Letter to the Editor

Get ‘Get Gelman Going’ Going

This past Monday’s edition of The Hatchet contained an op-ed piece called “Highlighting the reasons to fix Gelman,November 15″ The piece was written by Ryan Last, a co-founder of “Get Gelman Going,” a movement to push forth renovations in the Melvin and Estelle Gelman Library. But in my two and a half years at GW, I have never encountered an issue with Gelman structurally, functionally or emotionally. That being said, I would like to officially start the movement “Get ‘Get Gelman Going’ Going.”

My movement asks one question: What is so wrong with Gelman? Is it the vast selection of books? The dozens of high-speed computers both upstairs and down? Or maybe it is the plethora of new outlets for all our charging needs! Am I the only student who is content with our school’s library?

In Mr. Last’s piece, he cites several reasons why GW should renovate Gelman, such as a higher university ranking, but only lists one specific example of a problem he personally has with Gelman. It is located in the concluding paragraph:

“I can only hope one day students will have a functional space to hit the books, without having to walk in circles for 20 minutes while searching for a seat.”

In the library, I can, without issue, do the following: Enter and exit 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Check out books 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Use and print from computers with internet access 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Reserve group study spaces 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Study in designated silent areas 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I could go on. It is ludicrous to claim that Gelman is not a functional space – unless I have the definition of “functional” wrong.

I have never wandered around Gelman for 20 minutes looking for a seat. I may fail to find one of the really comfortable blue chairs on the fourth and fifth floors, but I generally find a less comfortable seat and get over it with haste.

I do have to wait five minutes for the occasional printer, but what can the University possibly do about that? Buy a printer for every GW student and faculty member?

At the beginning of his letter, Last writes, “Gelman Library is the only building on campus in dire need of repair that is being completely overlooked by the University.”

Really? What about the decades-old Mabel Thurston Hall? Or the decaying Lisner Downstage? Why would you want to flood millions of dollars into a completely functioning educational resource?

Here is an idea: Start a movement that urges GW to donate those millions of dollars – which it will inevitably acquire from some donor – to the library of a failing District of Columbia public school. And if you personally do not want to give the $50 Voluntary Library Gift to Gelman, give it to www.donorschoose.org, an online charity for classrooms and libraries that are not functional and actually need renovating.

The efforts of Get Gelman Going are commendable. You have put a lot of work into your movement and I respect your commitment to academia at GW. I am all for improving academics, but improving academics is not the same as improving academic perception. Renovating Gelman is not going to increase your grades. Nor will it sharpen your focus – construction noise may actually be a bit distracting. The only thing renovations to Gelman will do is take a mildly ugly, highly functional library, and make it a little less ugly.

Let’s get Get Gelman Going going.

Josh Benjamin is a junior majoring in political science.

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