Georgetown University has granted all students access to shared office spaces for the spring semester in an attempt to offer a variety of study spaces and resources as the university continues to operate on a modified virtual status during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Currently enrolled students can sign up for a free All-Access membership with WeWork, which provides shared offices and workspaces, through the university. The membership, which lasts from February through May of this year, allows students to book study spaces at any WeWork location. Students also have access to additional resources, including high-speed internet and complimentary snacks and beverages.
With the All-Access membership, students can visit any of WeWork’s 800 locations spread across 32 U.S. cities and 88 international cities, including Shanghai, New York, Tokyo, London and Chicago.
Claire Cheng (SFS ’24), who is living in Palo Alto, Calif., this semester with her family, has taken advantage of access to WeWork to get schoolwork done in a distraction-free environment.
“I like a change of scenery and also it helps me focus. So what I’ll do is I’ll block out a day when I have no Zoom classes and I’ll just sit there for six hours and just try to bang out all my work,” Cheng said in a phone interview with The Hoya. “Also I think it just keeps things interesting during quarantine. It’s somewhere to go even though I’m not seeing anyone. It’s exciting to get ready and leave the house.”
The university announced its partnership with WeWork in November 2020 as part of its spring plan. After operating fully virtually last semester, the university invited approximately 1,000 students back to campus for the spring semester, including about 500 seniors, and launched some hybrid courses available to graduate students and seniors living on campus and in the neighborhood.
The university hopes that access to WeWork’s benefits will enrich the virtual learning experience as the school continues to operate mostly virtually, according to a university spokesperson.
“We have seen a surge of students sign-up in the first few weeks and are glad that students have shown enthusiasm to access these workspaces,” the spokesperson wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Knowing these are difficult times, we hope this offer helps to ease the burden of the pandemic on our resilient Georgetown community.”
Students using WeWork spaces are required to abide by the university’s COVID-19 restrictions, including mandatory mask wearing, social distancing and following local COVID-19 guidelines, in addition to any location-specific WeWork regulations, according to the WeWork website.
Without access to Lauinger Library this year, many students are taking advantage of WeWork to mimic the experience of going to a study space on campus, according to Zoe Corrigan (MSB ’23), who is currently living off-campus in Washington, D.C.
“When I saw the opportunity to have a library space that I didn’t have access to otherwise, I was like, this is something that I need mentally,” Corrigan said in a phone interview with The Hoya. “It gets me out of my apartment building because I would realize that I hadn’t left my building all week because I’d been staying in my room and being productive.”
There are 13 WeWork locations in the D.C. region spread between Dupont Circle, downtown and NoMa, with two in Arlington, Va., and one in College Park, Md.
WeWork has been a way to set a boundary between home life and school life and get outside, according to Corrigan.
“I was doing everything in the same space and it was hard to compartmentalize,” Corrigan said. “Even though it’s been quite cold in D.C. right now, it’s been cold and icy, just getting out and just walking and exploring different parts of the city, too. One of my goals is to check out each location, even if it takes a longer walk or an Uber ride to get to one closer to a friend.”