It is no secret that college students work on a very different schedule than people in the corporate world. Three a.m. studying and noon wake-ups are simply a reality of college life. However, for many of the university services with which Georgetown students interact, the hours of operation reflect corporate clientele. The Student Health Center, student employment office and GOCard office, among others, are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or maintain similar hours.

For students holding jobs or internships in addition to a full class schedule and an array of extracurricular activities, reaching these essential services in a timely manner is exceedingly difficult. Although we understand the employees cannot be expected to perfectly mirror the eccentric sleeping habits of stressed college students, for certain common necessities, more support is needed around the clock.

Take, for example, the GOCard office, which is only open Monday through Friday during normal business hours. If a GOCard is lost or stolen, students can easily deactivate it online to avoid unauthorized transactions. Reinstating access to a recovered GOCard, however, requires an inconvenient trip to the office, located on the periphery of campus. A GOCard official said that an in-person meeting is required for security reasons, but given the secure login required on the GOCard Web site, it seems that reactivation should be possible online. Or, if not, the GOCard office should liaise with the Department of Public Safety to allow students to reactivate the card there so that students are not locked out of their dormitories or unable to eat at Leo’s for an entire weekend. These simple solutions should not place an undue burden on university staff, while addressing the needs of students who keep late hours.

Similar efforts could be made by other Georgetown University services. The housing office, which receives an overwhelming amount of attention during specific periods of peak interest like when students are registering for eligibility, should bear in mind the schedules of students as well. During these high-interest, high-pressure times, the housing office should extend its hours of operation to ensure that all students have the chance to ask questions or gather more information. And instead of forcing students to wake up early to select residences, the online housing selection should be structured to reflect students’ lifestyles.

UIS is the welcome exception to the rule. Their hours more closely match students’ hours, and there is someone at the help desk in St. Mary’s from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays. Extended service would certainly be welcome, but the realistic hours UIS keeps now show that they are committed to helping students when students need help most.

The combination of classes, jobs and extracurricular commitments means that Georgetown students often find themselves awake until well past midnight. It is only logical that the essential university services on which they rely – GOCard and technology support, in particular – should shift their hours of operation more in this direction.

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