Freshman Day of Service
As the Student Coordinator of this year’s Freshman Day of Service, I would like to respond to the column, “A day of service to GW’s image” (Sept. 18, Page 4).
Contrary to Ali Rosenthal’s opinion, leaders were given extensive training, which included specific site and project information. All freshmen were e-mailed multiple times, and the Interfaith Challenge piece of the day was highlighted, and was also mentioned on every Freshman Day of Service poster on campus. Furthermore, students completed an average of three hours of service on Sept. 11. This, however, is not the point.
The point is that community service is volunteerism, and volunteerism is a choice. The freshmen and upperclassmen leaders who served on Sept. 11 chose to do so. The students, who returned covered in dirt and paint, with huge smiles and endless stories, are the ones who made Freshman Day of Service the success that it was. These students gave back to the community, and they did so with enthusiasm. There are 13 schools in Washington, D.C. that now have colorful, inviting and inspirational displays for young students. Veterans in two service facilities enjoyed conversing and chatting with young college students. Due to cleanup projects, the D.C. environment is much cleaner than it was on Sept. 10. These are the stories that matter.
Most of us came to GW to experience the real world, and having the opportunity to serve alongside cabinet secretaries in impoverished schools is a unique benefit of being in a city. Yet the large majority of 12-hour work days spent planning Freshman Day of Service were spent ensuring that freshmen, leaders and faculty had all the necessary information and were inspired to go serve on Sunday. The appearance of a few notable individuals did not detract from this emphasis or hard work.
Those of us who worked tirelessly to make Freshman Day of Service a possibility and who served around Washington, D.C. on Sept. 11 have made a huge impact on the community. In turn, the community has undoubtedly impacted everyone who volunteered. Freshman Day of Service inspired hundreds of freshmen to get involved, help others and continue the spirit of service that GW is so proud of.
Rachel Krausman, a junior majoring in international affairs, was the Student Coordinator for Freshman Day of Service.
Complaining about construction
We would like to respond to the news article, “Demolition Irks Residents” (Sept. 1, Page 8).
It’s 8 a.m. on a Monday, and a sophomore at GW, awoken by the sputters of a jackhammer, claims her world is unfair.
On a daily basis, student complaints remind us that campus construction is annoying, loud and unsightly. But what often goes unmentioned is that it is also progress. Progress, as an old concrete parking garage transforms into a state-of-the-art academic space. Progress, as a facility that will research how to make vehicles more efficient replaces a building that housed CO2-emitting vehicles. Progress, as GW establishes excellence in science and continues to climb university rankings.
Ultimately, complaints about construction are just a symptom of a larger problem. We call the Vern an “isolated prison” rather than a “peaceful retreat from the bustling city.” We bemoan J Street food as “inedible,” ignoring the fact that at most colleges, similar dining halls are a student’s only option. We dwell on the fact that our sophomore year rooms are “too small,” failing to appreciate the unique luxury of having private bathrooms and kitchens. One would think that we, as students, could appreciate what we have and look past minor issues, but we can’t.
Yes, GW has its flaws. And yes, criticism, in moderation, has its benefits. When unbridled though, it not only loses its weight with administrators, it’s just tawdry. We can do better. We should take pride in the school that we chose to attend. Take a breath, and admire the progress unfolding in front of us.
It’s 8 a.m. on a Saturday. The sound of progress rumbles outside your window. You think to yourself what a hardship it is to be a student. Stop. Realize it’s not just time to wake up, it’s time to grow up.
Cory Trio and Brady Baldwin are sophomores, majoring in political science and economics, respectively.