Last April, over a third of the undergraduate student body rallied to advocate for a student voice in master planning by participating in the “Let’s Not Get Screwed Again” campaign. The movement pushed for issues regarding off-campus housing, building renovations, new construction and the need to create space for student voices in the campus plan negotiation. These same issues remain just as important in this year’s campus planning process, though students’ efforts to raise their voices during recent negotiations have paled in comparison.
The petition’s signatories recognized the importance of students’ opinions in negotiating the contract between Georgetown, the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission and the D.C. government.
However, when executive elections for Georgetown University Student Association came around this year, the absence of a significant master planning campaign made it seem that the students lost the sense of urgency they once felt regarding master planning. Students should continue to remember the value in students’ opinions in these decisions, and continue to voice concerns over the 20-year campus plan in all upcoming GUSA campaigns and elections. If they do not, students could get screwed, again.
In fact, the issue is now more important than ever. The Georgetown Community Partnership Steering Committee – the body of administrators, community leaders and students responsible for drafting the next 20-year campus plan – is slated to consider a draft plan at its April 22 meeting.
The draft will include decisions and compromises that will have major implications for life on the Hilltop over the next two decades, including plans for housing, transportation and student spaces.
The plan will likely be approved after the meeting, with more negotiations to come this summer. As negotiations continue, students’ vested interests will only be met through consistent activism, student pressure on GUSA and further engagement with the Georgetown neighborhood.
Given its broad scope and long timeline, master planning might not present itself as the most pressing issue — but those very characteristics speak to its paramount importance. Administrators must reallocate resources toward whatever the campus plan agreement calls for, impacting anything from Counseling and Psychiatric Services to trash collection.
The neighbors in the Georgetown community present a strong coalition, and have the right to lobby for their interests. Yet, as a campus with thousands of students, we have the ability to send a loud message to neighbors about our interests as well.
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