GU REACTION University Provides Multiple Forums For Georgetown Students To Cope By Kristin White Special to The Hoya

Since last Tuesday’s terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Georgetown university has tried to accommodate the needs and concerns of students dealing with their impact.

In the days immediately following the attack, Georgetown quickly assembled a support system for students. For many, the special services and candlelight vigils organized by the Office of Campus inistry helped them handle the devastation and heartbreak.

“For me, coping with a tragedy like this is a very personal thing,” Patrick Lenaghan (COL ’04) said. “I see God as a figure you can look to for guidance and support. Although I listen to what is being said at mass, I use it more than anything as a time for personal reflection.”

Most students’ initial response was to find comfort in the Georgetown community.

“While I was not directly affected, I hoped that I could help support those around me who had lost someone, and it helped me to be around people,” Matt Wolinski (COL’04) said. “I didn’t want to just sit in front of the TV watching the same thing over and over.”

Others avoided the emotional atmosphere on campus.

“I took advantage of several different services, but I dealt with it most effectively by going on long runs down to Rock Creek to get a break from the tension on campus,” Natacha Heffinck (SFS ’04) said.

Even so, the implications of last week’s events have yet to be fully digested.

“One thing that I’ve noticed is that students are really torn … by that I mean I hear people talking about whether or not they should go out and have fun as if nothing happened or if somehow they have a duty to those who died and to their country to be sober, thinking about what happened,” Matt Scholder (SFS ’04) said.

Over the next week the Office of Counseling and Psychiatric Services will hold meetings for hall directors from all campus residence halls. They have additionally planned an in-service Wednesday for residence and apartment assistants to train them to help students manage grief, prepare them for what to expect in the weeks to come and help them recognize if any of their residents need additional support as a result of this trauma.

“These people are being looked to for support while they are going through the same thing themselves,” said Dr. Charles Tartaglia of the Office of Counseling and Psychiatric Services.

The office has made one member of its staff available in each residence hall and apartment complex as an in-house consultant.

While these measures focus on undergraduates living on campus, other programs will accommodate undergraduates living off campus and graduate, law and medical school students.

Although a significant influx of students hasn’t taken advantage of the services yet, Tartaglia predicts that the real impact will not be felt until further down the road, as the recent incidents trigger future problems.

He encouraged students to “use the resources you have: one another” and to keep in mind that these are “normal reactions in abnormal circumstances.”

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