Trachtenberg gets around on campus

After reading Dave Smith’s column titled, Be `Biggie Joel’ on Campus in the Nov. 6 Hatchet, I automatically agreed with his position. Since the first day of classes I haven’t had a Trachtenberg sighting. And I never saw him at CI because he was unable to attend. I knew what he looked like from pictures and even got a taste for the kind of personality he had via his book and submissions to The Hatchet.

President Trachtenberg’s office hours were advertised for the fall semester, however, my schedule did not permit me to take advantage of them. I wondered when I was going to meet this magical, mythical figure with the initials SJT. When could I put a face to the man?

I finally met our University’s president Nov. 6 at 10:35 p.m. In fact I had the distinct pleasure to shake his hand and speak with him. He asked me where I was from. Knowing that New Jersey is not homogenous, he inquired what part of the state, asked about the education system on the island I grew up on, wanted to know how many people lived there, the size of it. He shared some of his experiences on Martha’s Vineyard. He even sported a hippo-dotted tie.

I wanted to know if he had come across Dave Smith’s piece, and he said he had not. When he asked what it was about, I replied, Well, it was about you. He seemed a bit surprised and asked the specifics. I relayed to him that the author felt that he did not relate to the students. I am glad President Trachtenberg disagreed.

SJT does attend Colonials basketball games. He does eat at J Street. Biggie Joel even whipped out his very own GWorld card under the grouping staff. I found it humorous when he remarked jokingly, How else am I going to eat on campus?

The president of this University does co-exist among students. Just because the author probably hasn’t seen President Trachtenberg around doesn’t mean he is not around. The blanket statement Smith made about most not seeing the president is unfair in my opinion. Poll the entire school. Then if the statement is still true, go ahead and print it.

The president has done remarkable things for the University, many for which Smith gave him credit. GW is the second largest property owner and employer in the District, second to the Federal Government. Yes, President Trachtenberg is a very busy man. He is in charge of a University that has over 17,000 students, hundreds of professors and seemingly countless employees.

Personally I don’t expect him to be as accessible as the president of a small college or community college. I do expect the president to make GW the best school it can be, try to work with students’ needs and show GW spirit. Stephen Joel Trachtenberg fulfills my expectations as the University’s president.

It is impossible to fit a 30-hour day into one of 24; it is impossible to be 10 places at once. It is impossible to please everyone. I both admire and respect President Trachtenberg and look forward to speaking with him again.

-The writer, a freshman, is a member of the Mount Vernon Campus Executive Dean’s Council.

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