Last Friday, Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson held the semester’s first collaborative luncheon, an informal meeting run by his office to promote an ideas exchange between group leaders and senior administrators. Last week’s discussion centered on one of the university’s most persistent challenges: town-gown relations.

Despite various concessions last semester, including the elimination of registration for on-campus parties and the announcement that Magis Row would no longer house students, tensions between neighbors and students still run high. The university’s top-down communications campaign encouraging students to be less rowdy when out at night continues to be disregarded, but student cooperation can be harnessed if the right channels are utilized.

Georgetown’s social life — officially or unofficially — is largely organized through student groups and clubs. If club leadership, which often already appoints positions for planning and execution of social gatherings, were to take a more active role in promoting appropriate neighborly conduct, residents of the Georgetown neighborhood might find themselves less frequently disrupted by the sound of loud groups of students. This is why events like Olson’s collaborative luncheons provide a fitting forum for such improvements.

But the university has to keep its end of the bargain, too, namely by faithfully following through on the Healey Student Center pub. Providing an on-campus locale for undergraduates will be an important contingency in keeping students from eliciting chagrin from the university’s neighbors. To be effective, however, the university must continue to keep student leaders involved in the planning process of the pub and carry that through into management and staffing.

The ongoing conflict with Georgetown’s neighbors is more a reflection of the school’s location than of particularly disruptive students. The views and priorities of students will rarely align with those of the university’s neighbors, but a compromise can be reached if cooperation from all parties involved is prioritized.

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