Dear incoming students,
Welcome to Georgetown! Though this community may feel far away, both physically and emotionally, from where you sit reading this, know we are thinking of you as the year begins.
You are starting this semester in unprecedented times—and we know you are tired of hearing that. Your senior year was drastically different than you expected, and your first year at Georgetown is starting in a way no one predicted. You are entering into the community of Hoyas unlike anyone before you. As students who have been with this community at its best and worst, we would like to offer guidance on making the best of this first semester as a Georgetown student.
This semester will be hard. We know you are scared about making friends, meeting people, and finding your place here. To ensure you find a place in our community, we ask you to commit to making interpersonal connections in any way you can. The students who come to Georgetown are some of the most warmhearted, passionate, and driven people we have ever met. You may be meeting those people through screens, Zooms, and chats, but we implore you to reach out and connect with them. Push yourself to find spaces for you in the Georgetown community. Joining a new club will be a challenge from your bedroom, but it could be the most rewarding choice of your first semester.
Keep in mind that the community you are joining is not just the school. As Georgetown students, you are now also a part of the D.C. community and represent Georgetown wherever you may be. And now you have an obligation to them. If you decide to come to the District, make sure you make safe choices, continue to social distance, and do not contribute to the spread of the virus, which has disproportionately affected communities of color, especially in D.C. Do the same in your own hometowns. You now represent this school and you have a responsibility to act with the values of Georgetown in mind; so, be a person for others and follow all COVID-19-related guidelines. Additionally, recognize the privilege that comes with the identifier of “Georgetown student.” When you come back to D.C., whether it be this fall or next year, acknowledge the role our school and community play in the gentrification and continued racism in this city. Let anti-racism guide your studies and on-campus presence, and use whatever privilege you may have to lift up others around you.
Part of loving this community is also feeling deeply frustrated when it fails, but continuing to fight for it to improve, even when your voice feels unheard.
You have already seen how the Georgetown community, specifically the administration, can be profoundly inconsiderate. They have consistently failed to support the most vulnerable students on campus, and that failure has been exacerbated by the ever-changing nature of the coronavirus pandemic. The responsibility of ensuring no one is left behind and practicing mutual care has fallen on the student body. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Students know what students need the best—if you have the ability to support and advocate for your peers, you must do so, always keeping in mind your own privileges and the situation of students without those same privileges. In our time on the Hilltop, or even from our devices at home, we have pushed the school to improve. We invite you to join us and take up the mantle of a Hoya by working to make the school and community a better place for every member.
The toll this summer has taken on so many members of our community cannot be overstated. This is not the usual cheery message the Voice sends to incoming students. However, we know you have the tenacity and empathy to meet this moment—otherwise you wouldn’t be a Hoya. This will be your first semester as a Georgetown student, and although you won’t be on the Hilltop, you will be just as much a part of our community. This community has done so much for each of us, even in its far-from-perfect state, and we know it can provide overwhelming support and love in the coming months. Join us in striving to make our community a better, kinder, and more inclusive space for your peers and all of the Georgetown students that will come after. See you soon.
The Georgetown Voice Editorial Board