Attention political junkies, Hillterns and future senators: You need to represent GW to the Foggy Bottom community.
A vacancy has opened up in Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2A in Columbia Plaza, near the Foggy Bottom campus. And through redistricting, two additional commissioners’ spots will exist after November 2012.
This is an ideal opportunity for GW voices to be shared with the community. Students are responsible for this community where they reside and one way to assume that responsibility would be get involved in the neighborhood’s governing commission.
Georgetown and American universities both have students representing them in their respective ANC districts, but GW hasn’t had a student serve on an ANC in more than 13 years. It is a poor enough mark that GW doesn’t have representation in the ANC, a fact made only worse because other District schools do.
GW has been called the “University that ate up Foggy Bottom.” And rightfully so. The University has grown to take over much of Foggy Bottom and West End; from the name of our Metro stop to the number of students living in Foggy Bottom and West End apartments, GW and the neighboring area are inextricable.
But what the student body hasn’t done is sought commensurate representation in the ANC, which would bring a student voice to the neighborhood’s governing commission and also foster a much-needed honest dialogue with Foggy Bottom neighbors.
No matter how you look at it, GW is far too integrated into the community for us to sit back and let neighborhood decisions be made without our involvement.
The Foggy Bottom and West End ANC has a long history of almost constant resistance to the University’s expansion, most recently opposing the University’s plans for development of Square 54, the University’s sidewalks and parking plans. And students and their Foggy Bottom neighbors have never had the most neighborly of relationships.
The University has to lobby the ANC when it seeks to add to campus or change a zoning policy. If it wants to acquire further properties, the University seeks ANC endorsement. When the University talks about its restrictions from enrollment caps, it is referring to limits that are in part promoted by ANC members. When the University was setting up plans for the Science and Engineering Complex, it kept the ANC abreast of its proceedings.
Clearly, GW has a stake in the decisions ANC commissioners make.
Students also need to gain a better understanding of the community’s needs. The concerns shared by Foggy Bottom and West End residents deserve to be considered by the student body, and so having a student on the ANC would encourage a greater degree of mutual understanding between the two groups of people.
The Columbia Plaza vacancy will be filled through a special election this semester, and the two new seats require a petition to be placed on the ballot.
This staff editorial was updated on Oct. 5, 2011 to reflect the following:
The Hatchet incorrectly said a student hasn’t served on the ANC in more than five decades. Two students served on the ANC in 1998.
This article appeared in the September 29, 2011 issue of the Hatchet.