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GWU Campus News

Officials dissolve parent services office in student affairs division shuffle
by The GW Hatchet
Jun 06, 2016
“Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo by Olivia Anderson | Contriuting Photo Editor
Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski said reorganization within the Division of Student Affairs will help staff support students and families.
Updated: June 6, 2016 at 11:13 a.m.
GW is now the only one of its peer universities without an office devoted to parents.
Officials announced last month that as a part of sweeping budget cuts to the University's central administration, the Office of Parent Services would be dissolved into a new department that includes Colonial Inauguration, the CARE Network, student support and retention, and family outreach. Officials said the changes wouldn’t impact how those offices function, but the shift means some of the University’s most well-known support programs will no longer have their own leaders.
The new department, called Student Support and Family Engagement, is unique among GW’s peers. While many parent programming offices are involved in planning parts of student orientation, the combination of student wellbeing, parent services and orientation under the same umbrella department exists only at GW.
The move will make GW one of its only peer schools not to have a specific office that plans parent programming. Over the past three decades, GW’s parent's office also offered scholarships for parents to visit their students at school and oversaw a Parents’ Association Advisory Council.
Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski said in an email that the Division of Student Affairs was “excited that this new office will help us bring both students and their families together to provide support and address any concerns quickly and consistently.”
At the time of the announcement, Konwerski said the new structure wouldn’t impact staff's communication with families and that the new department would continue programs from the parent services office.
“We remain committed to providing services to parents and families and believe this structure will better align staff resources to work with parents and families to support their students through graduation,” he said.
He declined to say whether the changes would leave fewer staff specifically dedicated to parent services, the CARE Network or CI.
Last year, the student affairs division housed 10 separate departments, ranging from housing to student health to career services and student conduct.
This is the first year in a planned five years of budget cuts to the University's central offices. In December, University President Steven Knapp announced that all central administrative units would have to slash their budgets by 3 to 5 percent each year for the next five years.
Impact on student support
Ellis Gardner, a member of the Parents' Association Advisory Council, said he didn’t think the transition would negatively impact the group.
“The function is going to be the same,” he said. “There’s no question that we have commitment from the administration.”
Gardner added that former Parent Services Director Andrew Sonn, who will now head both the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities and the Office of Military and Veteran Student Services, was “overqualified” for his previous position and said his promotion would be a “great thing for the University.”
Incoming Council President John Wiles and several other members of the council did not return requests for comment.
The move to dissolve the parent services office comes about a year after its founder and longtime leader Rodney Johnson left his position. Johnson launched the parent services office at GW about three decades ago.
The office shuffle is also the latest change to GW’s landmark orientation program, Colonial Inauguration. For the past few years, officials have prioritized making the three-day program more pertinent to everyday life as a student at GW. Since 2007, officials have done away with the laser light show and engraved chocolates on pillows in favor of a more modest program. Last year, CI added mandatory sexual assault prevention training.
Changes for student health
Konwerski said Tracy Arwari, who has headed the CARE Network since 2013, would lead the new department within the Division of Student Affairs.
Mainstay Mark Levine, the former senior associate dean of students who led the University’s student health efforts, was let go as part of the office's staffing changes.
Konwerski said the department would instead create a new position – the executive director of the Colonial Health Center.
During his tenure at GW, Levine worked closely with Student Health Services and Mental Health Services. MHS was plagued by high turnover and the resignations of two directors in the past five years. In September, Director Silvio Weisner resigned after officials discovered that he was not a licensed psychologist in the District.
Student Association President Erika Feinman said in an email they hoped the new health center director “is open to listening to students about their experiences with health services in order to make the services provided more affordable and of better use to students.”
They added that it was important to ensure DSA offices remain active after the changes take effect.
“The Student Association will continue to work with DSA and other administrators to ensure that important services for students are not decreased or disregarded throughout this process of merging offices,” they said.
This post is updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that CI programs changed in 2012. Those changes took place after 2007. We regret this error.”

Continue your hobbies from home in the District
by The GW Hatchet
Jun 06, 2016
“Media Credit: Dan Rich | Photo Editor
Students in music organizations have access to music practice rooms in the basement of Shenkman Hall
You may be concerned when you move away from home that you’ll lose touch with your childhood or high school pastimes. Here’s how you can continue your high school hobbies once you've moved to D.C. and become a GW student:
If you were a band geek
Whether you spent your high school years playing electric guitar too loud in the basement or playing classical music in your school’s band, you don’t have to stop the beat at GW.
