VIEWPOINT: In Relentless Pursuit of Justice

COURTESY ALLYN ROSENBERGER

COURTESY ALLYN ROSENBERGER

Georgetown, my heart. Thank you.

Thank you for surrounding me with passionate, intelligent, driven and justice-seeking people. Thank you for teaching me the importance of speaking up and speaking out, and for helping me to develop my voice. Thank you for putting so many professors, friends and mentors in my corner, and for fostering relationships that I will treasure for the rest of my life. Thank you for the endless opportunities you have given me to learn from our unparalleled faculty, attend lectures with the world’s most inspiring leaders, intern in and explore Washington, D.C., study abroad and lead campus organizations that changed my life. Thank you for challenging me daily and teaching me important lessons both inside and outside of the classroom. Thank you for teaching me empathy and compassion and for defending the worth and dignity of all people. Thank you for helping me engage with the world and for giving me the world.

Georgetown, thank you for the best four years.

I wrote this tribute above from my West Georgetown apartment on the eve of my final Georgetown Day. I did not write it for any specific purpose or with any intention to share it. I was, to put it simply, feeling incredibly emotional and sentimental. I have caught myself feeling this way countless times over the past few months — the last first day of classes, the last time waiting in line for an event in Gaston Hall, the last spring tulip planting in front of Healy Hall, the last time studying under the giant tree on Copley Lawn, the last class, the last run to the National Mall and, yes, even the last final exam.

Each of these lasts has filled me with an emotional reaction I never imagined a school could bring me. But Georgetown has. These lasts at Georgetown have even brought me to tears, as I hold such a profound love for this place, gratitude for what it has taught me and, most importantly, appreciation for its commitment to justice.

The latter half of my Georgetown career was marked by a bitter and divisive presidential campaign. The fraught political climate of this recent election certainly did not escape our campus, but it showed me how unequivocally committed Georgetown is to bending the arc of the universe toward justice. What sets Georgetown apart from other prestigious universities is its engagement with the world and its constant pursuit of justice for all people. I came here expecting a world-class education, but will graduate this May having received so much more because of this commitment to justice.

Our classes, campus organizations and university leaders consistently push us to live generously in service to others. Georgetown affirms the inherent dignity of each student, urges us to respect every person and asks us join in solidarity with our most marginalized communities. To attend a university that defends, upholds and fosters the values that I hold so dear has been absolutely invaluable to my experience on this campus.

The dedication of my peers to achieving justice and their passion for doing so has inspired me daily. For example, when I was a freshman, two of my most important Georgetown mentors, Helen Brosnan (SFS ’16) and Kendall Ciesemier (COL ’15), asked me to help them start a women’s leadership summit called OWN IT that hosts the most influential women of our generation on this very campus every spring. These leaders come from a variety of fields — from media and art to politics and activism — to engage with college-aged young women. Every year, Georgetown’s OWN IT Summit celebrates and cultivates a new generation of confident feminists to grapple with the most important issues of our time.

My involvement with OWN IT has shown me the integral role of feminist actions and thinking in achieving justice. It has taught me to be bold, courageous and daring in all of my endeavors and has enabled me to play a role in inspiring thousands of other young women to do the same. OWN IT has shown me that the future is, indeed, very female.

Experiences like OWN IT embody this school’s commitment to creating engaged, informed women and men who serve others. And experiences like OWN IT have defined my Georgetown career.

Four years ago, as I sat in historic Gaston Hall for my Georgetown Admissions Ambassador Program weekend, I knew with absolutely certainty that Georgetown University was the place for me. And as I prepare to walk across that stage tomorrow, I have never felt more confident in that decision. The Hilltop is, without a doubt, my home. I have had the most transformative and unforgettable experience here, and I know it will continue to guide me to pursue what is right for the rest of my life.

Allyn Rosenberger is a senior in the School of Nursing and Health Studies.

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