Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Amid GAAP Weekends, Friendship Bloom on Facebook

While the Class of 2017 will descend on the Hilltop for the second weekend in a row tomorrow to take in their first breaths of Georgetown air and meet their first friends, Facebook has been facilitating an extended kind of “meet and greet” since early action decisions were released in December.

“People are introducing themselves; it’s a nice way to get to know people before you really get to meet them and kind of see what people are like in general,” Yijing Yang (SFS ’17) said. “It’s a nice little community that formed on Facebook.”

For the third year running, the Georgetown Admissions Ambassador Program, which also organizes the weekends on campus, launched an official Facebook page for the incoming freshman class. According to GAAP Board President Murphy Kate Delaney (COL ’13), the official Facebook group serves as a centralization of ad hoc groups that operated in the past.

“GAAP saw this as an opportunity to be a true resource for current students and decided to centralize the old system with an ‘official’ Facebook group for Georgetown’s accepted students,” Delaney wrote in an email. “The Facebook group facilitates many accepted students’ becoming friends on Facebook and then later friends at Georgetown.”

She added that many accepted students meet each other in person at the GAAP weekends and can find their future roommates via the Facebook group.

Many prospective students posted short biographies and bonded over common backgrounds, interests and extracurricular activities.

Jupiter El-Asmar (SFS ’17) said that he used the group to get a sense of the Georgetown student body.

“It was nice to meet some people through Facebook [whom] I didn’t know before [who] lived right in my area, and it is also pretty cool that we can meet people with similar interests right away,” El-Asmarsaid.

Abi Dila Vega (MSB ’17), a Texas native whose hometown is 90 percent Hispanic, added that she is using the group to ease her adjustment to East Coast culture.

“Where I live is sort of a bubble,” Dila Vega said. “I’m looking forward to meeting people of all types with so many different perspectives.”

While some used the group to connect with fellow prospective students, others asked for advice about whether to enroll in Georgetown, as well as campus opportunities and the student body.

“It is amazing to see how the other accepted students then manage to convince those who post their college decisions to choose Georgetown because of the reasons they have decided to choose Georgetown,” Delaney said. “The convincing component of the Facebook groups primarily exists among the accepted students themselves.”

Neil Sarma (NHS ’17), who chose Georgetown over King’s College London, said that the Facebook group played an important role in his decision.

“It was good just hearing other people’s opinions, especially since there are international students on there,” Sarma said. “It was really good to hear opinions of people [who] live in the U.K.”

Kira Lin (NHS ’17), an international student from Myanmar, said that she used the GAAP group to get a feel for both American culture and the Georgetown environment.

“Through knowing the people who will be at Georgetown, we might be able to be more confident and content about going there,” Lin said. “Sometimes, to be honest, I felt scared. Most students are from the States, and I feel [that] they tend to talk to and like each other more.”

Overall, many students said that communicating on the GAAP group helped to assure them that they would be able to make friends at Georgetown.

“Before I had been going on the GAAP Facebook group, I was worried about [whether] there would be other people who were like me and my friends or [whether] I would have any trouble making friends,”Neena Aggarwal (NHS ’17) said. “But I’ve been meeting a lot of people who are very similar to me.”

Some students are hopeful that the connections they make now could last until next year.

“It will be nice to arrive on campus in August and already know a few people,” Caroline Farr (SFS ’17) said. “It’s also a great place for discussion, from questions about the roommate search to Otto Porter’s decision to enter the draft — conversation is always flowing.”

Some current Georgetown students also post on the group to answer accepted students’ questions and provide firsthand advice.

Andrew Lyu (SFS ’16) said that he checks the GAAP group occasionally to provide information to admitted students.

“I scan for … questions that pertain to things I’m really interested in,” Lyu said.

For example, Lyu recently answered a student’s post that expressed worries that Georgetown would be overwhelmingly politically conservative.

“He talked about how Georgetown kids tend to be of a certain political thought, and I said [that] that was blatantly not true, and that Georgetown embraces political diversity,”Lyu said. “We’re in a city that is conducive to being of any political belief, and that if he really cared he should come.”

Some current students said that they found the Facebook group a good idea in theory but irritating in practice.

“It’s a good idea for people to be able to post questions,” Lena Rothfarb (COL ’16) said. “But it ended up being kind of weird with people posting questions, like, ‘Oh my God what color sheets are you bringing?’ or, ‘I’m so excited, Hoya Saxa!’ every minute, and I had to turn off the notifications for that group.”

Zahid Syed (COL ’16) agreed, but added that the 2016 group, still active among freshmen, was more useful once the school year began.

“I thought that it was really too vague and general,” he said. “The one thing that I think it’s useful for is selling basketball tickets. I thought that was an easy way to contact students and exchange tickets.”

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