The Student Musicians Coalition is a group on campus that provides five practice music rooms in the basement of Shenkman Hall. The spaces are free to use and give students access to bass and guitar amps, a drum set and a PA system. The group also rents equipment to students to practice and perform anywhere they want.
If jamming out alone isn’t really your thing, you can join a variety of student music groups, including seven a capella groups, an orchestra and a flute choir.
If you were an artist
GW offers classes in painting, drawing and other artistic disciplines. Any GW student can enroll in these classes, and most of them fulfill a G-PAC requirement for students of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.
Students enrolled in those classes can access art studios, so you don’t have to worry about getting paint on your roommate’s side of the room. During the time you are enrolled in an art class, you can use the lockers in Smith Hall to stow your supplies and artwork.
If you were the all-star athlete
The Foggy Bottom campus doesn’t have much space for outdoor sports because of its location in the heart of D.C., but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for athletics at GW.
Former all-star athletes can work out in the Lerner Health and Wellness Center, which houses a three lane 25-yard lap pool that is free to students, or ex-athletes can live vicariously through GW basketball players by attending games in the Smith Center.
D.C. is also a prime location for runners. The National Mall makes a great running route, especially for freshmen, because it’s just four blocks down 19th Street from Thurston Hall. Endorphin junkies can also head down to Rock Creek Park to find some green space with longer running trails.
If you’re an ex-athlete looking for some competition or camaraderie, D.C. has several popular running clubs, including the D.C. Road Runners and D.C. Front Runners. The groups typically meet a few times a week for distance runs and are open to all ages and abilities. Most groups even offer student discounts.
If you were always breaking out into dance
For the dancers who want to do more than just twerk at a club, it's easy to find ways to keep dancing. GW offers at least 15 dance groups that range in style from ballet to hip hop to cultural dance.
If getting out into the city and meeting new people is more your style, visit a Northwest D.C. dance studio to take a class or join a performance group. Joy of Motion Dance Center is a short walk from campus and offers dance classes in more than 16 styles, fitness classes and groups that perform around the District. Joy of Motion offers drop-in classes, so you can choose how much time you want to commit.”

Nate Muramatsu: A rising sophomore's advice on transitioning to college
by The GW Hatchet
Jun 06, 2016
“The most confusing thing about the transition to college might be the advice that everyone gives you. Every adult in your life seems to have an opinion on what your freshman year should be like, and often the advice is conflicting.
When I got to college, I remember being told conflicting advice on how to make the most of my four years as a student.
"Grades should be your priority, but don’t spend all your time on schoolwork."
"Don’t worry if you don’t have an internship, but why don’t you have an internship yet?"
"Make sure you take time to enjoy the city around you, but don’t let the city distract you from studying."
As the members of the Class of 2020 approach their transitions into college, they’re inundated with dizzying expectations. In the summer between high school and my freshman year, I tried to get a sense for what everyday life in college would be like. I looked at the social media posts from college students I knew, talked to my parents and processed the things I heard during admitted students’ days and Colonial Inauguration.
But in the end, my transition to college was difficult because the expectations I created for myself weren’t very realistic. I thought I could handle classes and extracurricular activities without sacrificing a lot of my free time. I didn’t realize that meeting people and making connections took time and effort. To me, it felt like all of these stressors came out of nowhere, and that somehow, the other freshmen around me didn’t feel the same way.
I eventually realized that the best advice I got came from memes I found on college students’ social media – and that advice was much different than what admissions representatives and my parents had told me. Now as a rising sophomore who had a slightly difficult transition to college, I think I’m more qualified to give the Class of 2020 some advice.
The memes are right. Books are overpriced, the residence halls have a bunch of problems and you will most likely be – or at least feel – like you are broke. College classes are challenging, and because freshmen register for classes last, you’ll probably be stuck with taking classes at 8 a.m. If you feel like you’re having a particularly hard time adjusting, remember that you’re not the only one who’s dealing with the stress.
By understanding that what you’re feeling is completely normal, you might be able to better regroup and focus. It’s important to remember that these negatives are a part of college life.
Finding ways to deal with stress is important. Some students go on runs, take walks and explore museums and memorials. While you won’t always be able to take a two-hour break from work to walk down to the National Mall, finding your go-to study spot outside of Gelman Library is helpful. Some of my favorite places to study are coffee shops in Dupont Circle and by the White House.
