GUSA’s Community Relations Committee announced a proposal for an Adopt-a-Block program Thursday that seeks to improve town-gown relations.

The project would offer student organizations the opportunity to support a block in Burleith or West Georgetown. Participating groups would be responsible for the beautification of their blocks and for planning events aimed at improving relations between students and their neighbors.

“We hope that this initiative will increase visibility for students in the neighborhood and will raise the awareness of both students and neighbors to each other’s concerns in a more personal way,” Student Association President Kelley Hampton (SFS ’05) said in the written proposal.

Committee co-chairs Jerry Graunke (SFS ’07) and Andy Rowe (MSB ’07), along with GUSA Assembly liaison Ed Duffy (SFS ’07), made the proposal to Director of Off-Campus Student Life Chuck Van Sant as part of a broader discussion on issues involving community relations.

Other members of GUSA expressed similar enthusiasm for the project but emphasized that the meeting was preliminary and that few final decisions have been made.

Duffy said that the committee is still trying to determine the best way to implement the proposal and may choose to assign blocks to individual students or block captains, instead of student organizations.

While no official timetable is in place, Duffy said that the committee hopes to have the project established in some form by Thanksgiving to give students the opportunity to rake leaves and shovel snow for their neighbors.

“Shoveling snow is the quintessential thing we could do,” he said.

Rowe also expressed confidence in the program, though he admitted that some members of the community have raised questions. He also said it would be some time before major action was taken, as the Office of Off-Campus Student Life has been preoccupied lately with the recent fire inspections of off-campus rental homes.

Those inspections, prompted by the death of Daniel Rigby (MSB ’05) last week, have led to the eviction of 43 students from ten homes. Since then 21 students have moved back into two houses. Rigby died in an electrical fire at 3318 Prospect Street, and many Georgetown residents and D.C. fire officials have said that his death could have been prevented had the house met fire safety standards.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.