CI a vital element of GW
After reading Lizzie Wozobski’s op-ed on the appropriateness of CI (Sept. 13, pg. 4), I stand more convinced that CI in its current form is not only appropriate, but necessary. GW is unique in its urban-campus setting, and CI remains a key instrument in circumventing some of the effects of such a campus. I would argue that most of the lack of campus unity that GW students experience is a result of our urban setting (at least regarding Foggy Bottom). I love GW and the campus, but the fact remains that GW clearly has some image and identity issues, most of which will always be with us.
Rather than traveling across quads we travel city blocks and sometimes highways to get to our classes. Rather than attending school football games in the fall, GW students learn the art of watching college football on TV, wishing that there were a “State” in between the GW and U. CI provides the pride that the urban location seems to deplete. It takes incoming freshman and, for two-and-a-half days, persuades them feel like they’re actually a part of something. I would argue that the ritual of pride is more than necessary. With such a large student body, large classes, no real dining hall and an entire city at their disposal, GW students can easily become lost in Foggy Bottom traffic.
True, some students love CI while others hate it, but regardless of how they view their CI experience in hindsight, all incoming freshman leave CI truly knowing what it means to be a Colonial and what it means to take advantage of the GW experience. For that reason I’m troubled by Ms. Wozobski’s assertion that the one defining non-athletic entity that unites GW students should somehow be curtailed in the future. “A ‘typical’ college orientation may not have the glitz and glamour of CI but can offer other appreciated perks.” True, but GW is not typical, our campus is not typical, and neither is our student or faculty base.
Why then should we amend one of our few legitimate traditions for the sake of being typical? Should Howard scale down its famous homecoming to be cost-effective and typical? Should Georgetown demolish its stony academic structures for more modern GW-esque towers? I think the obviously conclusion is no.
Personally I don’t care if CI is excessive because it’s no more excessive than the prices of replacing the bricks on the facade of Thurston, or that matter the price of converting the fifth floor of the Marvin Center to an ill-used eatery.
Kyle J. Boyer, Sophomore
CI from a parent’s point of view: time for change
I am the parent of an entering student. We live in New Mexico, so along with the five-day journey to CI, we got to make a second trip to D.C. to help our daughter during move-in.
Around the same time, our daughter accompanied a friend to New York City for the friend’s registration and move-in at Eugene Lang. This whole process took two days.
I gave feedback at CI that the process had way too much overhead and not enough solid “how-to.” After listening to my daughter’s experience in New York, I am doubly sure that CI needs to change.
Orientation needs to be combined with move-in. Someone must have told the administration that people do best when they get to practice right after instruction. It needs to focus on one outcome: get ready to do GW, logistically and academically. I walked out of several of the sessions because they were just a lot of fluff. Some of the presenters should be put on a public speaking improvement program.
CI needs to provide succinct, comprehensible information on all the steps necessary to be logistically prepared to attend class on the first day. I find the GW Web sites lacking with regard to the way information and instructions are presented. For example, I couldn’t figure out how room phones work from the STS Web page. Not only that, but STS isn’t open during move-in weekend. How dumb is that? Now my daughter has to squeeze in a visit to STS when she is trying to get her academic bearings.
It needs to be over a period of three days, including move-in day and needs to cater to the students most and the helicopters least. CI needs to drop the khaki shorts, but keep the cabinet. Focus them on doing what they did best, answering questions about their experiences at GW and how to make it through the first year.
Jim Hoffman, Parent