GU Will Adapt, Succeed

By Laurie Mingolelli

Within days of becoming The Hoya’s viewpoint editor this past December, the menorah crisis shook the campus. Needless to say, as the forum for student and faculty voices alike, this drama unfolded itself in the ensuing aftermath within the confines of the viewpoint page. Leaders of the Jewish community at Georgetown condemned the act but looked positively towards the future and lessons learned; others handed me impassioned pleas for reconciliation and forgiveness, and through dialogue, progress was achieved.

Unfortunately, this semester has afforded the community numerous more opportunities to express anger, grief and frustration. In addition to the perennial debates over such issues as abortion, the death penalty and social justice, we have also had to say goodbye to a much-loved member of our student body and weather the storm of criticism aimed at our culture that descended upon us shortly thereafter. We have seen racial and sexual intolerance. We have experienced the highs and lows of housing shortages, scandals at the Medical Center and the news that over the next two summers we will lose both our current dean of students and university president.

All, however, is far from lost. That is the most significant realization I have taken away from this semester. In the midst of tragedy and controversy, Georgetown has done what is always has, what has made it one of the oldest and most respected institutions in the nation – it has survived and adapted. Evidence of this is overwhelming. The outpouring of support and solidarity for the Jewish community is a prime example. The newly-established Georgetown Unity Coalition and its aim to ensure diversity and tolerance in the wake of hate-related incidents earlier this semester is another.

On a smaller but just as significant scale, the Georgetown community has demonstrated a genuine effort to address the many problems thrown our way. From professors to GUSA president elect and vice-president elect to Jane and Joe Hoya, countless people have taken part in dialogue. They presented views that were sometimes positive, other times negative – the point is, each person cared enough about what was going on to do more than apathetically lament what ails Georgetown. Solutions were offered, insights were gained and each voice represented a step toward bridging the gap between the community we want to love and the troubles that often plague it.

I am not a philosophy major, nor will I presume to fill this piece with lofty-sounding terms from academia. I will say, however, that this semester has shown me that one basic principle of any liberal arts education is true – the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts. What does this mean for Georgetown?

It means, as we have already demonstrated, that the value of our community in its entirety is far more substantial than the poor conduct of a very small minority of its members. Despite the few who will inevitably try to destroy it, Georgetown will continue to survive and flourish because of all the rest of its members. Assuming the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts, if we continue to channel our efforts and energy toward positive solutions, the individual labor of every individual on campus working to produce visible results (and there are many) will net an outcome that will be a better Georgetown.

I remember visiting Georgetown in February of my senior year in high school and leaving campus with an overall impression that this place was the embodiment of the word vitality. There was an energy to this campus that originated from its students; practically everyone I saw was caught up in something – whether it be GPB, GUSA or D.C. Reads, there always seemed to be people who cared enough about an issue to actually be proactive. That initial impression has not changed. I have learned a lot about Georgetown since then, a natural consequence of being a student here. Along the way, especially this semester, I have lost a bit of the naivete I came here with – for instance, I now know that unfortunately, sometimes the truth is the last story to be told, if it even gets a chance to be told at all. Though the injustice of this has not made me cynical, it has definitely made me strongly question absolutely everything I read or hear, even things I would have taken for granted before. However, this too has a silver lining – it will make me that much more thorough when I am reading the viewpoint page from abroad next year. And I know there will always be plenty to read about, because Georgetown has proven that for every problem we encounter, there are far more people willing to discuss, debate and survive.

Laurie Mingolelli is a sophomore in the College and viewpoint editor of The Hoya.

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