Matt Galewski and Cameron Smither: GW: Keep your housing promise

The groundbreaking ceremony Oct. 20 at the site of the future Science and Engineering Hall showcased the positive energy toward GW’s campus development efforts. But since the beginning of the academic year, a different feeling – one of frustration – has dominated the minds of students living in the residence halls adjacent to campus construction sites. 

We have spoken with these residents many times, and we all recognize and appreciate the promised value of the Science and Engineering Hall and Law Learning Center projects.

But we also understand the need to keep to an efficient construction schedule. 

What we find to be unacceptable is that the University has not to adhered to the pledge it made regarding construction noise that it set for itself at the outset of these projects.

In e-mail correspondence sent to students living in the residence halls surrounding the two Foggy Bottom construction sites, the University pledged to keep start times for exceptionally noisy construction activity to 8 a.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. Saturdays.

Since then, a number of residents have reported that the loudest construction – construction that can certainly be defined as exceptionally noisy – takes place as early as 7 a.m.

The Residence Hall Association has communicated this persistent and widespread observation to the Division of Operations, and as of now, a full two months later, residents have yet to see an improvement in early morning noise levels.

In fact, when the concerns of residents have been expressed to the Division of Operations, the response has been to ignore the issue or assert that the observations of students living directly adjacent to the projects are false.

An issue this serious – one of significant consequence for the academic, social and personal successes of hundreds of students – deserves to be met with sincere solutions, not disbelief.

It is a busy time of year for students, and between midterms and other commitments, every hour of the day counts.

When GW says that it will not start exceptionally noisy construction until 8 a.m., exceptionally noisy construction should not begin at 7 a.m. It is that simple.

It is time for the University to recognize that residents will not stop voicing their frustrations and that the Residence Hall Association will continue to advocate for residents until sincere and meaningful action is taken on this issue.

Matt Galewski is the RHA President. Cameron Smither is the RHA Executive Vice President and Treasurer.

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