It might sound cliche, but make time to do the things you loved to do in high school. The reason many people choose to go to GW is because it’s a new and exciting experience in a city. Combine these new experiences with things that you already know you love.
Find opportunities to speak publicly, network and meet new people. Some clubs and organizations at GW have tryouts or positions that require elections. Even if you haven’t done something like it before, it never hurts to try, and you may make friends along the way.
Despite what you might see, many students I know feel enormous pressure to succeed on the first try – I do, too. It’s easy to succumb to the feeling that everyone around you has their life together, and you’re the only one who doesn’t. You need to know that not everyone has a job. Not everyone has an internship. Not everyone has good grades, and almost everyone else feels an equal amount of pressure. It’s completely acceptable to feel these things, and you wouldn’t be a normal college student if you didn’t.
Approach all of your new experiences positivity, and work hard. Eventually, the cool GW moments you’ve heard about on social media will also come your way. You already fought most of the battle just by completing the college admissions process, and you’re ready for the next challenge. So, enjoy yourself. See music festivals and live performances with friends, take lots of pictures and make memories. When you find this balance in life at GW, you’ll overcome the transition and finally feel at home.
Nate Muramatsu, a sophomore majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet opinions writer. Want to respond to this piece? Submit a letter to the editor.”

D.C. Council allocates $200,000 for new West End Library collection
by The GW Hatchet
Jun 06, 2016
“Media Credit: Dan Rich | Photo Editor
The D.C. Council allocated $200,000 for a collection in the new West End Library, located at 24 and L streets.
The D.C. Council allocated $200,000 of next year's budget to open a collection in the new West End Library.
The new library – set to open next spring – will have an additional $200,000 for a state-of-the-art opening collection. Community members said that the new location is an opportunity to update the library’s resources.
The funding will go toward updated books and periodicals. D.C. Public Library officials will make the final decisions on books for the new building.
The library is temporarily located in the Watergate building until the new building is completed next year. The 10-story complex, part of a mixed-use renovation by the real estate development company EastBanc Inc., will offer residential units with luxury housing, retail space and three levels of underground parking.
Members of the Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission passed a resolution last month to support the increased funding for the library that the D.C. Council proposed at the time. The library's new content should be “reflective of a first-class, 21st Century” and should come in a variety of materials such as DVDs and e-books, as well as traditional books, according to the resolution.
“In order to be competitive, the West End Library’s collection must include all these things as well as the latest periodicals and research materials that, although they may be online, are considered part of the collection budget,” according to the resolution.
Patrick Kennedy, the chairman of the ANC, said a new library building has inspired ANC members to update the collections, which could “fall into complacency” if the building wasn’t updated.
He added that the community is “tremendously grateful” for the work on the new library.
“You actually have to have content in the library for the library to fulfill its mission,” he said. “It’s the kind of thing we wanted to make sure is in the budget this year.”
Developers broke ground on redeveloping the almost-50-year-old library two years ago, after the District Court of Appeals struck down a lawsuit that the D.C. Library Renaissance Project filed against the city for the renovation. The group protested the public-private partnership of the building and complained that the D.C. government was giving public land to a private company to make a profit.
Peter Sacco, the executive director of the Foggy Bottom ANC, said ANC members have been “actively involved” in the library’s development. He said that the ANC unanimously passed the resolution to show their support for the D.C. Council by allocating money in the budget for the library’s new collection.
“We wanted to ensure the full Council approved funding as part of the second vote on the budget,” Sacco said.
George Williams, the spokesman for the D.C. Public Library, said libraries the size of the new West End Library usually open with about half the books that the building’s capacity allows, making room to tailor the rest of the content according to the neighborhood's needs.
“We want to be able to have space to add those items to the collection,” Williams said.”

Delivery dilemmas: Dessert edition
by The GW Hatchet
Jun 06, 2016
“Media Credit: Dan Rich | Photo Editor
Captain Cookie is a GW dessert staple that delivers cookies daily until 4 p.m.
Got the late night munchies? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Thankfully, the District’s delivery game is strong, especially for those with a sweet tooth.
Cheapest: GoPuff
GoPuff is an online grocery store that carries everything from Kinder bars (two for $2.79) to boxes of Franzia ($17.95) to smoking sundries, like the Debowler ($4.95).
