On Friday, we celebrate a collective victory—a symbol of the student body prevailing over another academic year. For many, the close of the spring semester offers a moment to catch our breath, to engage each other, and to reflect on how far we’ve come before a whirlwind of exams followed by an exodus separate the community for the summer.
Each year, Georgetown Day presents a unique opportunity to accomplish all three in a single day of festivities. And while it always promises to be one of the highlights of our year, we are ultimately responsible for the preservation of this tradition.
After receiving complaints from members of the broader community about student conduct on Georgetown Day, the university has decided to collect data this year to determine policies regarding Georgetown Day moving forward. For example, the university will log and analyze the number and timestamps of calls to GUPD, SNAPS, and GERMS, ultimately using these metrics to determine the fate of our beloved tradition.
This, naturally, prompts a number of questions from the student body. How will this data be used? What baseline will this data be compared to? Will the data accurately capture the student and community experiences? In what ways will the data inform future administrative decisions? These are all important questions that, unfortunately, we don’t have clear answers for right now.
In light of this reality, I implore you to keep one thing in mind this Georgetown Day: student health and safety never get a day off.
First and foremost, if you need to call GERMS, call GERMS. I know that calling for medical attention is sometimes a difficult decision made in unclear circumstances. Don’t let fear and ambivalence in the face of the university monitoring the numbers deter you from saving a life. I, as well as the rest of the GUSA Executive, will stand by your side regardless of how this data is interpreted. Make the right decision, be an active bystander, and care for those around you; your personal health and the health of those around you should always come first.
That being said, there are a couple things you can do proactively be smart and safe this Friday.
First, check out the recommendations provided by student advocates from the SAO on student conduct—this is key to saving Georgetown Day moving forward. For example, if an RA knocks on the door, it is in your best interest to answer the door and step outside to speak to them. Note that RAs cannot enter and search your residence without your permission; however, they can call GUPD, who do have that authority. Also, if you plan to host a celebration at an off-campus apartment or townhouse, keep in mind noise and occupancy limitations so you do not disturb the neighbors, limiting the calls to GUPD and SNAPS that they will make.
Second, make sure to eat throughout the day, drink water, and rest. Just because it’s Georgetown Day doesn’t mean that your body needs any fewer nutrients or less sleep. Despite some initial setbacks, the Georgetown Day Planning Committee has also worked very hard this year to make sure there will be food trucks in Healy Circle and free food on the lawn. There will also be student performances and other fun programming—a great way to refresh throughout the day.
The bottom line is celebrate, but celebrate smart. Be cognizant of your health and the health of those around you. Be aware of your conduct and the conduct of those around you. Simple steps really will go a long way in ensuring that Georgetown Day is here to stay.
It’s worth noting that Georgetown Day was originally established as a block party for the Georgetown community after the death of a member of the student body, intended to bring people from all corners of campus and the neighborhood together. While the nature of Georgetown Day has changed over the years, I believe it’s still important not to forget this foundational focus of Georgetown Day. At a school like Georgetown, it’s important to spend some time relaxing and enjoying some quality time with each other, and that’s what this day is all about.
I’m looking forward to celebrating another year in our beloved university’s storied history with you all as one big community, and the classes after us deserve this same opportunity. The institution of Georgetown Day must be preserved, and the onus is on us to do just that. By being smart and safe this Georgetown Day, we stand up for this critical piece of the student experience that we’ve all come to love.
Kamar Mack is the president of GUSA.
Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons