An Open Letter about the Dual Campus Plan

27 Sep

You might have seen a letter to the editor I wrote that got published online at the GWHatchet.  You can read what they published here, but it’s pretty heavily edited —  they even took out the fact that I’m an Honors alum!  For your reading pleasure, I’m including the complete (unedited) letter here.

If you want to join the conversation too, I encourage you to join us at the online town hall forums.

We need perspective on the proposed expansion of the University Honors Program to the Vern. Despite the Hatchet’s implications, moving optional housing isn’t that important.  Students don’t join a 4-year academic program to get housing for one year in Thurston, of all places.  5% of incoming UHP students this year said they’d definitely not join the UHP if optional housing were on the Vern, another 9% said they’d probably not. The Hatchet chose not to use this data collected from the same survey cited last week, but it’s arguably more useful.

Optional community housing is just one of many special benefits UHPers enjoy. Others include small courses taught by all-star faculty, access to advising unparalleled at GW, and more.  These opportunities are not  rewards for being smart or for previous accomplishments.  They are an investment GW makes in some of the best and brightest at GW.  Honors students are not just thinkers, they’re dreamers and doers.  While some take an opportunity as a challenge, UHP students take a challenge as an opportunity.  We know that Honors students, more than anyone else, will wring out every drop of opportunity.  With opportunity, Honors students do great things.

The dual campus plan constitutes a reaffirmation of Honors excellence.  GW wants to double-down their investment in the UHP by giving us more space, more resources, and more opportunities.  The Hatchet’s recent article said that the UHP was “eyeing” space on the Vern, but the truth is that the impetus for this plan came from higher up in the GW administration as a way to turn the already excellent University Honors Program into a true national model.

Expanding the Honors Program to the Mount Vernon campus is also an investment in the Vern and GW at large.  Let’s be honest, GW needs help making the Vern work.  If a rising tide lifts all ships, consider the UHP to be the moon.  Our excellence is contagious.

The ultimate success of this plan is, of course, unknown.  To succeed, this must be a true expansion as is proposed.  The UHP will need adequate resources and space, especially in Foggy Bottom, to support our students at the level they deserve and require.  Perhaps more important will be the continued involvement, support, and constructive criticism from our students.  We are, after all, a community.  We rely on our students to speak up when they know of a better way, to question the status quo, and to bravely take on each and every new opportunity.  I can think of no better students to whom I would entrust this task.

-Jared T. Meyer-
University Honors Program Alum, 2008
Communications Coordinator, University Honors Program

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One Response to “An Open Letter about the Dual Campus Plan”

  1. Bob September 27, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

    NIce letter, JTM. Well said.

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