A one-stop shop that's open 24/7, you can grab a tube of toothpaste with your late night Ben & Jerry's delivery. They even have a Munchies selection chock-full of sugary goods so you can treat yourself at any hour of the day.
Although GoPuff tends to jack up its prices for individual items, its delivery fee is easily one of the cheapest around – they charge a flat fee of $1.95 per delivery, or free delivery with a purchase over $49.
GoPuff uses a points system – dubbed Puff Points – to encourage customer loyalty. The more often you order from GoPuff, the more points you earn, which you can later use to redeem prizes such like P.I.M.P. Red Hookah (750 points) or a six-pack of pong balls (100 points).
Fastest: Crepeaway
If there’s a need-to-know name in food around campus, Crepeaway is it.
Crepeaway is the perfect way to end your wild nights out or your lazy nights in, because they deliver their delicious sweet or savory crepes to your door in 30 minutes or fewer for $2.50, if you live on or near campus.
For the uninitiated, this delivery speed is unheard of in a city that usually takes an hour minimum to deliver anything, much less a piping hot crepe. This GW institution delivers until 11:30 p.m. on Sunday through Wednesday, 3 a.m. on Thursdays and 4 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Most Convenient: Captain Cookie
This dessert spot is a favorite among GW students for a reason – it’s fast, convenient and the cookies are always warm.
It’s a short walk from any of the Foggy Bottom dorms, but sometimes you don’t want to have to leave your bed to enjoy a perfectly-sized chocolate chip cookie with a side of cold milk.
You can order delivery online from Captain Cookie’s website with no delivery minimum and a $10 flat-rate delivery fee. But if you want to order a light night snack you’ll have to go through Postmates or Seamless, because Captain Cookie doesn’t accept deliveries past 4 p.m.
With flavors ranging from nutella to funfetti at $1.25 a piece or $7 for a half dozen, you can’t go wrong with this GW staple.
Tasties: Momofuku Milk Bar
Don’t bother with the lines at this recently opened chic bakery. If you’re tired of the milkshakes at Foggy Bottom staples like Burger, Tap & Shake and T.G.I. Friday’s, try a cereal milk shake: It’s pricey at $6.50, but the joys of drinking the sweet dregs from your cereal bowl in ice cream form are priceless.
And if you want a unique dessert altogether, try the “Crack Pie,” which has a gooey, buttery filling and a crunchy oat crust. A slice will cost you $5.50, but perhaps you want to share a whole pie with your five other roommates. If you all chip in for the cost, the $44 price tag doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker.
You can order through Postmates until Milk Bar closes at 11 p.m.”

Top spots to replace a Foggy Bottom dining hall
by The GW Hatchet
Jun 06, 2016
“Media Credit: Dan Rich | Photo Editor
Students shop for groceries and hot meals at Whole Foods Market on I and 22nd streets.
This year’s freshman class will be the first group to experience life without a dining hall on the Foggy Bottom campus.
This spring, officials announced that when a new company, Restaurant Associates, takes over as the dining partner this summer, J Street, the dining venue in the Marvin Center, will be scaled down, and freshmen will no longer be required to spend any meal money on campus.
While the new plan will give students the opportunity to spend their meal plan at any of the more than 150 GWorld partner restaurants in the GW vicinity, figuring out where to spend that money can be a bit overwhelming. Here are some of the go-to places on campus to replace J Street.
Whole Foods Market
2201 I St NW
The upscale grocery store dramatically changed the dining landscape near campus when it opened in 2011. Whole Foods offers a full level of groceries to stock up on supplies, if you’re lucky enough to have a kitchen in your dorm room.
It also boasts a cafe full of foods that you’d find in any dining hall. There are vendors where you can order customizable quesadillas, burgers, pizza, sushi and, the most recent addition, ramen noodles.
Whole Foods also offers a hot bar with favorites like macaroni and cheese and chicken wings, as well as healthier options.
As it’s pricey reputation suggests, groceries come at a cost, so it’s probably best not to spend too much of your GWorld funds here.
800 22nd St NW
Growing up, your parents probably told you to eat your vegetables, but healthy and affordable meals can be hard to come by in college. There’s no shortage of leafy greens at Beefsteak, though. The restaurant, which opened last year next to the Science and Engineering Hall, is the brainchild of celebrity chef Jose Andres.
It brings veggies to the growing fast-casual restaurant trend. Patrons can select an assortment of vegetables, which are then boiled and can be combined with a grain, sauce and protein, like mozzarella cheese or avocado.
