Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

AN INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER SERVING THE GW COMMUNITY SINCE 1904

The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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This fall, consider how you can help Foggy Bottom’s homeless

Raya Hudhud, a freshman majoring anthropology, is a Hatchet opinions writer.

You may be excited about fall, which brings chunky sweaters, hot lattes and beautiful trees to Instagram. But here in D.C., not everyone is excited about the shift to cold weather.

There’s more to the District than monuments, museums and politicians. Among the city’s residents, there are people experiencing homelessness – a visible part of the community many people ignore. We’re all guilty of seeing a homeless person and quickly averting our eyes or trying to justify why we can’t give up a few dollars.

GW’s lack of a conventional college campus connects us with the larger Foggy Bottom and D.C. communities. Yes, we are students, but that doesn’t mean we can’t work to improve our city.

This year as the weather gets colder, GW students should take some time to reflect on the ways we are more privileged than those who do not have homes. But that’s not enough. We should get involved in our community through service to show homelessness is a problem that matters to us.

Marina Streznewski, the president of the Foggy Bottom Association, recently organized a Homelessness Task Force to improve the community for both residents and the homeless. Streznewski told me that “people who are homeless are people first” – not the other way around.

Especially at this time of year, Streznewski stressed the importance of GW students, and everyone in Foggy Bottom, being aware of homeless members of our community. That means being more active in nonprofit and charitable events, drives and campaigns.

The Foggy Bottom Association is working on small projects that range from smaller tasks like making sure there are enough trash cans in neighborhoods and creating hygiene kits to distribute, as well as larger goals like starting a neighborhood watch system so neighbors can take care of each other.

Students can also get involved on campus. Hunger and Homeless Awareness week, held the week before Thanksgiving, is approaching. Since GW partners with the Human Services Program to participate every year, students have plenty of chances to help out. Events like poetry slams, hunger banquets and food drives are easy ways to get involved.

Of course, we’re only students. We are crunched for time on a daily basis, we eat Ramen noodles because we have no time to cook real meals and many of us are chronic procrastinators. But often, we can make time for what matters most to us. The wellbeing of our community should matter enough.

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