While many Georgetown students strive to make a difference on a global scale, we must recognize the important ways that we can contribute to our immediate community as undergraduate students. We spend countless hours in extracurriculars that make visible impacts on our campus, yet the community around us deserves attention as well. The most pressing issue Georgetown students could support for their surrounding community is the much-needed renovations to Hyde-Addison Elementary School. Students can act on this issue by signing the petition to move forward with renovations, emailing city leaders and spreading the word about the campaign.
Although the D.C. Council of Education has committed to renovations at Hyde Park in the past, they have delayed the project three times. D.C. Department of General Services continually delayed the project this year by saying that the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, located just north of campus, will not suffice as a temporary school location for Hyde Park students during renovations, blocking the 14-month campaign from moving forward with the renovations.
DESA has no plans to accommodate Hyde Park students for the 2016-17 school year, even though it is an authorized D.C. Public School system space. City officials rejected the plan to temporarily move students to Duke Ellington due to concern for the residents in Burleith, claiming that an influx of students would affect the area negatively, in terms of congestion, noise or other factors. However, as Burleith residents, we should let city officials know that we support the usage of the school and tell city officials to move forward with the project. The concerns of neighbors cannot force the concerns of students and parents to be pushed to the side once again.
By prohibiting students from using DESA, city officials may consider temporary schooling spaces for students that are located miles away from their homes. Georgetown students and city officials should not force students to walk so far to get an education, wasting time commuting that should be spent learning.
If DGS continues to deem the space unusable for students, then the city should move forward with whatever renovations it can in June 2016. For example, the sewer pipe, some classrooms and other critical items could be renovated so that the overall construction will not take as long when it finally occurs.
Students should encourage city officials to meet with Hyde-Addison community members and non-student neighbors in Burleith. These meetings are a concrete way that Georgetown students can leverage their relationship with the Georgetown neighborhood community to make real change for other students. Such activism will demonstrate that we are concerned about the consequences of delaying school renovations and how it will compromise the education of other students so close to home.