After reading The Hatchet Thursday, I learned that my eating options at GW were once again being limited because of those pesky rules of supply and demand. Christian Fundamentalism already closed Chick-fil-A for us on Sundays, and now I have Sodexho to thank for the recently announced Saturday closures.
This is the sort of uncertainty we come to deal with and almost expect while at GW. When will the finals schedule be posted? How can I find an engineering student (free printing privileges!) to print out a 20-page paper for me for free? Now, on top of everything else, I need to worry about when I can grab a quick meal in J Street. However, on this campus full of ambiguity, big news that broke during spring break has signaled an end to one of our greatest uncertainties.
Chances are you probably got the news between one Colonials team making it to the Sweet Sixteen and the other not quite making it past the first round. The real news you missed while you were poolside with some mini umbrella-laden drink was the approval of GW’s 20-year Campus Plan.
After months of hearings and conflict with Foggy Bottom residents, GW has emerged with a comprehensive roadmap that can lead the University through the next two decades. Despite a few conditions that weren’t in the original plan, GW has permission to build up the center of campus, focusing development to GW’s core. For the next 20 years, we are set with a game plan to help prevent uncertainty.
By opting out of our current campus plan and proposing a new one before the current 10-year agreement expired, GW affirmed that there are development concerns that need to be addressed for the next 20 years. Some skeptics claim that if GW can’t stick to a measly 10 years, then it can’t endure 20 years of defined development.
The University needs to take this two-decade roadmap as an opportunity to prove such skeptics wrong and rid us of our constant uncertainty. The only way to do this is by setting development on autopilot and revisiting it when the campus plan is set to expire. GW is embracing this plan because of all it allows the University to do, but perhaps the bigger deal is that now there is little to worry about as far as construction for the next 20 years.
Now that buildings are taken care of, it is important for GW to focus on the aspect that will make all of this construction worth it – improving academics. I will be the first person to admit that I don’t know what strategies will boost our prestige and rankings, but I will also be the first to say that plans like a four-credit, four-class system aren’t the answer.
Buildings may be necessary to house world-class programs, but now the time comes to create these programs. Whether it be through increasing funding for research or expanding course offerings on the undergraduate level, GW has more of a responsibility to its students and alumni than ever with the passage of the 20-year plan. We keep hearing that now we can crack into the top 50 rankings because we can build top facilities – well, let’s create the plan that will utilize these buildings for more than just aggravating Foggy Bottom residents.
This goes far beyond dining hours and construction. This is a unique time when GW is in a position to successfully lift itself into the upper echelons of universities both in program and facility. This is an opportunity to dedicate ourselves to a goal and consistency mainstays for the next 20 years.
Of course, none of us will be students at GW in two decades, but chances are we’ll have children who are looking at colleges by then. Do we want to be able to tell them that during our time at GW, the University only built buildings, or do we want to be able to say that GW filled those buildings with vibrant teaching and innovative learning? These are the choices that must be made, and trust me, deciding how to improve academics takes a little more work than picking hours for a food court.
-The writer, a junior majoring in geography, is a Hatchet columnist.