In the past two weeks, many students have waxed philosophical about Georgetown’s status as a great university. Some claim that the Office of Student Programs is to blame. Others lay fault on the alumni, blaming them for not donating enough money. Still, more people criticize the student body for being too career-oriented and ignoring the beauty of knowledge. But none of these are why Georgetown isn’t a great university. Georgetown isn’t great because of the weather. I’m serious. When I was growing up, television burned into my developing brain a clear image of what collegiate life was like. The campus is full of gothic academic buildings. In between the buildings are student-filled yards, covered in green grass and dotted with trees. The trees are red and yellow; the autumnal breeze tugs the leaves off the trees and blows them among the students. Two of the students in the yard pause from their intellectual discussion to pull the zippers higher up on their jackets as the wind nips at their exposed skin. This is what the young are taught to believe college is like. People talk about intelligent things. The leaves are ruddy and the air is crisp and cool. In short, it’s New England weather. And this is where the elite school comparison comes in. Harvard is in Boston. Yale is in Connecticut. Dartmouth and Amherst are also in New England. Princeton and Penn are not in New England, but they are pretty damn close. All these schools are in cold states, where the fall wind sweeps through in mid September. From the minute students step on campus, they are ensconced in autumn and academia. You feel like you are in college. This is not Georgetown. When the freshmen arrive in Lot 3 and make their way to Copley Lawn, they do not see people in sweaters and jackets. They see people wearing halter tops and tee shirts. Now, I’m not criticizing Georgetown students’ taste in clothing – no one approves of shorts, tee shirts and halter tops more than me. But how can a new student consider Georgetown an elite school if his first impression is of two students discussing Proust while wearing “Homecoming `97” shirts and lacrosse shorts? It’s probably the same judgement he’d make when a bar charges six bucks for a pitcher of Busch and still calls itself classy. Ultimately, though, the only difference between the “great universities” that Georgetown is compared and our fair hilltop is the temperature. The standard of greatness that Georgetown is measured against is invariably the New England ivies and rarely the western and southern, equally impressive schools like Stanford and Virginia. We’re only compared to the so-called “wool belt” schools. And you know what? I don’t care. I like the sunshine. I like that my sweaters and jeans stay locked in a trunk until November. I like playing frisbee on Copley Lawn in shorts and my “Zippergate” tee shirt. And nothing pleases me more than standing by John Carroll’s statue and talking about Chaucer while wearing a pink Hawaiian shirt that is half unbuttoned and shows off my plumes of chest hair. We’re Georgetown students, we’re dressed to take advantage of the warm autumn, and we love it. Hell, in a month, the Hilltop will begin to look like Harvard. The sun will refuse us its warmth and the north wind will sweep from Leavey, past Copley and Healey and through the main gates. We’ll put away our tank tops in favor of roll neck sweaters, and we’ll opt for the NFL on ESPN and the comfort of a warm living room over a round of touch football on the lawn. And, we’ll look more “proper” while talking politics. But until then, let’s not give in to our ivy envy. We’re the ones with the great weather. I don’t know about you, but I’ll trade elitism and autumn winds for warm weather and halter tops any day. Days on the Hilltop appears Fridays in The Hoya.

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