Saige Saunig: What to take from ‘Stuff GW People Like’

A good GW person doesn’t mind the 20 minute wait or a line out the door because drinking Starbucks shows that you are sophisticated, wealthy, totally hip and all-around sexy.”

This is just one description of the average GW student, according to the website, “Stuff GW People Like.” This website – created in December – has been one of the latest crazes to sweep campus.

Its purpose has been to publicize and satirize the various characters at GW. I personally find the site’s descriptions to be an overwhelmingly accurate description of the vast majority of the student body.

This website’s purpose clearly is not to crudely bash our student body. Instead, it is an open forum for someone to poke fun at the various superficialities and forms of expression by which students choose to identify themselves here at GW.

Some may find the postings on this website to be insensitive and offensive. For example, assuming the greater student body has terrible taste in music and pretends to be poor could understandably offend those who consider themselves to be music savvy and those who are actually struggling financially.

The majority of the statements made on this website must be taken with a grain of salt due to their exaggerative and playful nature, but they can also be used to examine how our student body is being evaluated by and portrayed to the public. The typical GW student is a relatively superficial individual who lacks a true understanding of the world beyond his or her homogeneous upbringing, the site alleges. If this assumption is by and large true, or at least based on truth, then the issue our University should be addressing is the need for more widespread acceptance and embodiment of diversity at GW.

And while this website is mostly clever, there are inaccuracies in its categorization of GW students. Many posts focus on our wealth and how we choose to flaunt it. Items such as a BlackBerry, a Longchamp purse, Uggs, a Macbook Pro and the overpriced beverages of Starbucks are said to be some of the necessities of our student body. Since GW is one of the most expensive schools in the country, it is to be expected there are members of the student body who are wealthier than the average student at other colleges. Walking down the Foggy Bottom streets, all of the items listed above can be seen in great quantities, thereby indicating the students here are generally better off financially than others.

It is inaccurate, however, to label every person here as wealthy, or to say every student chooses to overtly flaunt his or her wealth. Even though GW is one of the most expensive schools in the country, it also offers an exceptional amount of financial aid. About 60 percent of students here are on some form of academic or financial scholarship and would not be able to afford to go here otherwise. Therefore, in a way, “Stuff GW People Like” has done the students of GW who are not Longchamp-toting, Ugg-wearing individuals a slight injustice by lumping them into this superficial category.

These postings are funny, and do apply to many students here. But they raise the idea that we should pay even more attention to diversifying ourselves and improving the image we are giving off. This could be a crucial step in strengthening our reputation not only among others here in D.C., but among all college students around the country.

While GW is a diverse school already, you have to admit the vast majority of the statements on this website apply to the students here. And though it is funny, this is not necessarily a good thing. So in the future, while you are standing in line at Starbucks wearing your “Gay for Today” T-shirt and BBMing about if you should go to a bar in Georgetown this weekend, think about whether or not the statements on this website actually apply to GW students. You might find this says a great deal not only about our school, but about our experience here.

Saige Saunig is a freshman majoring in journalism.

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