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

After Leading the Way, Shelleby Prepares to Leave Leavey

Andreas Jeninga/The Hoya From senior parents’ weekend to Georgetown Day, Ed Shelleby (COL ’04) remained active in campus life, planning events, leading tours and working in student government.

If it was a campus-wide event, Ed Shelleby (COL ’04) probably had a hand in planning it.

From the freshmen pre-orientation program, Leadership & Beyond, which he led during his junior year, to February’s senior parents’ weekend, which he oversaw this year, to April’s Georgetown Day, which he chaired for the past two years, Shelleby has become very familiar with the offices in the Leavey Center.

“I have a very intimate relationship with this building,” he says. “I’ve practically lived here for three years.”

Caught up in plans for the senior parents’ weekend, Shelleby describes the time he sacrificed as more than just free time on weekends. “This year I spent Valentine’s Day here,” he says, chuckling as he looks out a window from an office on the fourth floor of the building. “Dorothy Leavey was my valentine.”

Shelleby says he will miss the strong ties that exist at Georgetown most after leaving the university. “There is a very ready-made community here that facilitates some of the best social interaction and community initiative. It’s an idyllic universe for a university,” he says.

Shelleby, a native of Wyoming, Ohio, which he describes as a “small, bucolic town” near Cincinnati, will head to the University of Pennsylvania for a master’s degree in governmental administration.

“Next year my program is 20 people instead of the 6,000 people we have here. So I’ll definitely miss having that sense of community,” he adds.

Georgetown Day was one way for Shelleby to help compliment the Georgetown community. The annual event marks the end of the academic year with free food, drinks and treats doled out among carnival-like games and attractions in Red Square and Healy and Copley Lawns.

Now in its fifth year, Georgetown Day replaced another campus tradition in 2000: Block Party, a semi-annual charity fundraiser that ended after community concerns over heavy alcohol use and underage drinking prompted the Advisory Neighborhood Commission to withhold permit approval for the street party.

“I really liked doing Georgetown Day. It’s agenda-less and its sole purpose is to let people here have fun,” Shelleby says, noting that the process for the event, however, is frustrating. With a tight budget, the event relies on donations and sponsors that take months to secure. “It’s a little like having a baby – we started six months beforehand and have a lot of preparation to do to get there.”

But Shelleby’s first attempts to become active on campus did not work out as planned. When he ran for one of four seats on the GUSA Assembly at the start of his freshman year, he lost.

“I did high school government all four years – I was the president of my high school student government – and I thought I was hot stuff. And then I lost and I realized that I wasn’t,” he says. After working on the campaign of GUSA President Ryan DuBose (COL ’02) and Vice President Brian Walsh (COL ’02), Shelleby entered the student association, serving in a cabinet position before making a successful bid to become a junior class representative last year. For the last two years, Shelleby served on the Housing and Facilities Advisory Council and this year chaired GUSA’s advocacy committee for housing and facilities.

Shelleby says that of all of his activities at Georgetown, he thinks his work on the advisory council, which includes students from GUSA, residence life and Interhall in addition to faculty and administrators, will achieve the greatest impact.

Last year, the university underestimated student interest in on-campus housing and guaranteed housing for all students because of the opening of the 780-bed residence halls in the Southwest Quad. When more students signed up for on-campus than the housing office had anticipated, some students were forced to scramble for off-campus housing, drawing sharp criticism from students.

This year, the housing advisory council created an eligibility drawing that would let students know before winter break if they would be eligible for the spring’s housing lottery, giving students more time to find off-campus housing if they would need it. Since more rising juniors opted to defer their on-campus housing until senior year, the university has been left with open beds.

“It’s been hard for me. We really genuinely did set up a good system, but the way it worked out has been strange,” he says. “We were able to take the criticism we got last year and work constructively to really be helpful.”

Shelleby says his pride in Georgetown led him to join the Blue and Gray Society, the organization for admissions tour guides, in his freshman year. Shelleby served as president of the society this year after putting in two years of service on the group’s executive board during his sophomore and junior years.

“It’s a great way to get connected to the university and really appreciate what you have here,” he says.

But he notes that because students are showing off the campus to prospective students, they do their best to portray the university in a positive light.

“I really like showing off Georgetown, but sometimes I wish that the university that I showed off was the school that I went to,” he says. “You can’t really talk about how there’s this pressing lack of space or how everything gets tied up in red tape.”

Shelleby also wishes that more high school students would concentrate on more than the SAT scores and U.S. News ranking for Georgetown, and instead look at the type of community that people like Shelleby have worked to foster.

“People need to realize that college is a lot more than those statistics,” he argues. “They’re places where you can really be immersed in activities on campus, where you can really enjoy what the location has to offer, where you can really appreciate the vibrant campus culture. It’s not just the sum of the parts.”

Shelleby graduates from Georgetown with a list of activities, achievements and a distinguished record of school service. But he says that if he had one more year at Georgetown, he would take a step back and enjoy life.

“I’ve enjoyed my time here,” he says. “But I think back to working with a database of parents for the senior parents weekend while missing out on spending time with people who were only going to be around for three more months.”

With no malice toward the Leavey Center, he quips, “I would have liked to have spent less time in offices and more time in bars.”

Tomorrow’s graduation will be Shelleby’s last event as a student – but instead of planning it, he will be participating in it.

“[College Dean] Jane McAuliffe will be forcing me out,” he says, “so this is it.”

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