Doug Cohen: Students are responsible for campus community

With the opening of the college football season a couple of weeks ago, I’m sure many students thought that if only GW had a 100,000 seat football stadium, then we would truly have Colonial pride.

But we shouldn’t use our lack of a football team as an excuse to avoid addressing the lacking sense of spirit.

If we want a greater sense of attachment and pride to our university, we must celebrate the community that we already have. It’s up to the student body to put an end to this persistent problem.

In response to the perennial complaints about community, the Student Association plans to host a “GW Day” to boost Colonial pride by adding a new campus tradition.

We are not a small liberal arts school with a traditional campus quad and a tight-knit community. And we’re not a large state school with tremendous school spirit. Since GW is a medium-sized research university, students here are forced to associate with smaller, fragmented communities that are often disconnected from the larger school.

But just because we cannot emulate what happens on other campuses doesn’t mean that students should feel totally detached from the University. There’s nothing wrong with students who look to find a sense of belonging in smaller groups of friends.

In February, The Hatchet reported that the various religious groups on campus were failing to spark interfaith talks. This is an example of a time when students were broken into groups and struggled to unite.

Students must work harder to promote stronger relationships between religious groups to create a greater sense of belonging – not just to a specific club or group, but to a larger religious community.

Students will feel a sense of community when they are able to unite under a single, overarching identity.

And while it’s a noble goal for the Student Association to start initiatives like the GW Day, in the end, students have to take an active role in changing their outlook on the University. It’s our obligation to build that community we complain we don’t have.

–The writer, a senior majoring in political science, is a Hatchet senior columnist and former contributing opinions editor.

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