It is mid-June, with July right around the corner marking the midpoint of summer. I don't know about you, but the summer months are flying by! There continues to be a lot of planning happening across campus as we prepare for our students to return to campus. We are looking forward to having you be part of our community.
Before we continue with this newsletter we wanted to make sure that you saw the university's Monday announcement about our approach for a safe return to on-campus instruction and a residential academic experience. We know that you will continue to have questions in the lead up to coming to campus. Through this newsletter and other campus communications, we pledge to keep you updated in the weeks to come.
Now, here's what you can expect from this edition...
- A message from Dr. Jordan S. West, Director of University Diversity & Inclusion Programs
- Community engagement checklist
- Rights and responsibilities
- Living in the residence halls - a student's perspective
A Welcome Message from Dr. Jordan S. West
To Our Newest Members of the Buff & Blue Family,
Coretta Scott King said, "The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members." At GW, students are exceptional in that they join our community with a sense of hope and belief that they are able to contribute to something much larger than themselves – and they do just that. We need each of you right now, more than ever, to join our community with a deep appreciation for diversity, a desire to create and be part of an inclusive campus, and a readiness to do what is right for others.
Each day we turn on the news and plug into social media to find updates on the state of living during a pandemic within a pandemic – COVID-19 and systemic racism. At GW, we are leading in some of the public health conversations and the science behind understanding and responding to COVID-19. We are also underway with four weeks of programming called #GWInSolidarity to address systemic racism, with over 3,000 registrants already. At the intersection of the two pandemics, we have students, faculty, and staff driving efforts to support the people most impacted and harmed, while also educating those who are privileged – facing less oppression in moments of exacerbated social inequities.
As you prepare to join our community in the fall, I encourage you to be bold. We are ready for your class to continue leading our campus in the direction of justice and social change. We ask that you make a promise to create an environment for your friends, classmates, and the faculty and staff you meet that values who they are, where they come from, and their differences from you. You have to give GW the love and energy you hope to receive back.
The Office for Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement (@InclusionatGW) welcomes you to GW and challenges you to Raise Higher!
Community Engagement Checklist
Part of being at GW and living in D.C. is getting involved with and supporting your community. The Honey W. Nashman Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service is a campus office that can help support you in making a difference around the District and beyond. Get started by reviewing this community engagement checklist and email [email protected] for more information and to get involved.
- Register to vote
- Explore service opportunities and programs
- Register for a community engaged course
- Sign-up for our newsletter to receive up-to-date information
Rights & Responsibilities
GW aspires to be a community of people seeking an authentic exchange of ideas, a place for educated discourse, and an environment inclusive of all values and skill sets. As you are preparing for class in the fall, please ask yourself: How can I be a contributing member within the campus community?
GW has policies guided by the Code of Student Conduct that prohibit disorderly conduct and discriminatory harassment, and we want you as citizens to go beyond just avoiding those policy violations. We hope you'll engage in vigorous debate and disagreement, learning from the natural conflict of a diverse community while simultaneously caring for your fellow GW citizens. From Steven Petrow's Civilist podcast and TED talk, here are a few key guidelines to achieving the more robust civility we expect from active citizens:
- De-escalate language: Focus on issues, not individuals. Name problems that need solving, rather than naming your fellow community members as problems.
- Don't make it personal, except for yourself: Authentically own what community issues have a real impact on your life, but don't attack others personally.
- Don't mistake decorum for civility: Being polite and silent about issues that matter doesn't make you or your community civil. In an educational environment, we're instead looking for citizens to listen, express diverse perspectives, and continue to learn from that engagement across difference.
We look forward to learning with you and from you in our community discussions!
Director, Office of Student Rights & Responsibilities
Meet Alicia Harris, Class of 2022
Alicia is a Resident Advisor with a passion for community building. We asked her what it means to be a good neighbor at GW and here's what she shared.
Be Present: This is your home and we are a special type of family. It is important for the safety & health of your community that you know what's going on around you and what aligns with community standards. A wise supervisor on my RA journey asked me, "would you let a stranger walk into your house and make their own rules? No, because it's your home and you have a responsibility to hold your peers to the same standard that's expected of you." Push yourself to engage with your community and you'll discover a new sense of pride in the home you've helped to create.
Be Communicative: Immerse yourself in the lives and narratives around you. Make a connection and share a moment - communities are built on shared goals. Being a good neighbor is about actively advocating for yourself and others. Sometimes this means standing up to your peers, but you are never alone. As an RA, I make it a point to keep important conversations going, so connect positively to your community and build respect.
Be Compassionate: Invest in the lives of others and take time to make your mark on the community, on your new home. Leadership is about modeling positive change. You each have the power to be leaders in your own community. Do not shy away from quiet, everyday leadership, and spread compassion and understanding. Set boundaries and respect the consequences of breaking them and don't lose sight of the person on the other end. A true leader, community advocate, and good neighbor has the strength to break tension with kindness, stand with compassion, and uplift others they might not agree with.
If any of this resonated with you, then I encourage you to check out some insightful TED Talks and continue the conversation!
- The unseen value of being a good neighbor | Michael Wood-Lewis | TEDxStowe
- How To Be A Good Neighbor | Miry Whitehill | TEDxBelmontShore
- Everyday Leadership | Drew Dudley | TEDxToronto
- How to Talk to Strangers | Article | IDEAS.TED.COM
- The Intangible Effects of Walls | Alexandra Auer | TEDxEindhoven
The Center for Career Services team is ready to support you as you explore potential majors, careers, on-campus jobs, and Federal Work Study (FWS) jobs. We also offer resources and education modules that can help you identify and apply your strengths and interests to skills you will need in your academic, leadership, and professional roles.
In mid-July you will receive an activation message to your GW email from Handshake. Handshake is an approved GW online program that is your gateway to access resources, schedule virtual coaching appointments, RSVP for virtual career events, and apply for internships, as well as on-campus and Work Study jobs. The email will include login instructions along with other timely information to get you started. Check out the Career Services website to learn more about services and resources or contact [email protected] with questions.