GW’s city location is a big asset, but it can at times feel like the campus gets lost in D.C.
The passageway between Rome and Phillips halls is one of the few places that feel like campus, giving students an entry to Kogan Plaza in the heart of GW and a shortcut to places like Whole Foods and JBKO. Student organizations plaster posters onto both buildings because they are seen by hundreds of students in passing, but the University announced last week that students can no longer hang posters in either building because they are flammable materials. Officials’ new rule was made in the best interest of students, but removing one of the most visible spots for students to put the word out about events and meetings hinders campus community and takes away a mechanism to promote student-run events.
Tacking posters onto the windows of Phillips and Rome halls makes students feel like they are walking around a college campus instead of a city with generic buildings on every corner. Student organizations could focus on promoting their groups on social media and in student hubs like the Marvin Center, but they might not attract as many people as a window students can see in passing.
Posters are not just decoration, they are ways for student organizations to inform others about events and meetings. But in order for student groups to attract members, they need visible locations to hang their posters. The pathway between Phillips and Rome halls was an ideal location because it was one of the few central points on campus that the majority of students walk through. Being in the middle of campus is an advantageous place to put the word out, and other spaces like Kogan Plaza and U-Yard do not have suitable spots where students could notice posters.
In the University’s announcement, officials said they are working to find new spaces to poster. But the announcement comes at an inconvenient time because freshmen are settling into college life and student groups are in the planning stages of recruiting more members. Student organizations could take to social media or hand out fliers in residence halls, but the University should be clear about where else student organizations can and should poster before the year picks up.
Like the University suggested, student organizations could post flyers on bulletin boards around campus, but those locations are not as frequently checked or noticed as the hallway between Philips and Rome. The University could consider allowing students to poster between Phillips and Rome halls using fire-safe materials. For example, officials could allow students to poster on the exterior of the buildings using laminated paper to protect them from inclement weather. Student organizations could also use the large wall next to the H Street Marvin Center entrance to hang posters, similar to what Student Association candidates do ahead of elections.
Limiting postering to pillars and bulletin boards will limit the ability for student organizations to perform outreach and will bring down an already lacking sense of community on campus. The University needs to prioritize finding new student spaces for postering and map out specific areas on campus for students to post their announcements.
Kiran Hoeffner-Shah, a junior majoring in psychology and political science, is the Hatchet’s opinions editor.