Minor choices have major impacts
As we wrap up the first week of the 2010 academic year here at The George Washington University, I wanted to write to congratulate you on the inspired manner in which you arrived back on campus, ready to take on the serious rigors of academic life at our institution. We see the academic credentials you bring, your impressive extracurricular activities and the infectious commitment to others, and we look forward to a successful and rewarding year together.
Yet despite these accomplishments, before we even held our first class on Monday, several members of the GW community made poor choices regarding the consumption of alcohol and were transported to the GW Hospital because they were extremely intoxicated. As your Dean of Students, this is a concern we must address together, particularly as we head into a long holiday weekend. You will continue to be faced with choices and decisions that could impact not only your future here at GW but the rest of your life.
From my own experience as a student who came to D.C. more than twenty years ago, being able to pursue a degree and participate in a community as rich and vibrant as GW was a life-changing opportunity. But that opportunity was not without responsibilities: a responsibility to fulfill my academic goals, to make smart and healthy decisions and to look out for my friends. From my perspective today, as the Dean of Students, your responsibilities have not changed from those I had.
I expect you to take personal responsibility for all of the choices you make in the life you have created on campus. At an institution as diverse and interconnected as ours, the decisions you make are critical and impact not only you but the entire community. We have a variety of resources available to help you make healthy choices about alcohol but in the end, the decision is yours. When in doubt reach out: speak to a hall staff member, your GPS Guide, a staff member in the Center for Alcohol and other Drug Education (CADE) or the University Counseling Center. If you are ever in a situation when you or a friend is in need of emergency assistance because of alcohol, illness or injury, call the University Police (Foggy Bottom at 202-994-6111 or Mount Vernon at 202-242-6111) who will dispatch emergency assistance.
I hope that as you take time to step back from the books this weekend, you recognize that while you work smart, you need to be sure you play smart too!
-The writer is the senior associate vice president and dean of students at GW.