The dorm room party is a great part of life at GW and most colleges nationwide. Everyone knows that they happen, and they can be a lot of fun. While they are usually on the smaller side, they allow friends to get together before going out or have some fun when there are no big parties going on. But what students at these parties don’t always realize is that their neighbors may be trying to study or get to sleep early. And here is where the trouble starts.
This will understandably annoy a student who is trying to sleep or do some work. While an initial reaction may be to call the University Police Department and let them handle the situation, why not simply ask your neighbor to keep it down? The intention of the partiers is not to keep up all their neighbors. Instead they are looking to have a good time, and most certainly not to have UPD arrive at the door. A simple knock on the offender’s door cannot hurt you, and in most cases will result in the party ending on its own or the noise level going down. I know because I have done it before. Too often students are not willing to give that simple warning that could make someone else’s night that much easier. How deteriorated has the sense of community at GW become that students are not willing to communicate with their neighbors?
The University tries to encourage students to continue to interact with their neighbors after freshman year. This effort is complicated by the change to apartment – style housing and the fact that after freshman year many of us already have a group of friends and do not have the need to go out and meet everyone on our floor. I know that I’m not out in the hallway trying to meet new people as I did freshman year. As a freshman, you personally know almost everyone on your floor and there is a sense of community there. When too much noise is coming from a room, few people’s first reaction would be calling UPD on someone they consider a part of that community. I do not have a problem with the fact that this closeness does not exist in upperclassmen dorms, but to see it drop to the level that it has reached is depressing.
GW cannot force community on us, and after college no one is going to be organizing ice cream socials. But GW can encourage students to handle issues on their own. GW can emphasize trying to deal with your issues on your own first, before contacting UPD. GW could also have UPD ask people who call in with noise complaints if they have tried asking their neighbors to quiet down. Just asking that simple question may be enough to get that student to go to the door of the offending room and ask them to quiet down, without getting UPD involved.
We are all still students at GW, and we are all still neighbors. Too many times this year I have been told of rooms getting busted because a neighbor called UPD without even the slightest warning to the offending room. We may not all be friends, but there should be a minimum sense of community that exists between us on campus. Who really wants to see UPD write up their neighbors?
So next time you are in your room and you hear the thump of music coming through the walls, don’t reach for your phone. Instead make a trip and visit your neighbors. Ask them to turn it down, and see how that turns out. At the very least you will now know that they live on your floor, and you won’t need to ask them what button they need pressed on the elevator.
The writer is a junior majoring in international affairs.