Editor’s Note: When working with freshman writers, the opinions section put forward a prompt: How do you improve GW? The following column was the most interesting, reflecting the unjaded criticisms of a fresh view.
Let’s face it. GW was not my first choice for school. Actually, the place I had hoped to attend rejected me a long time ago, which is understandable considering the number of students who hoped to join its incoming class and waited eagerly for an acceptance. I, of course, am talking about Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. While I can’t attend the school of my dreams, I can, with the hubris of a first-year, suggest how the school I attend can also achieve such prestige.
Students who attended the fictitious school for young witches and wizards in the Harry Potter series were extremely proud of their institution. Likewise, the GW student body needs to possess a strong sense of school spirit and tout our buff and blue with pride. GW has an active athletics program, a campus location that is the envy of many and competitive academics. With many reasons to be as spirited as Brazilians at the World Cup, I find it surprising that so few students express their Colonial identity.
When I came to GW, one of the first bits of homegrown wisdom I learned – along with never eat the lemon pudding at J-Street – was that good students at GW transfer out after their sophomore years. But if students felt more satisfaction, they would not be as willing to transfer. Building a Harry Potter-esque sense of community would keep those transfer students here.
Whether Hogwarts students were Gryffindor lions or Slytherin serpents, they were infused with an unwavering unity and undying sense of loyalty. As a freshman living in Thurston in this year’s large incoming class, it’s hard to feel a connection to anything and, consequently, it is easy to develop a sense of loneliness. I have seen people forge bonds here that seem eternal, but only through the Greek-letter system. We should take a leaf from Townhouse Row’s book, and try to recreate that sense of identity and unity for all students on campus. Finding a single point of pride is crucial for this – it doesn’t matter if it is a residence hall, a shared major or basketball team.
It’s easy to fall into a tired routine here. Days go by that seem to bleed together, as I have already latched myself to a time table that doesn’t show much intention to change. Spontaneity is an important aspect of the School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, as its staircases change and force the students to explore its campus in a new way every day. We may not have magic to utilize, but GW certainly has the resources to keep things interesting. Just a few days ago, a GW TRAiLS barbecue, rock-climbing wall and information tent in University Yard led my roommate and me to drift from our usual after-gym routine to enjoy veggie burgers and tie-dying with the club members. Events like this, which currently don’t occur often enough on campus, enliven the student body by forcing us to spend less time on Facebook and more time uncovering all of the opportunities that our school provides.
Remember, great success comes from happy graduates. Emphasizing sources of pride, promoting points of unity and ensuring a college experience that is vibrant rather than mundane are all ways to create happy graduates. So even though I don’t foresee Quidditch practices happening on the Vern, or any classes in transfiguration showing up in the GW bulletin, I do believe that if we take some lessons from Hogwarts, we can truly say that “something happens here.”
The writer is a freshman majoring in journalism.
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