Foggy Bottom Grocery
2140 F St NW
Commonly referred to as “FoBoGro,” this neighborhood spot offers all your freshman year essentials. It’s split up into a small grocery store and a downstairs deli. In the grocery store, you can find a variety of snacks, drinks, diary items, frozen meals, wine and beer. The deli offers sandwiches ranging from a $4 grilled cheese to the $8.69 Big Fat Pauley, with turkey, cheese, buffalo-ranch sauce and topped off with Doritos.
Burger Tap & Shake, 2200 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Let’s face it, almost everyone wants a spot on campus for a good burger. To replace your favorite dining hall grilled foods, head over to Burger Tap & Shake. They offer signature burgers for $8, including the Big Daddy, topped with bacon, blue cheese, and BTS’ special AP sauce. In addition to beef, BTS also serves pork, chicken, turkey, veggie and salmon patties.
Then, there are the shakes. BTS offers eleven different milkshake flavors, including the namesake BTS shake, featuring Butterfinger, Twix and Snickers bars pieces.
Foggy Bottom Farmer’s Market
I Street near the Foggy Bottom Metro station
Every Wednesday from April through November, I Street near the Foggy Bottom Metro station is transformed into an open-air farmer’s market featuring fresh fruits and vegetables, along with meats, homemade cheese, breads and desserts.
The market isn’t well-known around campus, but it is a great place to stock up on fresh food at prices often lower than Whole Foods'.”

Nostalgia food tour
by The GW Hatchet
Jun 06, 2016
“Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo by Kiana Robertson| Hatchet Staff Photographer
Wiseguys NY serves up traditional New York-style pizza by the slice. Take our nostalgia food tour for a taste of home in the District.
Missing home a little extra? There’s no better cure for homesickness than a familiar dish, served right here in the District.
Treat your taste buds to a nostalgic food tour that’ll take you back with the first bite, no matter how far away you are from home.
California: Surfside
2444 Wisconsin Ave. NW.
California is home to some of the best Mexican cuisine, second only to actual Mexico.
Although Surfside doesn’t serve a mean Mission burrito, their lighter take on Mexican – with copious use of grilled sweet corn, tahini sauce and pico de gallo – is both delicious and easy to eat. Not to mention, you can taste the freshness of their ingredients in every bite.
Anything on the menu is delicious, but meat lovers should try the corn-and-steak Andros burrito ($10.95), and vegetarians especially will enjoy the Martha’s Vineyard mushroom quesadilla ($10.95).
Extra points to Surfside for serving out of a literal shack, just like the real Californian hot spots do it.
California honorable mention: Philz Coffee
1827 Adams Mill Rd. NW.
This San Francisco institution recently opened in Adams Morgan as part of the third wave coffee revolution, much to the delight of West Coasters stranded in the District.
Grab a strong cuppa from the brand known for their quality coffee, especially the trademark Mint Mojito ($4.50) or the Philharmonic ($3.50).
New York: Wiseguy NY Pizza
300 Massachusetts Ave. NW and coming soon to District House
True N.Y.-style, hand-tossed, thin-crust pizzas are hard to find outside the Big Apple, but Wiseguy’s does a surprisingly delicious rendition. The fact that Wiseguy’s is based out of New York also boosts its authenticity.
Wiseguy’s uses an old school stone oven to cook its pizzas, resulting in that perfect blend of chewy crust and char, topped off with a bubbling coat of freshly melted cheese. Stay classic with a slice of Margherita ($2.99) or try the actual Wiseguy for a slice with homemade meatballs, three types of cheeses and margherita sauce ($3.99).
If you’re feeling up for dessert, also try their Junior’s cheesecake for an extra taste of home.
Wiseguy's will be even closer to your home in D.C., as it is one of the vendors coming to District House this fall.
Chicago: District of Pi
910 F St. NW.
That’s right, more pizza.
The District of Pi offers variations of the classic Chicago deep dish, like the South Side Classico with Berkshire sausage and mushroom ($18.95), or the zucchini, red pepper and Kalamata Bucktown ($18.95)
The District of Pi uses cornmeal in their deep dish to create that satisfyingly thick and crunchy crust.
Pi prides itself on its local craft beer selection, like its refreshing Great Lakes “Dortmunder Gold” lager (6.25) or its hoppy Stone IPA ($6.95).
The South: The Bayou
2519 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.
