On the Hilltop, where other students have friends, Brett Clements (COL ’07) has constituents. Elected in November 2004 to the 2E04 district of the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission, which covers most of the main campus, Clements has been Georgetown’s voice on local issues ranging from area safety to new campus facilities. At the start of the second year of his frenetic two-year term, Clements shows no signs of slowing down.

Why did you want to become involved with the ANC?

Ever since I set foot in Georgetown, I’ve been in love with this neighborhood. I want to do anything I can to make it even better. We go to school in the best college town in America.

What, in your opinion, is the cause of the recent increase in off-campus crime?

Students and Georgetown residents are attractive targets. I went on a late night ride-along with [the Metropolitan Police Department] on a Friday night a few months ago and everywhere we went, we saw students and houses just asking for trouble. I can’t stress enough how important it is for people to walk in groups and lock their doors, both during the day and at night.

Are Georgetown students involved enough with the neighborhood?

Not really. I wish they were more involved. A little involvement could go a long way in improving the view some neighbors have of the student body.

How has your work impacted the relationship between GU and its neighbors?

The main, behind-the-scenes, part of being an ANC commissioner is going to dozens of meetings each month. I always try to bring the student perspective to the table. I think a thoughtful opinion always increases the respect on both sides.

What is the most significant point of conflict between GU and its neighbors?

Noise. Everybody knows that parties get loud and people walking from house to house can be disruptive when someone is trying to put their 4-year-old to bed. I’ve heard students say that the university has been here since 1789 and people should know better than to move into the area. I’ve also heard neighbors say that they didn’t look at the property at 2:00 a.m. on a weekend when students were running wild through the street. A few students make bad decisions that sour the whole relationship. I’ve had to deal with bricks through car windshields and snowballs through house windows.

What are the pros and cons of the new street lights in the area just outside campus?

Pros: No one wants to rob someone in bright lights. Cons: Some neighbors worried that students would congregate in bright areas and make more noise. Lights can also create a false sense of security. People still need to be aware of their surroundings.

What makes GU home?

The bells in the Healy clock tower. You always know what time it is on campus.

Was the spring 2005 call for a stop sign at 37th and P Sts. NW by you and the Johnson-Agrawal Campaign a political stunt? Why was it opposed in August 2004?

I wasn’t involved in the planning or petitioning for the stop sign. I just put it on the ANC agenda and supported it. The ANC actually supported the sign in August 2004, but the District Department of Transportation would not install it based on the type of intersection. An L-shaped turn from a one-way street to another one-way street does not allow for a stop sign, based on the basic laws of traffic regulation. I think the pedestrian crosswalk DDOT installed in the early spring works well.

What is the next issue to be considered by the ANC?

The change in the SafeRides program has been pretty controversial over the past few weeks. We also deal with less sexy issues, like the Board of Zoning Adjustment application by the Kesher Israel Congregation for a nursery school of about a dozen kids.

Do you play a musical instrument?

I sing opera. Seriously. I also play violin, French horn and a little piano.

For what, if anything, do you think you will be remembered after you graduate?

A moose, a horse and an alligator walk into a bar. Which one has its collar popped?

Clearly the Lacoste alligator.

– Interview by D. Pierce Nixon

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