Hatchet Opinion on UHP in Thurston Way Off Mark

21 May

In a recent opinion article at the GW Hatchet Sophomore Phillip Ensler stumbles through a baffling series of outlandish assumptions and misconceptions about the living communities set to be in Thurston Hall next year (one of which, of course, is the Honors Community.)  Here’s what he has to say about UHP housing:

Moreover, Housing erred in its decision to place the honors, engineering and seven-year B.A. and M.D. students in Thurston. Although there certainly are some students from those communities who would gladly reside in Thurston, the University has previously made the deliberate decision to house such students in “quieter” dorms such as Lafayette for specific reasons. Students enrolled in such programs-as well as those seeking a substance-free environment-generally prefer more reserved living quarters. Thurston is everything but reserved and it is unwise to force such an amalgam of communities to concurrently reside there.

(Emphasis added.)

Ensler’s basic argument, which seems to boil down to “people who are different shouldn’t live near each other” almost leaves me speechless.  Still, I’ll give Ensler the benefit of the doubt and assume he bases his argument on a few uninformed assumptions.  Let’s inform him:

  1. Honors housing is a choice. That’s right.  About half of our freshmen choose to live in UHP housing, and coincidentally, that tends to be about as much room as we are allotted for them.  Honors students are not forced to live in UHP housing, and so are not forced to live in Thurston.  That leads into the next point…
  2. About half of UHP freshmen have historically chosen not to live in UHP housing. There are a lot of reasons students might choose not to live in UHP housing, but the ones I’ve heard most frequently from students tend to be a) “I’m worried about being too isolated,” and b) “I’d rather live in Thurston.”  So, basically that means…
  3. UHP students are living, breathing, college students, much like yourself. And just like any group of adventurous 18 year-olds, some of them want to live in huge, social dorms where they can be surrounded by lots of different kinds of people, and some of them want to live in a more mellow place.  The UHP population actually reflects the larger GW population pretty well, and so is quite diverse — the main difference between UHP students and other students typically is that they do better in their classes and are generally more engaged, and not that they dislike social places.  If those reasons alone don’t convince you…

  4. There’s been a 30% increase in UHP housing requests now that it’s in Thurston. Fortunately, because it’s in Thurston, most (if not all) of those requests will be accommodated.  We’re pretty happy about it.

I can certainly confirm that some UHP students are disappointed that UHP housing will be in Thurston this coming year.  I can also confirm that some are relieved that they can now choose to live in UHP housing without giving up life in the largest, most active dorm on campus.  You can’t please everybody!  There’s just no way to give everybody everything they want all the time. But hey, that’s why students get to make their own living choices, right?

One Response to “Hatchet Opinion on UHP in Thurston Way Off Mark”

  1. catherine May 21, 2010 at 12:38 pm #

    hear hear!

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