In an effort to write a Back Page article reminiscent of those of old, I will start with a complaint: Georgetown students do not get involved. Perhaps this should be qualified —approximately 97 percent of Georgetown students do not get involved. The remaining three percent are overworked, overstressed and underappreciated.
Evidence for the first statement: multiple organizations, clubs and groups on campus do not have the necessary critical mass of participants to function effectively. While I believe this to be true across the board, I will cite only those examples which I know from firsthand experience to be lacking in man/woman power.
The Student Abolitionist Movement (SAM) is a worthy cause; it is an anti-slavery movement. Sounds good and like something that a Christian college (or any conscientious group) should support, right? However, in the 2012-2013 school year, a small group of officers planned multiple meetings in which the only person to show up was the faculty adviser. Let me repeat that— no one showed up! This year has only been worse. The only active members of SAM are three officers— all of whom are seniors. Really, Georgetown?
Then there’s the Georgetown Sustainability Initiative (GSI). This is campus’s environmental or green movement. Meetings usually consist of only a few students. This semester, four students have consistently shown up. Four students! Granted there are about three students who are involved outside of meetings, but let’s do the math — that’s still only about seven students on this campus who feel that efforts to make Georgetown more sustainable are worthwhile. Really, Georgetown?
Let’s talk about Habitat for Humanity. This is a well known, international organization that builds houses for the underprivileged. A good cause, yes? Guess how many students are actively involved? Five. Really, Georgetown?
Dance Marathon is an annual event that raises money for the Children’s Miracle Network. In its third year (spring 2013), participation was down with only about 50 participants (many of whom did not stay for the whole night of activities). GC raised $6,000. That is not a number to scoff at, but in 2012, the school raised about $11,000 and had about 100 participants. Great things are possible when people come together. Why did we backslide? Really, Georgetown?
One might look at these facts and say that Georgetown students are just not into charities or social justice issues. While that has dangerous and disturbing implications of its own, it is not the only issue. There are other areas in which we are also unfortunately lackadaisical.
Intramurals are one example. While some sports, such as volleyball and basketball are well attended, individual sports are a joke. As an Independent, I always sign up for every individual sport because it’s an easy way to earn points. Let’s be honest — I can’t hit a tennis ball to save my life, but I won second place in individuals this year. How did I earn this rank? I played one game and lost. Yes, there were only two of us who participated in this intramural sport. Really, Georgetown?
What about Tiger Tunistas, our women’s a cappella group? Attendance is low. There are talented singers on this campus. I’ve heard them! But only a few of them get together for this small, low pressure performing group. The George-Tones, GC’s male group, is not active this year at all. Really, Georgetown?
Tragically, the list could go on and on. Small campus groups with good intentions consist of only a few students. The same three percent or so of students stretch themselves too thinly over many groups (I am so guilty of that — I am or have been involved in all of the groups listed above, plus many more). These students are stressed and cannot fully devote their energies to any of their causes because they are so overcommitted. Where are the other 97 percent?
Let me challenge you, campus (though I realize that a percentage even smaller than the active three percent actually read this newspaper). Get involved. But not overly involved. Choose a cause, (or two, or maybe even three) to devote your energies toward and then commit to the cause. This is a time of unique opportunity for us, a time when we are surrounded by like-minded people and equipped with the valuable resources of a college, campus and faculty who are willing to support our efforts and help us grow in knowledge and practice.
If underclassmen don’t get involved soon, many of these senior-led groups will crumble next fall. The organizations will literally cease to exist. Step up Georgetown. Step up.