A2_CartoonEarly last week, President Joseph Castro of the California State University of Fresno delivered his school’s first “state of the university” address. The address, which kicks off an annual series designed to strengthen relations between Fresno State’s alumni, administrators and surrounding local leaders, is a model of community building that Georgetown’s administration ought to consider following.

The benefits of an annual “state of the university” address would be numerous. Perhaps most valuably, such an address would provide students and alumni with a better understanding of Georgetown’s goals over the coming year. In the process, alumni and administrators would be able to work more cohesively towards fundraising goals, thus creating more interest in expanding the Georgetown endowment. Moreover, a yearly rundown of the Georgetown community’s objectives would help contribute to students’ sense connection to their peers at a university where a uniform “school spirit” often struggles to coalesce.

A “state of the university” address would also allow more fruitful interaction between Georgetown and its surrounding neighborhoods. Though Georgetown currently houses a robust Office of Community Engagement, too often its initiatives and opportunities are unknown to those beyond campus. A high-profile address such as the one proposed here would advertise the work of community engagement staff to a wider audience than Georgetown’s immediate neighbors, thus furthering Georgetown’s commitment to the “common good” in the D.C.-Metro region.

In light of Georgetown’s historically weak endowment, strained or otherwise nonexistent relations with its neighbors and lack of a cohesive student culture, administrators should consider the potential benefits of an annual “state of the university” address. In the absence of such broad and direct communication, Georgetown risks underutilizing not only its extensive alumni network, but also its surrounding community and student body.

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