Can you help?

The new semester is almost upon us: alarmingly (at least to me) GW classes begin BEFORE Labor Day this year. I am certain that some cosmic injunction has been broken, and am hard at work trying to stop it … but without much success so far.

This summer we have been renovating Rome Hall 771, the beloved English Department seminar room. If you are a current student or graduated after 1993, you know the space I am talking about, since you spent long hours enraptured by professorial pontificating within. The room was worn to the point of being embarrassingly shabby. When alumnus Jason Filardi arrived to teach a course on screenwriting last spring, we eventually had to relocate him because the only technology the room possessed was a malfunctioning VCR/DVD player attached to an ancient monitor. Meanwhile three chairs had collapsed, in one case toppling a faculty member. Although I ordinarily live for such moments of unexpected comedy, I also realize that furniture ought not to present a hazard to classroom wellbeing.

Once the renovation is complete the room will possess a new carpet, fresh paint, new chairs and tables, a computer mounted in a lectern, a drop-down screen, a white board, and a ceiling mounted projector. Yes, I know, these are the features that any contemporary classroom ought to have, but believe me when I say that Rome 771 would never have been equipped with any of these had I not opened the departmental coffers (such as they are) to do so. Fortunately a gift contributed by the Rose family several years ago enabled us to instigate the renovation process. We are now nearing completion, and with completion comes the bill. If you have ever done even the smallest home improvement project you know where this is going: that bill is of course going to be much steeper than we initially anticipated. You can’t replace a lightswitch at GW without the electrical team doing a detailed study.

So, as department chair I am requesting that you consider supporting the renewal of this space that forms the heart of our department. Our students take their creative writing and literature classes here. Our faculty meet here. This is our space for seminars and symposia, for events open to alumni and the public. Any contribution you can make will be received with gratitude. You may mail a check made out to GW (memo line: English, sent care of Adancement Office, 801 22nd St NW, Suite 212, Washington DC 20052) or you may use a credit card and contribute via this link, but please ensure that you designate your contribution for the ENGLISH DEPARTMENT. All contributions are fully tax deductible and your name will be featured on this blog. We might even compose a sonnet about you.

We thank you for your support!

Jeffrey Cohen

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