Gabe Cappelli/The Hoya District Mayor Anthony Williams addresses the Georgetown community about service and social justice Thursday.

District Mayor Anthony Williams visited Georgetown yesterday as the keynote speaker in an inaugural luncheon with staff, students and faculty to discuss the city and university’s joint commitment to service and social justice.

The luncheon preceded a series of panel discussions between university faculty and students about issues such as AIDS, homelessness and youth violence.

The mayor began by highlighting ways in which the District government does and can ensure social justice.

“The most successful ingredient in civic progress is [a] sense of ownership, of community and of partnership,” he said.

Williams indicated the importance of fostering a sense of belonging through social initiatives and organizations like Neighborhood Action, a program uniting community members to discuss the future of the District and prompts dialogue over topics such as deinsitutionalization in the city. Williams said at least 3,500 citizens attended the last meeting held at the Convention Center.

According to Williams, improving adoption programs to minimize the number of children raised in foster families should be another concern of the city in its quest for social justice.

Williams also emphasized the crucial connection between city and university.

“Universities and cities have been joined at the hip for thousands of years,” he said. He added that citizens from the university, economic and faith-based communities should act out of a sense of duty to their city. “The work of our government, the work of our citizens and the work of us working in partnership has to have a human face. It has to flow from some sense of responsibility,” he said.

University organizations have recently brought attention to the crucial role of Georgetown students in the community to citizens and District officials.

In September, Co-chair of Campaign Georgetown Matt Ingham (COL ’04) and ANC district 2E05 Representative Justin Wagner (COL ’03) met with the mayor’s staff to speak about improving communication between students and the community in response to the Board of Zoning Adjustment’s ruling on the university’s 10-Year Plan. The ruling mandated several stipulations that students feel infringe on their basic rights.

Campaign Georgetown also established an “E-mail the ayor” campaign Monday that allows students to tell the mayor how they contribute to the community.

Thursday’s dialogue acted as an opportunity for students to show the mayor how they are crucial to the community as well.

“We are hoping that the mayor will realize that students are concerned and that they are important to the D.C. area,” Campaign Georgetown Co-Chair, Philippa Sparg (SFS ’03) said.

Members of GUSA, Campaign Georgetown and other campus organizations say their ultimate goal is to encourage the mayor to reverse the BZA’s rulings and treat them as citizens.

Wagner and ANC district 2E04 Representative Justin Kopa (COL ’03) also presented the ANC with a Student Bill of Rights last month, asking for equal rights. Students have since been going door-to-door in the community informing citizens of their concerns, according to Ingham. “The mayor is our last hope in this matter,” GUSA representative Marty LaFalce (COL’03) who has been working closely with Campaign Georgetown, said. “The mayor has political influence in this process,” he said.

University President John J. DeGioia also spoke Thursday, enumerating the ways Georgetown contributes to the community.

“Every day, Georgetown students pan out across the city of Washington giving life to the words of our mission – commitment to justice and the common good,” he said.

Director of the newly opened Center for Social Justice, Kathleen aas Weigert, also discussed the university’s inherent promise to uphold justice. The Center, which opened in Jan. 2001, is committed to sustaining the university’s mission statement of a concrete commitment to justice and the common good.

“The challenges of our great city call all of us to the ongoing work of creative partnering between campus and community in order to address serious individual and societal needs,” Weigert said.

According to DeGioia, the medical center’s mobile clinic initiative, which brings health care to hundreds of children in the city, is one example of students’ commitment to service.

“In courtrooms, classrooms and neighborhoods, where hope is a scarce commodity, Georgetown students are reaching across divides of experience and opportunity to share their ideal and idealism as well as their energy,” DeGioia said.

“Fourteen-hundred Georgetown students are attacking critical social problems like illiteracy, discrimination, substandard housing and poverty through more than 100 community service initiatives and 23 student-run service organizations,” he added.

“In this city we need to earn the privilege of being regarded not just as a good citizen but also as an essential resource,” he said.

