So maybe we are at summer camp after all.
The University recently announced that they will soon launch a new campus unity campaign targeting the oft-heard complaint that this campus just does not have any spirit.
“GW Olympathon” aims to bring students together in a competition which sounds reminiscent of middle school P.E. – but instead of promoting physical fitness and exhausting hyperactive 10-year-olds, the goal here is to increase attendance at University-sponsored events by bringing our student body together.
You have to hand it to Student and Academic Support Services. At least they’re trying. Unfortunately, attempts do not always equate to success, especially not in a task as challenging as “bonding” our campus.
This is not to say that SASS is to blame. What action could SASS, the Student Association or any administrative body possibly take that would successfully overhaul the GW mentality? Between internships, classes, part-time jobs and spending time with friends, it becomes impossibly difficult to schedule time for sleep and proper meals – much less spirit-building exercises.
This is a campus of leaders. In making the effort to attract yearbook editors, student body presidents, debate champions and student group founders from some of the nation’s best high schools, year after year GW welcomes in a new class of students increasingly intent on making a difference in some aspect of life in the District.
Soon into these students’ first years, most find their niche in a cause or organization in Foggy Bottom. Participation can be as extensive or limited as desired, but once these lines are drawn, they become very difficult to cross.
While it may be intimidating to try new things and meet new people, the responsibility to take chances belongs to only one person – the student. It is not the job of the University, even in the form of SASS, to bring hermits out of their caves. Those individuals who are intent upon secluding themselves and ignoring campus events will continue to do so even when faced with enticingly named events such as Olympathons.
SASS should not feel like it is their responsibility to mobilize such students; instead, the organization should focus on diversifying its approach and attracting people who are already active in student life – not just in SA life. The current promotion of Kennedy Center shows and outdoor activities provide more points of entry for a student body as unique as ours – and increasing these options will reach many more individuals than ever before.
Let’s let go of the assumption that spirit events will actually attract a majority of this campus. Unless students receive a fair bit of brainwashing, they will not. Instead, we should just focus on getting the most out of this incredible city and location, and rely a little more on ourselves to get the job done.
The writer, a senior majoring in political science and international affairs, is a Hatchet contributing opinions editor.