. We won’t wait.

-The writer is community director of HOVA, Lafayette and The West End and is a GW alumnus (’98).

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