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

Revolution May Be Over, But Reform Must Continue

QUIETLY MAKING NOISE Revolution May Be Over, But Reform Must Continue

My comrades, the revolution has died. Despite our laudable efforts GUSA survives, administrators oppress students and my resume has a large hole. No more constitution writing, no more guerilla poster warfare, no more free beer at Champs. It would be too much for a student revolutionary to take if there wasn’t still hope for change. Still, the Yard is dead.

What’s that you say? All is not lost? Next year?

Fool, there is no next year. What can we try that we haven’t already? What would you have us do? Write a more convoluted constitution with even loftier language? Get more alumni attorneys with too much time on their hands to help us? Maybe print “The Yard” on the bottom of women’s shorts?

Oh wait – we can put up more posters with cheesier jokes that are even less funny. Maybe we can target high school applicants who know even less about the Yard and GUSA than the freshmen we focused our efforts on this year. The e-mail from John Carroll didn’t do the job – maybe St. Ignatius will sway more voters.

Face it my friend, the dream is over. Despite our best efforts, the Yard was crushed by a three to one margin among the 35 percent of students that voted. We didn’t even come close.

But take heart, for while the Yard may never pass, we still have enemies to face: our own pride and disillusionment. Because these are the only forces that can stop us from improving student life at Georgetown. And while it may seem less glorious to battle ourselves than illiberal administrators and GUSA tools, it is an infinitely more noble fight. And one much more likely to bear fruit.

Even the staunchest Yard opponents have always said we had good ideas. Newspaper editorials have rightly praised us for our enthusiasm and energy, and drawn upon our intellectual project for their own recommendations. Both the GUSA president-elect Kaydee Bridges (SFS ’03) and our longtime opponent Aaron Polkey (COL ’02) think that GUSA needs reform, with our help. Real opportunity exists for us to work with our former opponents to reform student government and improve student life on campus.

We can still transform Georgetown if we don’t give up, or become too egotistic to cooperate on reform. We must translate the energy of our campaign into a collaborative effort to improve GUSA. Walking away from the process because we lost the election would be the easy thing to do, but we can’t allow ourselves to do it, especially when GUSA still has all the same problems we identified.

We also can’t refuse to help reform GUSA because of our bruised egos. Pride may be our biggest enemy: we need to accept the fact that we lost and go to the table with our opponents, looking for consensus measures to improve student government. Standing aside and hoping for GUSA to fail is selfish; allowing our pride to keep us out of reform efforts is sinful. The time for revolution and rhetoric is over; cooperation and dialogue must now be our goals.

While we reevaluate ourselves with an eye to cooperation, we ought to apply the same lens to those who influence our movement. Why do the non-students who support the Yard do so? Do they really want to make Georgetown a better place for everyone, or just re-shape it after their own vision? Do they have our Hilltop at heart, or their own ambitions? If they really care most about Georgetown, than they ought to have our respect and our apologies for ever questioning them. But if they seem more concerned with their own crusades, grudges and egos, we must cast them aside as the corrupting influences they are. If we don’t, they will continually lead us astray and cause others to mistrust us.

Trust is the final obstacle to cooperation. The responsibility for restoring it lies with both sides. GUSA people need to learn to work with Yard people, even if they’re Stewards. The same goes in the other direction. And anyone who belongs to an organization that purports to serve Georgetown needs to reconsider if their membership actually impedes progress.

So my fellow Yard rebels, the revolution is over. We’ll always have the fashionable clothing, the Web site and the memories. But if we can overcome the forces working against cooperation, internal and external alike, maybe we can come away with something more.

Quietly Making Noise appears every other Friday in The Hoya. The author can be reached at quietlymakingnoisethehoya.com.

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