By: Jeffrey Adelson
Photos by: Isabel Lord
It was a scene many Georgetown students can relate to — browsing through CHARMS the summer before freshman year, worrying about finding the right fit not only in a roommate, but at Georgetown. This same uncertainty troubled Alex Lubeck (MSB ‘17) and Perry Budd (COL ‘17), until their similarly eclectic taste in music brought them together. Fast forward to last year and this roommate pair, now joined by Paul Henderson (COL ’18), found their place on campus in Alex and Perry’s Village A room, surrounded by their own writing, art, and music. They describe an intimate and personal, if a bit claustrophobic, space, where all of their various interests and work were spread out around them. They were immersed in what matters to them. Yet while Alex, Perry, and Paul were all good friends, they regretted that they couldn’t share their passion and creative energy with others on campus.
As I sit with them today, Perry remarks on social and creative life at Georgetown, “Maybe you find your lane or maybe you don’t. If you don’t, you’re caught in this middle ground where you can do nothing or you feel like you can do nothing.” Alex remembers, “We started talking way early on about how this place needs something, a space, a group, where people can get together and work on whatever they want to work on and then meet people who have similar interests.” They felt a particular deficit on campus, the need for a group that could aggregate the creative energy at Georgetown and bring together musicians and photographers, directors and writers, painters and poets alike. After observing art show events previously staged on campus, Paul pinpointed his concern, “They were so fleeting, what about the whole creative process up to that point?”
As discussions continued into the summer, their musings came into focus; they wanted to create a student group. With senior year looming, Alex spurred himself to action, “I can’t come back to this place for another year without this!” Perry and Alex wrote the mission statement for their nascent group, the ensuing Facebook page quickly gaining upwards of 200 followers. The members were enthusiastic about the idea, and invitations to share and collaborate quickly spread. Through the summer and into the start of the semester, a leadership team and board formed for GUCCIAF – the Georgetown University Collective of Creative Individuals And Friends. In addition to Alex, Paul, and Perry’s focus on music and writing, other leaders were added with interests in film direction, photography, graphic design, and a number of other fields. The group’s first event was held at the end of September, and included over 4 hours of live music from student groups and DJ’s, as well as student visual art and poetry.
Encouraged by new membership and the positive reception of their first event, Alex decided to do something he was initially wary of; he decided to apply to become an officially recognized Georgetown club. The application was denied and the Clubs and Activities Board did not provide the GUCCIAF leadership with any indicated path to club status. Regarding CAB’s ambivalent response to their application Perry says, “The challenges we’ve received from them have only… stoked the fire of wanting to show something wrong with that perception,” — the perception that Georgetown does not need to foster more creatively-focused student groups. “Yeah, now we’ve realized… that it’s not just a cultural problem of lack of arts appreciation — it’s an institutional problem,” adds Alex. Deciding to proceed without University support, Alex has embraced the freedom this will give GUCCIAF to put on their events, while recognizing the continued need for other groups on campus to encourage student creators. For now, the group continues to expand their membership and fundraise to ensure they can operate during the 2016-17 year and beyond. It’s about “finding the people who need this space but don’t know yet that it exists,” says Alex.
Paul adds on the acronym, “The ‘and friends’ is a nice addition too as it does encapsulate the fact that we’re not just here for [the creators], we are here to unite a lot of different creators from a lot of different disciplines and bring them into one space, but their friends are absolutely 1000% welcome in that space too.”
GUCCIAF’s next event will occur October 28th and is accordingly Halloween themed, featuring live student music from 6pm to 10pm, a pop-up gallery, student films, and student DJ’s after 10 pm. The event will be held at 1239 37th St. (as was the first) and is open to all. Alex, Paul, and Perry encourage people to find them on Facebook, join the GUCCIAF group on Facebook, or write them at GUCCI.firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or ideas.
Alex, Perry, and Paul would also like to give special shoutouts to: Beth, Stephanie Kim, Tom Garzillo, the GUCCIAF Board, Sarah in Gelardin, Kalelover69, and the Georgetown University Chess Club International.