Students from the South can visit the Bayou for authentic Cajun fare, cooked by acclaimed chef Rusty Holman, and it's only a five-minute walk from campus.
The Bayou serves genuine New Orleans cuisine, like spicy roast beef po’ boys ($15), shrimp and grits ($21) and classic cajun chicken with mashed potatoes ($19).
To stay true to not just the food but the culture of New Orleans, Bayou hosts live music on Friday and Saturday nights. Guests can look forward to nights filled with jazz or R&B, and the Bayou also occasionally invites pop, rock and experimental bands to its lively establishment.”

Staff editorial: Class of 2020, meet the editorial board
by The GW Hatchet
Jun 06, 2016
“Updated: June 5, 2016 at 9:40 p.m.
As you begin your college career on the most politically active campus in the country, you may realize that people here like to disagree and debate. The Hatchet’s editorial board is no different.
You’ll hear from the editorial board at The Hatchet weekly when we publish our paper. We, just like other students, debate the many issues we face on campus. We disagree with some University policies, decisions that student organizations make and what happens at our peer institutions.
The members of this board disagree with one another, too. But each week, the six of us try to come to a consensus on the topics we debate.
Media Credit: Cartoon by Julia Korsyn
The goal of our staff editorials is to call students’ attention to issues that will have an impact on their experiences at GW. We believe it’s important to be active participants in our educations and our community. The editorial board's opinion isn't the final say on these topics, but we hope that readers can consider our point of view.
The editorial board consists of editors from different sections at The Hatchet, including opinions editor Melissa Holzberg, contributing opinions editor Irene Ly, managing director Eva Palmer, culture editor Grace Gannon, homepage editor Tyler Loveless and contributing sports editor Matt Cullen. Our editor in chief, Ellie Smith, sits in on our meetings to guide conversations and provide context but does not opine on the topic.
You’ll notice none of these editors cover news: Our newsroom and editorial board operate completely separately. If making our meetings and contributors separate wasn’t enough, the opinions team operates on a completely different floor of our townhouse on F Street.
We do our best to represent both The Hatchet and the University. We come from different parts of the country, represent different nationalities and share different life experiences, allowing us to all bring our own unique perspectives to discussions.
Every week, our editorial board gets together to discuss an issue on campus that students are buzzing about or to drive campus conversations toward noteworthy issues that some students may not yet be aware of.
Sometimes our editorials call on University officials to make a sweeping changes – like when we implored administrators to rescind Bill Cosby’s honorary degree. Sometimes we notice things happening at other universities and discuss how they could happen at GW, like when we considered how other schools host new student orientation.
Like any other group of friends or colleagues, we often do not agree with one another. Before every meeting, each member researches the topic, talks to experts and thinks about his or her experiences, so we approach the conversation from different perspectives. But we still try to seek a consensus, which becomes The Hatchet’s official opinion.
We want to encourage conversations with those who disagree with us, and we try to do that by scrutinizing topics that students should feel open to discussing with one another. Our hope is to provoke conversation, not end it. We are not here to claim our view is the only one or the right one. Rather, we want to share our opinion and start constructive dialogue on campus.
While our editorial board aims to come to a consensus each week, other students on campus do not always agree with us. Disagreeing with our editorial board is helpful. We encourage students who disagree with our editorials to write to us and have their own views published. The opinions section offers the chance for students, faculty, employees and unaffiliated readers to submit op-eds and letters to the editor that we will consider publishing online. We want to hear your opinion and understand the parts of issues that we may not understand ourselves.
We are excited to see what you’ll do here over the next four years, Class of 2020, and we’re ready for you to be part of our campus conversations.
The editorial board is composed of Hatchet staff members and operates separately from the newsroom. This week’s piece was written by opinions editor Melissa Holzberg and contributing opinions editor Irene Ly, based on discussions with managing director Eva Palmer, culture editor Grace Gannon, homepage editor Tyler Loveless and contributing sports editor Matt Cullen.”

Melissa Holzberg:Be open to changing your opinions in college
by The GW Hatchet
Jun 06, 2016
“This past February, my family came to D.C. to visit me. We sat in the bar of their hotel and caught up, talked about my classes and what I did for the Superbowl. And then we talked about Beyoncé.
As our conversation about the Superbowl halftime performance progressed, I realized that I disagreed with my family members about some key things. But more importantly, I realized that two years ago when I was in high school, I would have agreed with them completely.
