It’s a wonderful day in Georgetown’s neighborhood!
While Georgetown’s town-gown relations can get pretty testy, according to researchers at Westfield State College, GU is actually one of the best neighbors in the country [PDF]. Georgetown made their “Best Neighbor” honor roll in their recent survey of colleges and universities.
The presentation, “Saviors of Our Cities: A Survey of Best College and University Civic Partnerships” emphasizes that the current state of the economy makes the relationships between universities and their surroundings even more important than ever before.
They ranked universities that they felt “demonstrated…long-standing cooperative efforts with community leaders to rehabilitate the cities around them, to influence community revitalization and cultural renewal, and to encourage economic expansion of the local economy, urban development and community service.”
While Georgetown didn’t earn a spot in the top 25, we did make the honor roll. The honor role highlights over 100 colleges and universities that “figured prominently in lengthy cooperative efforts with community leaders to rehabilitate the cities around them.”
Georgetown’s Vice President of Student Affairs Todd Olson cited programs run through the Center for Social Justice, such as business consulting with non-profits, direct service and tutoring and working with local jails and prisons as evidence of Georgetown’s commitment to the local community.
“Across the city and region there’s a lot that we do really well,” Olson said. “There are a lot of needs in this community. We need to continue looking around and keep building those connections. We haven’t finished that work, but I believe we have a laudable track record.”
Much of Georgetown’s community service is created through student-run initiatives, such as Grassroot Hoyas, a student-founded and run group that goes into D.C. schools to promote AIDS awareness.
“What I admire most about Georgetown is its deep commitment to social justice,” Grassroot Hoyas founder Tyler Spencer said. “While so many students volunteer in amazing ways around the world, Grassroot Hoyas has helped us realize that we can and should work to solve problems that exist right in our backyard.”