The Georgetown Village Well

Well Talks OctoberThe concept of a “well talk” intrigued me. I imagined an old well in the middle of a town square, one used constantly by all the villagers. Used for all daily life activities, for meals, for livestock, for cleaning. These were not, however, solo tasks – since everyone shared chores. The well is where one could get their precious water but could also talk and engage in daily life with neighbors.

An equivalent of this communal space is rare in the fast-paced and often self-centered world of today. So when I first heard about the Well Talks, I hoped that these discussions would emulate my idea of those village wells, a place where the Georgetown community could come together and safely share its diverse views and stories.

The first round of Well Talks centered around the #BlackLivesMatter movement and subsequent emergence of #AllLivesMatter. It was refreshing to start with such a hot issue because it required maturity and honesty in its discourse. A variety of students spoke up on different aspects of these national movements and offered different solutions and perspectives. Eventually, the focus of the discussion shifted to Georgetown’s own history of racial equality and inclusion. There are many current issues on campus that I had never taken the time to think about before, such as the lack of diversity among faculty and the naming of Mulledy Hall. I left the Well Talks encouraged by the candor of the night’s discussion and contemplative about my own take-away from the event.  

Even though I entered quite uninformed about the topic, I knew that this discussion would be an opportunity for me to learn from trusted sources: my classmates and friends. It is quite different to engage in active debate about an issue, rather than simply reading about it online or listening to the news. Internet comment sections and social media can only go so far in discourse. These approaches lack the authenticity and personal connection that are needed for these sensitive issues. Community engagement like the Well Talks connects people to issues on a deeper level.

These Well Talks will be beneficial both in spreading awareness for social issues and in the growth of the community of Georgetown. We all need that village well.

Written by Katie de Araujo, F’18

Join us for our next Well Talk, sponsored by the Georgetown Protestant Ministry, on Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. in St. William Chapel. We will be screening the documentary Southeast 67 and engaging in a discussion over dinner afterwards.