Being part of a community means more than just living in it and complaining about it. Like every town, Georgetown has its issues, and as a new resident, you can choose to become part of the solutions, or just sit around and moan about all of the things you want. Luckily, Georgetown has various groups you can get involved in and an open ANC that you can pitch your ideas to.
ANC 2E: The Advisory Neighborhood Council, 2E, is your local Georgetown community board. Each district elects their own representative to serve a two-year term, and currently eight sit on the board. Their website provides a ton of useful information, but the first step is attending one of the meetings, where you can be better informed about the issues of concern in your community and bring up issues that you believe need to be addressed. Meetings are usually held on the first Monday of each month, but because of the new year the next one is Wednesday, January 2, at 6:30 at Georgetown Visitation. Be sure to check out the minutes of the meetings online before attending.
The ANC is chaired by Ron Lewis, but the other commissioners are very helpful as well. I’ve personally met a couple of the commissioners, and they are all pleasant and very willing to serve their communities. They are extremely easy to contact as well, as the ANC has made public their phone numbers and email addresses. If you’re going to complain or propose community solutions, at least do it in the right place.
Citizens Association of Georgetown: In an earlier post, I already described CAG’s forum for posting, but their organization is not just about talking about Georgetown, but improving it. CAG advocates mainly for the most permanent neighbors (i.e., not students), and is committed to keeping the community clean, peaceful, and historic. They have pioneered Concerts in the Parks, planted trees, and have taken on a number of safety issues. If you are a resident, you can join CAG, although there are annual dues to pay. It is a great way to stay in touch with projects in the neighborhood.
CAG’s Historic Preservation and Zoning Committee does some of their most enthusiastic work. Georgetown already has some of the strictest historic zoning laws in the city, and this committee seeks to make sure everyone in town is adhering to it, with the goal being keeping Georgetown historically preserved.
GUSA: If you’re a student at Georgetown, this is your board for all things on campus. The Georgetown University Student Association, led by its current president, Clara Gustafson, advocates for student quality of life and makes sure the voices of its students are heard. The
Georgetown Community Partnership: While things have rocky between the university and the neighborhood given Georgetown’s controversial campus plan, a new partnership that will have representatives from Georgetown’s administration and student body, CAG, and other community groups will seek solve issues between the parties before they boil over. Most notably, the partnership will focus on issues of parking, transportation, and students spilling off of campus into the neighborhoods. Their first meeting has set up working groups, and they should be announcing future meetings soon. If you are a concerned neighbor or student, this is an important development to pay attention to.
Georgetown BID: The Business Improvement District is extremely important to helping businesses in our area succeed and continue the traditions of fine shopping, dining, and entertainment in our community. They hold a variety of events all year round and rely on community support to help establish new businesses and make sure worthwhile ones stay in town. If you value the businesses on M, Wisconsin, and everywhere else in Georgetown, this is a great place to get involved!
Volunteering opportunities: If you just want to help out around town, there are always opportunities to volunteer. Currently, there are many ways that you can sign up to help improve our community. If you’re into historic preservation, the Dumbarton House is currently looking for people to become tour guides and assist in other ways. It provides a ton of learning opportunities for those who want to learn about Georgetown’s significance in the early history of our country.
Georgetown University Hospital also always needs volunteers, although they require a bit of commitment and an interest in the medical field. Although it mostly involves helping out in inpatient and outpatient areas and clerical work, it is a good way to help others navigate what could be a stressful or confusing hospital system. And there’s a lot to learn about the medical field as well.
The Georgetown Neighborhood Library can always use your help! Since it recovered from a fire in 2007, it needs help from community members at the circulation desk, stacking and re-shelving books, and assisting with events for both children and adults. Although it may not be the same pace as the hospital, spending time at our library could be a very rewarding (and even relaxing) opportunity.