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Gabe Cappelli/The Hoya District Mayor Anthony Williams addresses the Georgetown community about service and social justice Thursday.

District Mayor Anthony Williams visited Georgetown yesterday as the keynote speaker in an inaugural luncheon with staff, students and faculty to discuss the city and university’s joint commitment to service and social justice.

The luncheon preceded a series of panel discussions between university faculty and students about issues such as AIDS, homelessness and youth violence.

The mayor began by highlighting ways in which the District government does and can ensure social justice.

“The most successful ingredient in civic progress is [a] sense of ownership, of community and of partnership,” he said.

Williams indicated the importance of fostering a sense of belonging through social initiatives and organizations like Neighborhood Action, a program uniting community members to discuss the future of the District and prompts dialogue over topics such as deinsitutionalization in the city. Williams said at least 3,500 citizens attended the last meeting held at the Convention Center.

According to Williams, improving adoption programs to minimize the number of children raised in foster families should be another concern of the city in its quest for social justice.

Williams also emphasized the crucial connection between city and university.

“Universities and cities have been joined at the hip for thousands of years,” he said. He added that citizens from the university, economic and faith-based communities should act out of a sense of duty to their city. “The work of our government, the work of our citizens and the work of us working in partnership has to have a human face. It has to flow from some sense of responsibility,” he said.

University organizations have recently brought attention to the crucial role of Georgetown students in the community to citizens and District officials.

In September, Co-chair of Campaign Georgetown Matt Ingham (COL ’04) and ANC district 2E05 Representative Justin Wagner (COL ’03) met with the mayor’s staff to speak about improving communication between students and the community in response to the Board of Zoning Adjustment’s ruling on the university’s 10-Year Plan. The ruling mandated several stipulations that students feel infringe on their basic rights.

Campaign Georgetown also established an “E-mail the ayor” campaign Monday that allows students to tell the mayor how they contribute to the community.

Thursday’s dialogue acted as an opportunity for students to show the mayor how they are crucial to the community as well.

“We are hoping that the mayor will realize that students are concerned and that they are important to the D.C. area,” Campaign Georgetown Co-Chair, Philippa Sparg (SFS ’03) said.

Members of GUSA, Campaign Georgetown and other campus organizations say their ultimate goal is to encourage the mayor to reverse the BZA’s rulings and treat them as citizens.

Wagner and ANC district 2E04 Representative Justin Kopa (COL ’03) also presented the ANC with a Student Bill of Rights last month, asking for equal rights. Students have since been going door-to-door in the community informing citizens of their concerns, according to Ingham. “The mayor is our last hope in this matter,” GUSA representative Marty LaFalce (COL’03) who has been working closely with Campaign Georgetown, said. “The mayor has political influence in this process,” he said.

University President John J. DeGioia also spoke Thursday, enumerating the ways Georgetown contributes to the community.

“Every day, Georgetown students pan out across the city of Washington giving life to the words of our mission – commitment to justice and the common good,” he said.

Director of the newly opened Center for Social Justice, Kathleen aas Weigert, also discussed the university’s inherent promise to uphold justice. The Center, which opened in Jan. 2001, is committed to sustaining the university’s mission statement of a concrete commitment to justice and the common good.

“The challenges of our great city call all of us to the ongoing work of creative partnering between campus and community in order to address serious individual and societal needs,” Weigert said.

According to DeGioia, the medical center’s mobile clinic initiative, which brings health care to hundreds of children in the city, is one example of students’ commitment to service.

“In courtrooms, classrooms and neighborhoods, where hope is a scarce commodity, Georgetown students are reaching across divides of experience and opportunity to share their ideal and idealism as well as their energy,” DeGioia said.

“Fourteen-hundred Georgetown students are attacking critical social problems like illiteracy, discrimination, substandard housing and poverty through more than 100 community service initiatives and 23 student-run service organizations,” he added.

“In this city we need to earn the privilege of being regarded not just as a good citizen but also as an essential resource,” he said.

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

Comments are closed.