Let's talk about the elephant in the room. Or rather...the elephant at the dinner table.
For weeks, you've asked us: "Who is behind DW7S? Who is Hoya Stranger?" You've gossiped about it with friends on the second floor of Lauinger Library. You've talked about it at your dinners (Yes, we know). You've even written to us and asked directly. After over 500 dinners and 900 signups though, we've simply smiled and remained quiet. Granted, we've heard more than our fair share of guesses: A Georgetown secret society. Deep throat. President DeGioia. Gossip Girl. The Illuminati. Bill & Hillary Clinton. Katy Perry's notorious "Left Shark." And most amusingly, "MOM, I KNOW THIS IS YOU!"
The truth is...we're not a secret society. (Seriously, not.) We're not a president or a shark with great dance moves. We're not Bill or Hill. And we're not Mom. Though that would be pretty cool.
The truth is, we're just a bunch of people who believe in the magic of dinner. We're anonymous because it protects against the inherent biases we have as humans and Hoyas. Biases toward organizations, individuals, and even institutions. We are the people who believe that engaging in the inherent tensions of Georgetown is at the core of what it means to be a student here. We believe dinner is about getting to know those who aren’t like you rather than those who are - even when it's embarrassing, inconvenient, or awkward. We're the people who believe everyone should be invited to the dinner table.
When Bill Clinton spoke at Georgetown a few weeks ago, he urged those listening to consider the importance of inclusiveness. Radical inclusiveness, in fact. Clinton spoke of how leaders with inclusive visions were able to transform countries. He said, "In every public service success, leadership requires a vision for a better future where the purpose of public service is made plain in the circumstances of the moment, a clear understandable plan to realize that vision and the ability to actually implement changes by the inclusion of all stakeholders in the process.” We don't flatter ourselves into thinking that Dinner With 7 Strangers will transform an entire nation. But we do solemnly endeavor to ensure every Hoya knows he/she has a standing invitation to dinner. To include people rather than exclude them. So you see, we are the people who believe in a vision of inclusivity -- at Georgetown and beyond.
So then, you may still be asking: Who is Hoya Stranger? Today, the Washington Post published a story about Dinner With 7 Strangers. In the article, the Post does indeed reveal the identity of one Hoya Stranger.
But truthfully, that's not really important. The identity of Hoya Stranger is self-evident in the name. Hoya Stranger represents any and every Hoya -- the person who sat behind you in class, the person who lived across the hall on your freshman floor, the person who was class president, and the person who wasn't. Hoya Stranger embodies the idea that Georgetown is big enough to always meet new people -- but also small enough that you'll always know someone, even at a "random" dinner. For every familiar face, there's also a new Hoya Stranger too.
Borne of constant change, Dinner With 7 Strangers will inevitably evolve in the years to come. Dinners will be organized by new Hoya Strangers (anonymous nonetheless). A class of Georgetown will leave; another will arrive. And the conversation will span whatever is the nouveau chic. But rest assured, dinner will always include food, food for thought...
...and above all, it will always include you.