Georgetown University announced it will move forward with an in-person, five-week, on-campus experience meant to integrate first-year and transfer students into the Georgetown community.
The program, which will take place from June 4 to July 9, will give students the opportunity to take credit-bearing courses, live in on-campus dorms and engage in group activities. Most first-year and transfer students have not experienced the campus aspect of college life because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The university will offer financial assistance to ensure all students have adequate support to attend the program, according to the Summer Sessions website.
The optional program will provide first-year and transfer students with the opportunity to bond with their peers while experiencing campus life, Vice Provost for Education Rohan Williamson wrote in a Feb. 3 email to students.
“This will be a unique experience for the Class of 2024 and our new transfer student Hoyas, which will offer an opportunity for in-person interaction with faculty, on-campus activities with peers, building community in residence halls, and learning about Washington, D.C.,” Williamson wrote.
The program is an exciting opportunity, according to Amelia Wanamaker (COL ’24), who is from Atlanta, but is living in Washington, D.C., for the spring semester.
“I think it would be a good chance to meet more members of my class in a way that I wasn’t able to this year in the Georgetown setting, so actually on campus,” Wanamaker said in a phone interview with The Hoya. “I’m hoping that I’ll get to meet a lot of new people and get some time to meet faculty and staff face to face — and then also get my bearings on campus because I don’t know where anything is.”
Because of changing public health conditions and COVID-19 infection rates, the program is subject to modification, according to a university spokesperson, and the program will have to be reviewed and accepted by the D.C. government before its initiation.
In a Nov. 16 email, the university announced it would hold classes online in the spring semester and invited only 500 additional students, mostly seniors, to live on campus. The university was disappointed to deny many students an on-campus, in-person experience, according to University President John J. DeGioia (CAS ’79, GRD ’95).
“We know how eager the members of our community are to return, particularly our first-year and transfer students who have had to delay the beginning of their time on campus, and the disappointment that comes with this decision,” DeGioia wrote.
Provost Robert Groves also acknowledged the disappointment many first-year and transfer students are experiencing in a Feb. 3 post to his Georgetown blog.
“One damage inflicted by COVID at Georgetown is that it deprived the Class of 2024 and transfer students from having those informal bonding experiences,” Groves wrote. “Most of them continued to live with their families, probably occupying the same spaces they did as a high schooler. They were, by and large, experiencing Georgetown in physical isolation.”
The university hopes the program will give first-years and transfer students an experience to offset their unorthodox first year as Georgetown students, according to Groves.
“We can’t replace the on-campus experiences that the students would have had between August and May,” Groves wrote in his blog post. “We do believe that this immersive experience may help to form some of the important bonds among classmates.”
However, Lincoln Le (COL ’24), a Florida native who is living in Arlington, Va., this semester, said he feels the program is an inadequate introduction to life at Georgetown.
“Students who are on campus or close to campus, they would have to go home for like a month, and then they’d have to fly or book some sort of fare, or like drive or something back onto campus, stay for five weeks and then go home for another month and then fly back,” Le said in a phone interview with The Hoya. “That’s four different flights, four or five different flights. And yeah, so that definitely, like, cuts into the cost of your whole summer.”