Changing your opinion can be messy. While an opinion can be something as small as preferring yellow over blue, it can also be something that defines you politically or ethically.
Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo
Melissa Holzberg
And this messy process of forming an opinion can be exacerbated in college. The “college experience” is essentially a test tube of young adults from all different walks of life coming into contact with each other while they are still figuring out who they are.
After the dust settles around meeting your roommate, saying goodbye to your family and attending your first classes and student organization meetings, you will realize what I did at the beginning of my freshman year: You have the chance to be whoever you want to be here.
For some students, including me, becoming who you want to be begins with identifying your own beliefs and separating them from your family’s. That can be harder than it sounds. Spending a large portion of your life thinking one way about an issue can make changing your beliefs feel impossible.
We’re supposed to evolve as we get older. If coming to college and taking a whole range of courses doesn’t make you question anything you’ve believed in your life, then you probably aren’t taking advantage of what being a college student is. Question yourself, and question why you believe things. Your opinion might not actually change, but at least you will have taken the time to consider other points of view.
If you’re like me and grew up in a somewhat small, suburban town, then you probably understand what it’s like to grow up where people seem like carbon copies of one another. Kids tend to grow up having similar, if not the same, opinions as their parents. While I love where I grew up for the most part, I wasn’t surrounded by diverse opinions and people. When I came to GW, I was ready to expose myself to different opinions from students from different backgrounds.
And then I actually started hearing what other students said. When you come to a place like GW and have a big mouth, you are going to be confronted with other opinionated people, but with opposite viewpoints. Often I found myself getting extremely defensive about where I grew up, my political affiliation and what I wanted to do after college. Looking back, I should have handled things differently.
When you’re confronted with a belief that is different than yours, try to not only defend your own stance. Listen to what others have to say, and see their side of an issue. You might notice your own opinions beginning to evolve. Being inundated with all different types of people allows you to become more educated on the complexities of every position.
The affect heuristic – the “subconscious process of taking information and processing it through our feelings and instincts and life circumstances and experiences” – hinders us from evolving our beliefs. Our emotions can make it difficult to have constructive debates, so we find ourselves just affirming what we believe by telling someone else that they’re wrong. But that’s what we should actively try to avoid in college.
The moment you are confronted with what you once believed and what you now believe is when you realize that changing your mind is a messy process. Slowly, you might see yourself staying quiet on some issues that used to rile you up. Then you might realize the side of the argument you used to defend is now the argument you’re poking holes in.
I didn’t realize that my opinions had begun to change until I came home for winter break during my sophomore year. I realized that I agreed less and less with some of my family members’ opinions. It was unsettling to feel like the only different opinion in a household and to feel like my family judged me for changing my mind.
Maybe you'll adjust your beliefs as you go, like I did. And hopefully you can do it without yelling at your family members over Beyoncé, but maybe you should – it was pretty enjoyable.
Melissa Holzberg, a junior majoring in political communication, is The Hatchet's opinions editor. Want to respond to this piece? Submit a letter to the editor.”

Booker calls for graduates to remember the details and 'stay faithful'
by The GW Hatchet
May 16, 2016
“Media Credit: Dan Rich | Photo Editor
Sen. Cory Booker, D–N.J. delivered the Commencement address to 2016 graduates on the National Mall. Booker told graduates to remember the people surrounding them.
Updated: May 16, 2016 at 8:44 a.m.
For Sen. Cory Booker, D–N.J., it's all in the details.
In his speech directed to the Class of 2016, Booker told graduates that in their drives to make big changes in the world, they should never forget the details and people along the way. He told them to always “stay faithful,” and to be aware of the people helping them, not just of the big goals they are trying to achieve.
“Sometimes you get so ambitious running to take the world that you forget that we need to change our world first and foremost, our world of friends, our world of neighbors,” Booker said.
Booker, a former Rhodes scholar and Stanford University and Yale Law School graduate, said at times during his crusade against injustice, he has forgotten the people immediately surrounding him.
When he was a city council member in his hometown of Newark, N.J., Booker lived in public housing in what he called a violent and drug-plagued neighborhood to better understand the plight of the poor in his city.
While he served as Newark’s mayor, he gained online fame and national attention for his interactions with constituents, including rescuing a neighbor from a burning building in 2012, shoveling out an elderly man’s sidewalk and rescuing a dog who was left out in the cold.
