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Six people to know at Georgetown
Catholicism is an integral part of Georgetown’s identity: founder John Carroll (the statue right in front of Healy Hall) was the first Archbishop in America, and throughout the years University policy on things like abortions (none performed in the University hospital) and contraceptives (none sold on campus) has remained staunchly and unapologetically Catholic.
But this isn’t Notre Dame—Jesuits have historically had a focus on liberal arts and religious pluralism, which accounts for Georgetown’s strong commitment to interfaith understanding and dialogue. The school was one of the first Catholic universities to hire a full-time rabbi in the 1960s and was the first Catholic school to employ an on-campus Muslim Imam.
One of the most visible and accessible members of Georgetown’s Jesuit community is Rev. Christopher Steck, an assistant professor of Theology and former engineer for Texas Instruments. Steck is the chaplain-in-residence in New South Hall, and is an active presence on Twitter under the username “csteck.” The easiest way to bump into him, though, is when he’s walking Jack the bulldog around campus—besides his ministry and teaching obligations, one of his biggest duties is taking care of Georgetown’s beloved pooch.
Even if you never meet Father Steck or Jack, there are lots of ways to take advantage of Georgetown’s campus ministry. There are regular Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Jewish, and Muslim services, as well as outreach, interfaith dialogue, and spiritual retreats off in the woods. Make the most of Georgetown’s heritage and take the time to introduce yourself to Jesuits you see walking around campus. And you’d be missing out if you didn’t go to mass in beautiful Dahlgren Chapel at least once.
When you encounter your first “Our Homes, Not GU’s Dorms” sign on a jaunt through the neighborhood, don’t take it personally: you’ve arrived in the middle of an epic town-gown battle over the University’s 2010 Campus Plan, which lays out all of the University’s expansion projects for the next decade.
Under D.C. law, all universities must have their ten-year plans approved by the Zoning Commission. Georgetown residents have made the most of the opportunity: they’ve used the zoning input process to call for the University to reroute shuttle buses, build satellite housing in Virginia, and house all undergraduates on-campus.
The neighborhood’s crusader-in-chief is Citizens Association of Georgetown President Jennifer Altemus (COL ’88). Once a Georgetown student herself, Altemus now leads the charge against the campus plan.
Acrimonious town-gown relations have a more immediate impact on students: Altemus and other community groups leaders encourage neighbors to bypass campus police and call 911 on loud parties. Because D.C. tightened its disorderly conduct law this year, partygoers face arrests and a $500 fine for excessive noise at an off-campus party.
Luckily, you’ll likely get an initial warning from Georgetown’s Student Neighborhood Assistance Program. If SNAP breaks up a party, the University will impose community service hours or other sanctions on the host, but at least SNAP usually intervenes before MPD comes knocking.
Meanwhile, students rights groups such as D.C. Students Speak try to counter this narrative. Jake Sticka (COL’ 13) represents students on the Advisory Neighborhood Commission, a hyper-local representative body that advises District agencies. If you’re interested in town-gown relations, ANC meetings are the first Monday of every month.
—Kara Brandeisky and John Flanagan
Mike of Wingo’s
Mike Arthur is one of Georgetown’s biggest personalities, but you’ll never see him walking around campus. No, you’ll only find Arthur posted up in his restaurant, Wingo’s, cramped behind the counter in his tiny O Street storefront. Wingo’s may seem like an unassuming hole in the wall, but ignore it only if you want to miss out on the best chicken wings in Georgetown.
At first Leo’s may seem like it has an endless array of dining options, but there are only so many ways you can make your pasta or tacos before you lose your mind. Not to mention that no one’s going to be there to swipe you in late on a Saturday night. That’s where culinary titans like Arthur step in.
For ten years Wingo’s has been supplying students with not just wings, but burgers, sandwiches, and even funnel cake. There’s no place for you to sit in the store, but you can get your chicken delivered anywhere on campus. Of course, getting delivery means missing out on interacting with Arthur, a jovial guy who knows the importance of building a rapport with his customers.
If there’s one drawback to Wingo’s, it’s that it’s not open late at night. That’s hardly a problem, however, with the preponderance of late night eateries competing for your drunken dollar. Tuscany is chief among pizza places thanks to its large slices and convenient Prospect Street location, while burger chain Five Guys stays open until 4 a.m. on the weekend. You aren’t just limited to greasy American joints either, with less mainstream options like Mediterranean restaurant Quick Pita operating late in to the night as well.
