Gabriel Okolski: Don’t forget G-Dub

It’s a very scary time for me. With the class of 2006 done with their GW undergraduate experience, my college career is next on the chopping block. After that, the raucous fun ends, and it’s time to file my own taxes, pay bills and find a real job.

My message to the class of 2007 is enjoy yourselves – we still have one more year, so let’s make the most of it. More importantly however, I have a message for all the recently graduated GW alumni: though you may no longer be studying at this University, your commitment to GW is not done.

In particular, I am referring to your commitment to make GW better – not only to increase the worth of your own degrees, but also to make it a better place for future scholars and partiers alike. Though contributions to one’s alma mater can be made in a number of ways, the most likely form for the class of 2006 will be through monetary donations. Simply put, as the numbers on your paychecks get higher, don’t forget your alma mater.

I am not urging the latest batch of recent graduates to blindly hand over their cash to this pillar of higher education. Financial giving should be based on what a former student feels the quality of his/her GW experience was like, among other personal factors. What I am urging is that you at least keep GW in the back of your mind in future years when you’re the one rolling down the street in a Porsche as I walk to class.

While GW may be fresh in the minds of you recently commenced individuals, it may not be in the future. The men’s basketball team’s incredible season surely brought our campus together, but we still lack the gargantuan school pride and spirit that ingrains itself in students’ brains for life. From my experience, many students see GW as a stopping point in their lives; a place whose convenient location will provide a good place to get some internship experience before beginning a career as a political consultant/political strategist/political anything.

Though the most obvious way to boost school spirit may be through students themselves, alumni are an important step in this connection. By donating money, writing letters to The Hatchet and administrators and showing up at all those alumni events, you can send the message that Colonials are forever proud of their school. From a more practical standpoint, a committed alumni base helps to increase the recognition of any university, which in turn fuels prestige, which makes it easier for the big guys in Rice Hall to attract great professors and build great programs. It may sound far-fetched, but I believe that alumni can have a part in dramatically changing how people see GW.

An active alumni base will also have numerous benefits for future classes. Remember how much you hated paying high tuition? Or how a number of our buildings carried lame names like “New Hall?” Or, more seriously, how the University had its hands full balancing academics with GW’s facilities and infrastructure? You have the opportunity to help change these aspects of this school so that future classes will have more important problems to reckon with.

I am glad to see the class of 2006’s commitment to GW’s future through its class gift, a community service endowment. I hope that this feeling grows stronger as the years go by. It may seem inappropriate for someone who is still a student to be preaching for this, but I am able to provide perspective on the matter from someone who is still well-connected to GW.

As your lives become filled with more pressing concerns, my hope is that a little hippopotamus remains in the back of your mind. After all, you may be the one to save New Hall from its lame name.

-The writer, a senior majoring in political science, is Hatchet opinions editor.

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