During his time in public housing, Booker said he befriended a group of boys who lived in the building. Hassan Washington, one of the boys, reminded Booker of his father, with his quick wit and his struggles of being raised by a single mother. Booker said he grew concerned when the boys started using drugs, which inspired him to want to start a mentoring program.
Then, in 2006, Booker became mayor and said he got distracted “chasing after my big dream of changing the world.”
About a month into his term, he was called to the scene of a shooting and said, at first, he hardly noticed who the victims were. When he got home later that night and checked the police report, he was “stung” to recognize one victim's name: Hassan Washington.
Booker said the sorrow at the funeral was unbearable, with mourners bemoaning “a reality that is all too common in America – another boy in a box.”
“We were all there for his death, but where were we for his life?" he said. "We are Americans one to another, but we lose thousands of our children each year because of indifference, because of apathy, because we are just tolerating one another. We aren’t linked by love."
Booker said his father, who died shortly before he became a U.S. senator, had said, "It's not about the world. It's about you." In that moment, Booker felt as if he had let his father down by not doing enough for Washington.
Media Credit: Ashley Le | Hatchet Photographer
Graduates of the Class of 2016 and their families gathered on the National Mall on Sunday for University Commencement.
Booker referenced his parents throughout his speech, shaping his words to the graduates based on advice from his father. He said speaking on the National Mall was a particularly poignant moment because his parents had their first date at the nearby Jefferson Memorial.
He said his father told Booker that there are two ways you can go through life – as a thermometer or as a thermostat – and that graduates should always be thermostats to change the world, not reflect it.
“A thermometer just reflects the world that is out there,” he said. “If it’s hot, you get hot. If it’s cold, you get cold. You are just a reflection of what is, but a thermostat, it changes the temperature. It focuses on itself, it sets the level. Tell your truth.”
He ended his speech telling the graduates to “stay faithful,” saying they have succeeded so far by believing in themselves, in each other and in their country. He said he succeeded because he was faithful to the lessons his parents taught him.
“I want you to know that the world is calling you, and your nation is calling you,” Booker said. “Heed that, but there are also small voices calling you, too right next to you, right around you. Heed that call. Understand that you may not be called to change the whole world, but to one person this day, you can make a world of difference.”
The social media-savvy senator took selfies with students gathered on the National Mall, and in the hours after the ceremony, Booker responded to tweets from students on Twitter, thanking them for listening to his words and wishing them luck.
Your incredibly generous words almost make me misty. Thank you for your graciousness. Congratulations!
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) May 15, 2016
Such gracious words. Thank you so much and I wish you all the best.
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) May 15, 2016
Laurie, thank you!
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) May 15, 2016
GW’s Snapchat account, where Booker first announced he would be Commencement speaker, showed students gathering on the National Mall Sunday. Officials had said they hoped to keep the audience engaged during the ceremony by using social media.
Julia Haigney, the student speaker who first received her bachelor’s degree in international affairs in 2011 and has now earned a law degree, told graduates to branch out and “try some green eggs and ham” before deciding what their interests are.
“Like Dr. Seuss’ main character in 'Green Eggs and Ham,' I often have strong opinions about what I like and what I don’t,” Haigney said. “But, also like Dr. Seuss’ main character, my first impressions often deceive me and trying new things has allowed me to maximize my GW experience.”
Haigney said her “green eggs and ham” included moving to a new city, studying abroad twice and living in Thurston Hall three times. She thanked her mentors and the community at GW for their support and congratulated the Class of 2016.
“As you move forward in the world, I ask that you find your own green eggs and ham and continue to try them,” Haigney said. “Pioneer a field, take a risk or start a new adventure. Your green eggs and ham may change the course of history.”
At the ceremony, Booker, Baroness Joanna Shields and Albert Harrison Small received honorary degrees. Shields, the under secretary of state and minister for internet safety for the United Kingdom, spoke at the business school's commencement celebration Friday. Small is a philanthropist and president of Southern Engineering Corporation, a real estate and construction firm. He donated the Washingtoniana Collection to the University in 2011.
University President Steven Knapp said in an interview that he hopes graduates will use the skills they learned at GW to benefit the larger community.
“I know they’re going to take what they’ve learned here and apply it to making a difference in the lives of others, and I encourage them to always keep those ideals in mind,” he said in an interview. “I think our graduates will be pleased to be sent out into the world with this kind of rousing send-off.”
At the end of the ceremony, Knapp left the graduates with a brief charge: “Go out, be the light, remain faithful and change our world.””

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