Letter to the Editor: The solution isn’t to ‘grow up,’ it’s to speak up

I would like to respond to the letter to the editor, “Complaining about construction” (Sept. 26, Page 4). While the letter raises fair points about recognizing the long-term benefits of campus development efforts, it does not do justice to the value and power of the feedback process.

The construction of the Science and Engineering Hall, the Law Learning Center and even the Ames Hall renovation on the Mount Vernon Campus all offer welcome improvements to the Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon campus communities.

The road to these improvements is often paved with inconveniences and disruptions felt by the students living in neighboring residence halls. And while residents should understand that some negative effects are unavoidable, it is important to recognize that many issues can be alleviated and that there are forums where you can and should address your complaints.

The Residence Hall Association has been fielding concerns and working with the University on many of these issues for the past month. While issues that have already been identified are being addressed, it is likely that there are other problems that have not yet been communicated to the University.

It is understandable that most students – even though they may feel the impact of construction activity on a regular basis – decide not to voice their concerns. Often students have more pressing responsibilities to fulfill and can therefore become accustomed to living with the effects of construction. But if only a limited number of students decide to convey their frustrations, there is insufficient pressure to create change.

We should not be deterring students from voicing their concerns, considering the diverse channels of communication that are available. E-mail it. Tweet it. Talk about it. The University needs to be reminded of the impact these projects have on current students.

So the next time you are woken up or bothered by construction, or next time any campus issue that you feel needs to change comes to mind, don’t simply “grow up,” as the Sept. 26 letter suggests.

Instead, I would encourage you to speak up. Let your complaints be heard. This is your GW experience, and it’s within your ability to improve the quality of that experience each day along the way.

Matt Galewski is a senior majoring in political science, is the president of the Residence Hall Association.

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