GU Life: A Family Matter
Published: Thursday, May 17, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 18, 2012 00:05
If my time on the Hilltop has taught me anything, it is that Georgetown students make up a unique family. My Georgetown story starts back in 2000, when I first arrived on the Hilltop to help move my oldest sister Elizabeth (COL ’04) into Village C, and it continued throughout the last decade with my other sisters, Kate (NHS ’07) and Caroline (COL ’09). It wasn’t until I began my own four years at Georgetown, however, that I truly realized how special this place is. I had no idea that my family was about to get exponentially bigger.
Over the last year, I have had the privilege of serving as vice president of the Georgetown University Student Association. This opportunity has allowed me to experience Georgetown in a fashion outside of the typical student experience and has given me further insight into just how special this place is. We may not have the money of Harvard or Yale. We may not have the facilities of Syracuse or Cornell. However, what we do have is thousands upon thousands of Georgetown students, faculty, administrators and alumni who have a pure and unabashed love of this school and who together form one big family.
I never had a brother growing up, but at Georgetown, I found two: my roommate for all four years, Charles Jang (MSB ’12), and former GUSA President Mike Meaney (SFS ’12). They have been there for me through everything — the good, the bad and the ugly. I have found mentors in Fr. Kevin O’Brien, S.J., Jeanne Lord and Erika Cohen Derr. These individuals, as well as countless other students, teachers and administrators, work tirelessly to make Georgetown a better place. They pour their hearts into what they do. In the most basic sense, they represent the Jesuit ideal of men and women for others.
Students at Georgetown truly are men and women for each other. We learn to treat each other as family — we push each other to work harder, to be better and to fight for the things that matter. Like any family, we disagree. We point out each other’s faults. We ask a lot and expect the best from our fellow students, and we try to hold ourselves to the same standards. But whether it’s sharing a pitcher at The Tombs, procrastinating on Lau 2, debating economic policy with roommates at 2 a.m., attending a professor’s office hours or pouring hours of work into student organizations, love is always present.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have repeatedly heard the question, “What are your favorite memories of Georgetown?” This question makes me think back to a car ride home this past Thanksgiving with Charles. At that time, I responded to this very question by saying, “Mine was giving Mike the biggest hug in Lau after hearing we had won the GUSA executive election and crying in the stacks when I told my sister the news.” Charles, however, had a slightly different reply. He said that what he would remember most fondly is simply walking around campus and taking the time to enjoy everything around him. My initial response to his answer was laughter, but after a little bit of reflection, I realized just how profound my roommate’s response actually was. It demonstrated how he felt God’s self-sacrificing, all-encompassing love in everything he saw and did at Georgetown. I am reminded of my mom’s favorite quote from the play “Les Miserables”: “To love another person is to see the face of God.” Whenever two or more Hoyas are interacting, be it in Red Square, Gaston Hall or The Midnight MUG, God’s love is present.
When I walk across the stage at graduation, I will be taking with me each and every memory from my time on the Hilltop. But more importantly, I will carry with me the strength and confidence that four years full of love have bestowed upon my classmates and me. I will be taking with me a family made up of parents, siblings, students, faculty, administrators and alumni that I wouldn’t trade for anything and that will always hold a special place in my heart. I have found that Georgetown educates and brightens not only our minds but also our souls. We learn the value of extending the cloak of family around our fellow students, and together we build something bigger than ourselves. And this we will carry with us long past our time at Georgetown.
Greg Laverriere is a senior in the College and former GUSA vice president.