This has been a trying semester for the GW community. Mourning the loss of four of its members in only a few short months has thrust inherently painful, adult issues and emotions on our campus community. Many other colleges and universities across the country have been dealing with equally tragic circumstances on their own campuses. New York University has been affected by a series of student suicides; Brandeis University dealt with a drug-related student death. The prevalence of such tragedies underscores how essential it is for college students to constantly evaluate and understand the limits of their own mortality.
As college students, we’ve all participated in risky activities and sometimes have gone too far. And while this semester’s tragedies do not appear to have resulted from such activities, they serve as poignant reminders of what could happen. Every Thursday The Hatchet publishes its Crime Log, a bulletin that often contains accounts of students suffering from severe alcohol poisoning or drug overdoses. Perhaps one thing students could take from these recent tragedies is that it might not be worth taking that extra shot, or trying a new drug.
Given the reality of an expanding student body, University officials must ensure that the infrastructure to help students cope with tragedies continues to grow. The University should continue to expand, evaluate and improve the University Counseling Center. In addition, it should strive to make sure grieving or troubled students are aware of the services available to them.
Over many generations, adventure and experimentation have endured as defining characteristics of the college experience. And while college students will continue in this tradition, they must continue to be conscious of the decisions they make. In any such situation, the best place to turn is to your friends. Friends should look out for one another and remind each other that having fun is great, and doing so safely is even better.