Campus Claustrophobia

Georgetown University has a sizable problem: It is too small. As the university continues to cram more students to live in the same, relatively tiny amount of space, campus has become unbearably crowded. Construction this year has cut off spaces to students, inducing claustrophobia on an already small campus while simultaneously lengthening travel times.

This fall, construction on the Northeast Triangle residence hall, scheduled to open in the fall of 2016, required the closing of the Leavey Center bridge and Reiss walkway areas, removing key arteries for student travel and replacing them with less useful pathways. The ensuing logjam of students in those areas on class days was by no means crippling, but it was an impediment to student traffic. With graduation upon us, many seniors and their parents will face the same issues as they traverse the campus.

The construction projects themselves cause a significant amount of noise pollution, which can prove disruptive to student life in a variety of ways. Any student who lived in New South last year during the construction of the Healey Family Student Center or in Henle Village during the ongoing construction of the NET this year can attest to this.

If these inconveniences were only temporary, there would be little reason to fret. However, to meet the student housing requirements outlined in the 2010 Campus Plan, which aimed to house 90 percent of Georgetown students on campus by 2020, the university has essentially promised to be in a perpetual state of construction. This move seems without much consideration of the plan’s impact on students given on the part of the university and without mobilization on the part of students in voicing their concerns in negotiations. Such a state entails logistical issues under which currently enrolled students will finish their undergraduate careers.

Georgetown students have an opportunity to lessen this burden by voicing their concern over these construction projects as the new campus plan negotiations take shape. The information sessions and town hall discussions that will presumably take place as the 2018 Campus Plan comes underway require the presence of a unified voice speaking out against this rapid escalation of construction, which will hopefully prevent intensification of already existent problems.

However, with many of the projects already in progress, the university administration has a role to play, as well. By taking steps with students in mind and ensuring an efficient flow of student traffic and completing construction of buildings adjacent to residences over the summer, the university can exhibit its commitment to student life. These efforts would go a long way to show that the relationship between students and the university does not have to be sacrificed in order to maintain the one between the university and its neighbors.

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