Exclusivity is conventional at Georgetown. With the proliferation of competitive clubs and internships, there is not a student who believes acceptance is the norm across campus.

But amid this exclusivity, Georgetown fosters a strong sense of community, a sense that is reflected in the ideals and values the university stands for. The Spirit of Georgetown Residential Academy, the culmination of the Old Jesuit Residence Project that is opening next fall, seeks to create a residence that emphasizes these ideals by selecting students who embody these tenets.

However, this endeavor should be approached with caution. Although creating a community based on the ideals that Georgetown students strive for is undoubtedly a good enterprise in principle, the actual process should be careful not to alienate certain types of students from applying to live in the new residence.

While listing a wide range of ideal criteria for its would-be residents — many of which are not religious in nature — is a positive step toward ensuring that all students feel welcome to apply, this Living Learning Community should be one that encourages all kinds of students to seek involvement.

Perceptions of elitism — although potentially unfounded — can easily overtake the process if it is not made clear that one does not have to fit a specific mold to live in this community. All Georgetown students should feel that they embody what they view to be a valuable and legitimate tenet of the Georgetown community.

If fostering a culture of inclusivity is what this dorm seeks to do, then its application process must reflect an interest in creating a community made of students that represent Georgetown’s diversity. Applications encourage us to paint ourselves as a certain kind of person, but they also inspire those overseeing the application process to bring in students that can deeply enrich the lives of those living in their residential community.

The motivating force behind this project is one all Georgetown students should embrace. It must be made clear that all students, not just those who see themselves in a religious light, embody the Georgetown community in valuable and immeasurable ways.

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2 Comments

  1. Not Catholic says:

    Well, I clearly violate the first tenant as I do not live my life to serve God. So that’s it, then? I’m locked out of getting this dorm?

    So much for religious diversity.

  2. I don’t quite understand what you mean to say about perceptions of elitism? It seems you have placed responsibility on the perceiver in a way that encourages something other than what you mean to say. Will you please elaborate?

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