This has certainly been a busy time to head any publication. But to be at the heart of the activity during such historic times is something for which there is no preparation.
Considering the number of GW students from the New York area, it is surprising that none lost a parent in the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. It is also important to note that despite anthrax scares around the District, no student, professor or GW staff member has fallen victim, and no anthrax has been found. But that’s the good news.
The psychological effects of Sept. 11 and ensuing events on college students, particularly in the District, are immeasurable. We report weekly on anthrax scares, tests and precautions. Our heart jumps when a plane flies over the Pentagon, and we see international students on campus just a bit differently now even though we don’t want to.
But another interesting thing has happened as a result of Sept. 11 – a GW education has taken on a whole new meaning. We talk with students daily about terrorism, the Middle East, globalization, human rights, war and democracy. Professors work current events into their class material, and panel discussions bring GW’s many nationally recognized experts out of the woodwork.
We see the effects of terrorism in tightened security just blocks off campus and pay special attention to new developments to see how they will affect our daily lives. Anthrax at the Senate or State Department means a trip to the GW Hospital for many.
While these are tragic times for our country, they are also exciting times for students who are faced with issues we never explored before. How do we act patriotic while maintaining a healthy skepticism? What does it mean to be American? We challenge ourselves to think globally rather than in the first person, to respect views different than our own and to remain tolerant in intolerant times.
A candlelight vigil that draws thousands of students to the campus Quad for Sept. 11 victims is in many ways sad, but it also reflects a strength people in our generation weren’t sure we had. Hallway debates about democratizing foreign governments with different cultures are draining, but they push us to think beyond the confines of normal college life.
I have enjoyed examining our generation’s response to tragic events with our staff. We will pull together everything we found in a special issue in December so that students can take a step back to reflect and then store these memories to remember this critical time. We only wish advertising sales could keep pace with the amount of information we have to share with people