View from the Loge: February 13

February 13, 2024

View from the Loge

February 13, 2024

Last Tuesday, Professor Holland stepped in for me to pick up after a faculty meeting so I could take care of a few things before that evening's event with the FDA Commissioner and one of your colleagues. In an “only at SMPA” week, Prof. Holland's action stood out because his seemingly small gesture defines who we are when we are at our best. 

This has been a very “only at SMPA and at GW” start to the semester. Professor Silvio Waisbord was named editor of the International Journal of Communication and he edited the new book, Public Scholarship in Communication Studies with an SMPA alum. Professor Janet Steele led a discussion about her new book Malaysiakini and the Power of Independent Media in Malaysia in the Elliott School. One of your classmates and I talked to the Commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration about trust in public institutions. This week we're cosponsoring an event with GW's chapter of the Association of Black Journalists. Next week Professor Frank Sesno is holding a public conversation with Governor Spencer Cox (R-Utah), political commentator Jonah Goldberg, and NPR's Michel Martin. In two weeks we're co-hosting a panel with Campaigns & Elections about reaching young voters and voters of color. SMPA has joined a coalition of journalism organizations inviting the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees to campus. This is all in addition guest speakers in your classes who are nationally recognized journalists, pundits and political operatives. Your professors are quoted in national and international media almost daily.

And it's not even March.

This may be what makes SMPA and GW unique, but it's not what makes us special. What the outside world doesn't see is the support we give each other behind the scenes. It's you and your classmates showing up for each other on panels in SMPA, in shows across campus, and in the stands for your classmates who are athletes. It's helping classmates puzzle through complicated readings, hallway conversations with professors and staff, consoling each other when things don't go to plan and celebrating each other’s wins, large and small.

It's not just you. It's staff jumping in at the last minute to help with tech issues or logistics, even if it's not their job or expertise and faculty covering classes for each other when life intervenes. It’s showing up for each other professionally and personally. It's Professor Holland picking up stray papers and coffee cups so I could focus on an “only at SMPA” event.

You came to SMPA and GW because of our world-class scholars, only in SMPA and at GW moments, and our network of loyal friends and alumni. That's all true and that's all great. But it's only half the story. The other half, that half that makes SMPA special, is what we all do everyday for each other that no one sees, but the effects of which we all feel.