It comes as no surprise that the Georgetown population is a mixed breed. What is surprising is how frustrating the consequences of diversity can be.

Even without statistics, you only need to sit outside Healy Hall for a day to observe the breadth of the population. If you were really devoted, you could find the organizations devoted to different ethical, geographical, religious and gender-focused groups tabling or hosting a food-related event throughout the day.

The variety of clubs on campus is important because our origins and our aspirations determine how we perceive Georgetown. For example, we can see Georgetown through the lens of academic excellence, international programs, Jesuit heritage, Big East tradition and so forth.

Georgetown’s urban context however, in all its individualistic and outward-looking splendor, hampers the formation of tightly knit communities. In a climate that encourages the internship search and community engagement, the city can have a way of making us focus on everything but the school itself. We have little time to step away from our own personal view of Georgetown.

To us, then, the image of Georgetown can be a loose assortment of perceptions instead of a grand composition. To loosely adopt an old metaphor, we have a salad when we wanted stew. I wrote previously that the Georgetown mindset is imparted on all of us. This still holds true, but it refers to a way of life. The issue here is that diversity without synthesis creates conflicting, rather than harmonious, perceptions of the institution.

Of course, most students blend multiple perceptions — a basketball recruit might choose Georgetown because he also wants to extend his Jesuit education. But while our noses are buried in our own classes, programs and clubs, we remain blind to many of the alternative views.

So how do we institutionalize a more holistic understanding of Georgetown? The solution is, in fact, quite simple and enjoyable: We need to promote more occasions that inspire school pride. Pride stems from the feeling that your institution is great. Here at Georgetown, our greatness is rooted in our ability to achieve excellence at so many levels.

Consider the occasions in which affirmations of shared Georgetown sentiment are most often displayed. At sporting events, the Hoya jersey represents all that is Georgetown, and reiterations of “We Are Georgetown” bring us together as a united entity. From an outsider’s point of view, at schools akin to ours in terms of bridging academic and athletic distinction — take Duke or Notre Dame, for instance — the student body seems saturated with a passion for its university. Sports, more so than the arts, have the ability to strike the most widely resonating chord. If we were to introduce new school-wide events as a complement to basketball games, we would most effectively be building the social infrastructure necessary for pride to thrive and synthesis to occur. More events like the SAC Fair and Georgetown Day, whereby normally distant students and perspectives come together in the same environment, would provide the surest fix to this problem. In these moments, the contribution of each person’s view creates a cohesive Georgetown.

Today, two sides hardly constitute a plurality, but ever since Georgetown selected blue and gray as its official colors in 1876, it has declared itself a school committed to bringing together different cultures. As always, the true undertaking of the Georgetown student involves reconciling these tensions. The personal images of Georgetown are no longer confined to northern or southern minds; instead, the changing goals of an incredibly diverse body lead to new definitions, and the conflict between perceptions prevents a community from taking shape. But if we recognize the value of social interaction, we can create a culture of pride and improve our ability to fully understand Georgetown vis-à-vis our peers.

Andrew Toporoff is a sophomore in the College. MULTUMQUE UNUM appears every other Fr

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*