Hands down, the best thing about our school is the community. Over the past few months, our community has come under a lot of scrutiny. Some say there is not enough of it, if any at all. Others say that our community fosters the wrong kind of attitudes. Generally, the media and students alike have painted a picture of a university without a true community. That, however, is the wrong picture. The well-publicized events of the past academic year are deplorable, and I don’t think any reasonable person would defend them. Nevertheless, neither a few incidents do a community make nor do they even necessarily display the true nature of one. In fact, our community faculty, administration and students has shown its true colors in these trying times. So, instead of being critical of our school, what it stands for and those who make it up, it is time to realize that just like any other family, the Georgetown community will have its ups and downs, but in the end is a great institution.

I am sick and tired of reading The Washington Post, The Georgetown Current and the other half dozen no-name Georgetown papers that constantly blame the university and its alleged lack of community for everything that has gone wrong. No one can accept all the blame, and no one is exempt from all blame of the recent events. These are not the types of actions that are cut and dry. Unfortunately for the sensationalists who call themselves reporters, there is no one person or institution that is to blame. There is no one issue (drinking comes to mind) at the source of these problems. Sure, there are cliques on campus. There are few, if any, events that bring the entire student body together. There are groups of students who do not get along. But to cite those as the reasons for Georgetown’s recent string of tragedies and episodes is a vast oversimplification. Like I said before, it is not an event or even a series of events that create community.

What, then, does create this sense of community? To be honest, I am not exactly sure. It’s intangible. Nevertheless, you experience it everyday. In fact, in light of the recent events, it is even more evident than usual. The vigil around the menorah. The rally in Red Square. The memorial services. While all in reaction to horrible and tragic incidents, they display the true nature of our community and our responsibility to one another. What would be truly scary is if nothing had happened if we had gone on with our lives and not looked back. The fact that these events cause us to stop and reflect they anger us, they upset us and they bring us together to find comfort and solutions points to what community is all about.

What is it that ties us together? Is it merely the fact that we spend four years in such close proximity? I like to think there is something more to it than that. These events have such impact on each of us because we can relate to the victims. We may not know them, we may have never seen them or heard their names before they were in the papers. Nevertheless, we walked the same paths, we may have had the same professors or even sat in the same cubicle at Lauinger. Despite a world of difference that may lie between us, there are certain ideals and experiences that, by merely being students at Georgetown, we have all been exposed to and that tie us together. More space and funding for organizations may increase that bond, but it is still there. It has been there all along and it will be there years from now. It doesn’t take a committee or a report to build it. We should cherish that bond and help foster it, not blame the purported lack of community for our problems or let others use it as an excuse to decry our school.

I for one will have fond memories of Georgetown. The actions of a few misguided individuals and a tragic accident should not tarnish our experience at Georgetown or our school’s reputation. We should not sit back and let the media blame the imaginary lack of community on campus. Those reports only serve to further divide our school and create negative images in our minds. While we should not forget the events that have happened, we also should not let them epitomize our college experience. Rather, they should help shape our community, teach us to be better people and help us make better decisions in the future.

The Banner appears every other Friday in The Hoya.

Have an opinion on this subject? Submit a letter to the Editor. Previous Columns by Matt Reilein-An Uphill Battle (Feb. 18)-Georgetown’s Great Space Game (Feb. 4)-Neighborhood Negligence (Jan. 14)

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