Bradley Dlatt: Successfully taking on snow and students’ needs

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Let’s face it. We are all truly fortunate to be living in Washington D.C. This town has provided many of us with experiences that few, if any, of our peers at large state schools will ever get during their college years – or possibly their entire lives. By living in D.C., we have gotten to witness history being made every day, and each of us has a front-row seat as the decisions that will shape our world for the foreseeable future are being made. But in the past two weeks, we have all lived through a different type of history: the biggest snowfall to hit the District in more than a century. In fact, D.C. has received more snowfall in the past four months than major northern cities like Chicago and New York.

Often, it seems the GW administration receives criticism for turning a deaf ear to students and running this University like it is a business, and not a service. Students support this claim by citing the contract situation in J Street or mentioning the seemingly constant financial burden on students in the form of inane fees and charges.

In dealing with the unprecedented snowfall, however, the administration has broken this trend and performed outstandingly. The University did an excellent job of publicizing where students could look to find out if classes were canceled, and they made sure to make the decision at a reasonable hour, saving students from going to bed and wondering whether they must wake up for class. The University also provided listings of where students could go for entertainment and food, which was impressive, considering much of Foggy Bottom and the greater D.C. area had closed down for the week. Decisions were made in a quick, efficient manner, with the University doing its best to ensure that most on-campus facilities were able to operate during the storm. This provided students with the services we all need and demonstrated a commitment to serving students that has often appeared secondary to business concerns in the past.

The past two weeks have been a valuable step forward as the administration stepped up to the task of dealing with a state of emergency. Between the availability of information and the expansion of services, including weekend hours at J Street, and the absence of nickel-and-diming students on services like bowling at the Hippodrome, the University has shown the student population that there is hope for improvement. If GW can perform all year round like it has recently – communicating effectively, maintaining the availability of key services, and truly listening to the needs of its students – then there is no reason why major student issues can not or should not be fixed. If the University can maintain this level of success, then GW will become a markedly better place to live and learn. Most importantly, these improvements will translate to a happier student body and potentially to a rise in the all-important college rankings.

On the other hand, it is no secret that many students are upset with the way the rescheduling of classes has fallen, causing many students to have multiple classes with minimal turnaround before final exams. Still, students creating and joining a Facebook group of more than 1,000 people to protest this schedule seems both selfish and immature on our part. We were given a gift that most college students only dream of: having a snow-day-fueled break, which for those who did not have Friday classes was longer than actual spring break. Students who are unhappy with the new schedule should consider what the alternatives were: either eliminating or shortening our spring break, causing us to lose that necessary week in Miami or Mexico, or extending the school year another week. The option of extending the school year would take away from our summer vacation and force seniors to wait an additional week to graduate. We as students must accept the solution provided by the University and appreciate the mid-semester break which we have already been given.

History is made every day in this town and we, as students, get the benefit of seeing it happen. As midterm season descends upon us and the reading that we have put off for 10 days begins to stack up, let us take a moment and be thankful for a week of snowball fights, movies and relaxation instead of ruining these memories with undue malice toward GW administrators. We as students should appreciate that the University went above and beyond to ensure there were places to eat and activities for us to do during a time in which the rest of this town sat idle. While it is great to see student initiative rising from an often apathetic student body, it is time for us to finally give GW its due and shift our focus to the problems that actually need solving.

The writer, a sophomore majoring in political science, is a Hatchet columnist.

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