Over the last couple months, Georgetown University has been rolling out a series of efforts aimed to address the quality of life complaints that were aired at the spring’s campus plan Zoning Commission hearings. GM is personally convinced that GU has its eye on the upcoming hearings on the campus plan as it introduces these initiatives (which doesn’t mean they’re not good initiative, just that they’re not motivated by neighborly kindness). The idea being that it will argue that it is being proactive to address the neighbor’s concerns and thus the Zoning Commission shouldn’t take the draconian step of demanding GU either build on-campus housing or obtain housing outside 20007 for all undergrads by 2015, as the Office of Planning requested.
To undercut this argument, the ANC just issued a supplemental submission to the Zoning Commission. The ANC writes:
GU’s grudging, small-scale responses to community concerns throughout this case have been disappointing. Instead of responding meaningfully to Chairman Hood‟s suggestion to the University that it propose truly new, large, and effective approaches to the neighborhood issues, GU has instead come back with small-scale tweaks to existing off campus student programs.
The ANC takes a particularly cynical view of GU’s quality of life measures:
GU reserves the right to modify any and all of its student conduct measures at any time… And GU certainly cannot expect us to believe that any 11th-hour clamp-down it may have attempted over the past several months – in the spotlight of an impending Zoning Commission decision – will or could be sustained by GU over the long run.
In the no-good-deed-goes-unpunished category, the ANC addresses GU’s new trash pick up program:
By the University’s own count, as GU has informed ANC 2E commissioners, a trash truck it sends around the student-centric areas of the community daily at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. has been picking up over one and a half tons of trash every day…The University, after years of turning a blind eye, has belatedly taken some remedial action. But the University does not seem to appreciate that during the 20 or so hours every day when the GU trash truck is not picking up the trash, another 1.5 tons of trash is dumped outside for all in the community to experience. The trash truck proves beyond a doubt the existence of a serious problem. It clearly does not sufficiently mitigate, let alone solve, the problem. In an odd way, it may even exacerbate the undisciplined seven-days-a-week strewing of GU-related trash in the community.
This echoes somewhat a comment GM made recently. By picking up the students’ trash in bags, the school fails to discourage students from leaving bags of trash out on the street. Residents often get fined for this since it encourages rats, so there’s no reason to treat students differently.
But one thing this complaint fails to do is to put the 1.5 tons into context. That’s 3,000 lbs. Or somewhere between 2-3 lbs. of trash per off-campus student. The EPA estimates that the average American produces 4.4 lbs of trash a day. Presumably some amount of trash the students are producing doesn’t end up in their houses’ trash (e.g., a cup of coffee they buy and throw out at a coffee shop) so it’s not like this is evidence that they’re big recyclers, but it doesn’t do much to say that 1.5 tons of trash is to be unexpected from so many people. It’s seems that the issue shouldn’t be how much trash students are producing, but rather how they are handling it.
Anyway, that’s just a couple of points they raise. Here’s the document: