Respect is a core Georgetown value. High standards define our students, our university and our local community. The Jesuit ideal of seeking the magis is a great model for us. Magis is about feeling grateful for all we’ve been given and giving back by seeking the very best in ourselves and in our community. It’s about living out our mission in visible ways. If we are to build a sustainable future for ourselves as a university and as a neighborhood, we need to respect one another and to demonstrate that respect through our behavior.

As we returned from spring break this week, I sent an email to all students addressing issues both off campus and on. The off-campus focus was all about respect, high standards and expectations for being a good neighbor. Those points matter a great deal, and students hold the key to making this spring a positive one for all of us. It is simply unacceptable for us to behave in ways that disrupt life for our neighbors. We all have the chance — and the obligation — to raise our game in the weeks ahead.

The on-campus focus of my message was about new opportunities for student social life on campus — the new shuttle routes, the exciting new ideas for social events on campus and the hard work of the Campus Life Working Group are all evidence of that. Our commitment to building a vibrant social life on campus cannot be a hollow pledge. It needs to turn into action, and I see the first steps of that action taking place right now. Administrators and students need to work together to move that action forward. My colleagues and I are committed to that, and I’ve seen great evidence that students are committed as well.

The models of partnership, both informal and through the new Georgetown Community Partnership, I have seen in the past few months have been remarkable. Students, university leaders and neighbors are sitting down together to discuss common interests and points of tension. These partnerships, encouraging as they are, will only be successful if they lead to positive change — in our respect for one another and in the life we build together on this Hilltop.

This is hard work, and it calls on all of us to be just a bit more considerate, more thoughtful and more aware of others. I am asking for and counting on your help. You will face hundreds of small choices in the weeks ahead, some of them very relevant to these issues. When you face the choice to shout down a quiet street at 1 a.m. or to talk quietly as you walk along, I urge you to seek the magis — to be the best neighbor and the best Hoya you can be.

Todd Olson is vice president for student affairs.

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *