On the first day of second semester, I woke up at 7:55 a.m. and did my best Usain Bolt impression to get to class on time, sprinting from Thurston to Duques Hall. As a freshman in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, I was used to having class in the Mount Vernon Academic Building, Gelman Library or some other noticeably ill-equipped room. I fully expected much of the same from Duques.
Upon entering, I saw that Duques is a little different. I passed through the nice chrome doors and walked past the flat-screen televisions on the lobby walls. Opening the doors to the Kendall Auditorium, my eyes had to adjust to the crisp light that was being reflected off the beautiful wooden walls. That’s when I realized that there are some discrepancies in facility quality among schools at GW.
Some schools clearly seem to get a little extra attention. The Elliott School of International Affairs and the School of Business are prime examples. Students in these programs enjoy classes held in better, newer buildings with faster, more expensive equipment.
Take Duques. The building is immaculate. The televisions on the walls and perfectly finished wood auditoriums are just the beginning. Well-designed lobbies, comfortable chairs in the classrooms and well-lit rooms are the norm. Now compare that with the crowded dungeon that is the Academic Building on Mount Vernon or Corcoran Hall, where mostly liberal arts classes are taught. The disparity is undeniable.
These perks are well-deserved. Both the Elliott School and the School of Business are among the best in the nation. But what if the less publicized programs had the same quality facilities?
CCAS is not as well-known as GW’s other schools. This is disappointing considering it is the oldest and largest school at GW. But what if facilities for the Columbian College and other lower-tier GW programs were upgraded instead of constructing entirely new buildings? While the proposed Science and Engineering Complex will no doubt be impressive, how about some better desks in the Gelman Library classrooms?
It is important that the University increase its support for those aspects of GW that do not get as much attention. Allocating more funds to upgrade the other schools would not be detrimental to the international affairs or business programs. GW as a whole would be better off for having quality across many disciplines, as we would be able to attract a broader scope of students and increase application rates.
This isn’t to say GW should strive for mediocrity. We have created strengths in our schools of international affairs and business. Now let’s bring up the other schools. As the cliché goes, you are only as strong as your weakest link. So the next time GW is looking to spend some of our tuition money, maybe get some nicer chairs for the Columbian College.
The writer is a freshman with an undeclared major.