As I approached the archway of the ICC building yesterday, I noticed, along with other announcements of events, an 8.5 x 10 inch piece of paper taped to the brick wall.
The authoring group or persons were unidentified. Instead of announcing an upcoming lecture or a performing arts event, the sheet contained a numbered list of items. Its format was odd enough that it caught my attention.
The title conveyed that this was a list of features of Georgetown for which the anonymous authors were thankful. It was a list of services on campus, of people who provide care to students and faculty, and of programs that are part of the Georgetown community. Although the list was numbered, I didn’t really perceive a priority implication of the order. Rather, it seemed more like the result of quiet reflection about one’s life on campus.
I must admit the uniqueness of the announcement and the mystery of the who, how, and why of the list captured my attention. I stopped my usual rush to the office in an attempt to understand its origin and purpose. I’ve since given up, but I greatly admire the idea of the list and its effectiveness of literally stopping me in my tracks.
I do know that I owe the author(s) an appreciation. In attempting to unravel the mystery, I’ve realized that I too have a list of those attributes of Georgetown I appreciate.
First to come to mind are the members of several faculty and student groups that give the provost office input on new initiatives and ways to improve the university. All of these are volunteers. Each has his/her own duties and stresses in their current role. They freely give us advice despite limits on their time. Their very willingness to help us in this way is testament to their devotion to the institution. Instead of merely seeking their own success, they want to produce a better community.
Second to mind was a recent event. I was walking across campus yesterday and saw the grounds crew, leaning over the flower beds digging up the dying fall flowers and planting bulbs that will be the Spring flowers. They were each bent at the waist, tilling the soil and injecting the bulbs into the ground. I could imagine my own back ache after hours of such work. It also reminded me of how proud I am to see the bright flowers at the front gates on a sunny Spring morning. I should have thanked those men as those thoughts quickly ran through my mind.
Finally, as the students quickly emptied out of the campus as the hours progressed this Thanksgiving week, the campus became quiet. Today, Wednesday before Thanksgiving, there were few faculty around, almost no students, especially in the afternoon. Those hanging in through the Wednesday hours were disproportionately administrative staff, committed to finishing out their work, regardless of the class schedule. On many days, they often stay later than others. They’re often here when faculty and senior administrators are away. I appreciate their commitment to the institution and to the community of which they are such an important part.
Those are a few of the parts of Georgetown that make me grateful. Thanks to them (and thanks to the author(s) of their own list for making me stop and pay attention!).