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

In Times of Need, GU Students Band Together

As this semester draws to a close and we reflect back on this fall at Georgetown, many people’s thoughts will linger over the accusations of racism and homophobia that have pervaded campus. Instead of acting like men and women for others, the actions of some members of the campus community have, at times, felt like men and women against others. As we prepare to leave the Hilltop for the break, I would like to encourage all of my fellow students to remember these troubling incidences and learn from them, but also appreciate the good and bear in mind that our school’s tradition of social justice is alive and well. This fall, the family of Emily Arndt, an assistant professor in the theology department, contacted the Blue and Gray wanting to post an advertisement for respite care. Professor Arndt was in the hospital with Stage IV breast cancer, and her mother-in-law, Anne Barnhill, was at home caring for the family’s five-year-old daughter and three-month-old son. Anne needed assistance with the infant for a few hours each day and someone to feed him during the night. The Blue and Gray got in touch with the Center for Social Justice seeking students who could help. After just one e-mail to student groups, the CSJ was flooded with responses. Students from Relay for Life, Breast Cancer Outreach, Caring for Children with Cancer, AIDS Coalition, Students of Ailing Mothers and Fathers, HOPE, APO and many more nursing students – and even alumni – volunteered to babysit, run errands, cook meals and connect the family to outside resources that could help. As a result, the family met an incredible group of students who are committed, compassionate and knowledgeable about cancer. Students looked for nothing in return but were glad to help. On Dec. 1, 2007, after a long battle with cancer, Professor Arndt passed away. Her funeral was Dec. 3 in Dahlgren Chapel. While Professor Arndt’s death was yet another somber event to mark a less-than-ideal semester at Georgetown, it is important to highlight this incredible and uplifting response from the student body to a family in need. While committed to jobs, schoolwork, clubs and their own lives, students at Georgetown have proven that they also go above and beyond to serve the Jesuit ideal of men and women for others. Similarly, despite the racial tensions and homophobic actions on campus lately, students were able to turn the situation into productive discussions and changes. Hundreds of students attended meetings, forums and exchanges, for no reason other than wanting to make a difference. Thousands of students joined Facebook groups to show their support. Over a hundred students have agreed to work for the Student Commission for Unity, a GUSA group and research project aimed at studying issues of diversity, prejudice and self-segregation at Georgetown. As a member of the CSJ Advisory Board for Student Organizations, I get to see every day how students volunteer their time tutoring, mentoring, advocating for justice and otherwise working for others. The CSJ ABSO would especially like to applaud the student body for their efforts to help the family of Professor Arndt. I would also like to encourage students to look at this example and first of all, feel heartened, and secondly, be inspired to continue to work to create a better Georgetown, and a better anything. Rebecca Shinners is a junior in the College and a member of the Center for Social Justice Advisory Board for Student Organizations.

More to Discover