The list goes on and on. Sandwich shops Wisey’s and Booeymonger’s are Georgetown institutions, and if you expand your horizons to places where you actually sit down to order, the options are countless. And thanks to all the competition, you really can’t go wrong.
“Years ago, it wasn’t about quality, it was just about how fast it was,” Arthur told the Voice last spring. “If a customer was unhappy, you didn’t care, because there was a line with four more people waiting to replace him. Now, there’s no one to replace you if you’re unhappy. Everything has to be better now.”
Drink! Drink! Drink! Upon their first few weeks of school, freshmen, including many first-timers, will face endless streams of alcohol, but with copious consumption of that mystical elixir comes a bevy of unpleasant side effects. Georgetown Emergency Response Medical Service, nicknamed GERMS, will be making their rounds at freshmen dorms at an accelerated rate during the first few weeks of school, assisting inebriated freshmen to the University’s hospital if need be. GERMS is made up of student volunteers who provide free emergency response to accidents of all sorts, although when you see their ambulance parked outside of a dorm on a Saturday night, there should be little doubt about what they are responding to.
GERMS is a valuable service, but the last thing you want to be known as is that kid who was rolled out of Darnall in a gurney during orientation week. After all, first impressions do make a difference. So unless any of this sounds appealing, or if you want to get back at your parents by sending them an $800 hospital bill (the ambulance service is free, but if you get to the hospital, the charges start ringing up), there is a way to avoid this humiliating experience.
First, pacing is key. Taking multiple shots back-to-back or shotgunning several beers in quick succession may provide instant self-esteem boosts, but later in the night, your body will give you a piece of its mind. Balance your drinking by mixing (and measuring) your drinks so you know how many drinks you have consumed. Next, never drink on an empty stomach. A lesson often learned the hard way, alcohol mixed with a growling stomach is a recipe for a night spent next to the toilet, or even worse, at the hospital. Finally, if none of these tips works, imagine this shirtless GERMS worker carrying you out of a building. The terror just stricken into your gut should keep you from attempting that eleventh beer bong hit.
Georgetown’s LGBTQ Resource Center had historic beginnings: it was the first of its kind on a Catholic campus, founded as a result of the “Out for Change” campaign, a reaction to a spate of hate crimes aimed at queer students in spring 2007. But Shiva Subbaraman, the first director of the center, has some smaller aspirations for the Center as well. Subbaraman envisions the Center as another informal space for students to gather. “We want students to see us as a place to hang out and study and meet people in other groups,” Subbaraman said.
Of course, she also sees it as a vehicle for community integration and awareness. “We’re not just here as a response to crises and hate crimes but as a way to form community and educate ourselves about different people in our community,” she said. “We welcome not just LGBTQ students but all members of the student body.”
And that is only one of the resources Georgetown has to offer. The LGBTQ Resource Center’s Leavey Center neighbor is the Women’s Center. According to the Women’s Center website, their mission is to provide support for women of all races, sexual orientations, cultures, and ages. It also executes programming like R.U. Ready, which seeks to raise awareness about sexual assault.
Another resource is Counseling and Psychiatric Services, located under Darnall, which employs licensed psychologists to handle mental health issues like eating disorders and depression. CAPS also employs a sexual assault specialist.
For school-related concerns, the Academic Resource Center caters to the unique academic needs of students with disabilities and student athletes. Meanwhile, the Writing Center, which is located on the second floor of Lauinger Library by Midnight Mug coffeeshop, provides support for the various stages of paper writing, from crafting a thesis to providing suggestions about paragraph order. However, they won’t proofread a paper—and be sure to reserve your spot early.
So by now you’ve familiarized yourself with your dormitory and Leo’s, and you can probably find your way to the ICC and Leavey Center. But there’s so much more to enjoy about campus.
Take Jan Karski, the statue sitting on a bench on the east side of White-Gravenor Hall. Karski was a member of the Polish World War II resistance movement before he taught at Georgetown for 40 years. Now his statue enjoys an eternal game of chess next to the koi pond.
Everyone goes to Dahlgren Quadrangle at least once, but those who make a habit of returning revel in its serenity. If contemplation of the heavens or attention to your tan lines is more your style, stroll over to the grassy esplanade above Leavey Center. Or if you’re up all night working on that first midterm paper, position yourself on the top floors of the library and let the rising sun help you through that last page.