Lyndsey Wajert: Preserving today’s GW experience

It’s pretty exciting that 2012 marks the 100th year of GW calling Foggy Bottom home. You may have seen that the University has a number of events planned for the centennial, including a new spin on the annual George Washington Birthday Bonfire in University Yard, a discussion about diversity in the Jack Morton Auditorium and a historical walking tour.

I suggest that the University add one more activity to the schedule: burying a time capsule.

The tradition of burying time capsules will allow members of the University to immortalize important objects that reflect the year, and it allows the people who open it to learn more about their past. In many ways, it is like buried treasure; a glimpse into the way things were decades ago.

This is by no means a novel concept. In 2002, the University placed a time capsule behind the cornerstone of a remodeled office. It held photos submitted by faculty and members of GW’s Student Bar Association, as well as a letter from the House Speaker Dennis Hastert, a letter from President George W. Bush and a signed copy of University President Emeritus Stephen Joel Trachtenberg’s book, “Thinking Out Loud.”  

Though these items are impressive, and should shed light on the GW of 2002 once it is opened, I would hope that the time capsule of 2012 would reflect not only how GW has made its home in the nation’s capital, but also how students have made their home at GW. What better way to celebrate 100 years of being in Foggy Bottom than by honoring the places and experiences that have actually made this place our home?

Here are just a few ideas for what we could place in the time capsule:

Three receipts from popular eateries on campus: one from a trip to Froggy Bottom Pub on a Monday for half-priced pizza; one from Whole Foods, to show just how much students in 2012 love buying fresh groceries with GWorld; and one from a Saturday morning trip to GW Deli, with the receipt showing the classic bacon, egg and cheese on a bagel.

Photos from Alternative Breaks trips, preferably including one from New Orleans, as these mementos will show future Colonials how important service has been to GW students for so many years. I mention NOLA because even years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city of New Orleans, these photos would show how there was still work to be done, and there were still students willing to do it. I witnessed that commitment firsthand when I traveled on one of the trips my sophomore year.

Two playbills or programs from performance groups on campus, reflecting how dedicated many students have been to the arts in their time here.

One building pass from an off-campus internship, because no GW experience is complete without one.

A men’s basketball jersey and photos of famous Washingtonians at the games. We may not always be able to boast a winning season, but the program is of growing importance to students. Plus, there is something so GW about hosting a number of famous politicians at our games.

Photos of Thurston Hall, South Hall and J Street, all of which could show students going about their days on campus.

Finally, a letter from University President Steven Knapp talking about his vision for GW, as of 2012, because even after students graduate, administrators stay and their goals for GW do as well.

Maybe in another 100 years, the bicentennial celebration of GW’s move to Foggy will include opening up this time capsule, which could be buried in any number of locations on campus. Though it may not be able to truly capture Foggy Bottom life in 2012, it will hopefully reflect a diverse, involved and growing group of Colonials who, through the experiences these items reflect, have made GW home.

Lyndsey Wajert, a senior majoring in journalism, is the Hatchet’s senior columnist.

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