Over the past seven days, GW has played host to Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Grammy-nominated comedic author David Sedaris, State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley, New York Times columnist Bob Herbert and former White House press secretaries Dana Perino and Marlin Fitzwater.
Pretty incredible, isn’t it? These events showcase a diverse array of interests, talents and experts that appeals to every type of student. The problem is that many students do not know when events like these take place.
The most tragic irony of this scenario: Nearly all of these events were open for students to attend.
It is no secret that many of us chose to attend GW because of the unique opportunity to live and study in D.C. Whether our interests lie in politics, business or elsewhere, the speakers and events that GW hosts offer us the chance to maximize our college experience by hearing from some of the most accomplished people in this country.
To find out more about the way GW currently promotes its event calendars, I went on GW’s website and followed the links under events. These links offer eight different calendars, six under the University calendar tab alone. Yet, there was not one calendar that featured every event, much less in an easy or accessible format. For a University that prides itself on its use of technology, it seems almost incomprehensible that major speakers and events of educational value are essentially hidden from students’ view. Though certain events may have their niche audiences, and some may not be designated for students, there is something to be said about the lack of a cohesive University calendar.
While it may seem overly simplistic, the solution to this problem is to encourage the Office of University Events to coordinate with GW’s many departments by creating a singular calendar of relevant speakers, events and meetings that students should know about. This calendar needs to be located online in a prominent location, a large space on the MyGW page, for example. Moreover, this general calendar of events would be the most effective if it were organized by subject area in order to promote easier access for students. This solution would provide GW with a tool to improve its accessibility and communication with students, and would serve to help strengthen the GW community by improving attendance at major University-hosted events.
Though GW seems to have a Facebook or Twitter account for everything, a simple Colonial calender page or Twitter feed would also provide students with additional means of accessing the details of major events.
Many of us sacrificed the football teams that more traditional universities offer, in order to come to D.C. to have a truly unique college experience. As it stands, GW’s inability to promote incredible events to students prevents us from enjoying our college experience to the fullest. The University is fond of telling us that “something happens here,” but it is high time that it tells us when “something” will be happening.
-The writer, a senior majoring in political science, is a Hatchet columnist.
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