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George Washington University

GWU Campus News
District Flea showcases vintage finds
by The GW Hatchet

Apr 08, 2014
“At District Flea, you can pick up an iconic White House postcard, but not to write a note home to mom and dad. At vendors like Sturgis Antiques, the postcards are already written in – by friends, family members and lovers in the 1960s.
Now in its second year, District Flea hosts more than 100 vendors where visitors can peruse tables of vintage treasures and handmade novelties, lingering between booths to chat with store owners and negotiate prices. The market features everything from antique cameras and letterman jackets to handmade bars of soap, candles and terrariums.
District Flea is the brainchild of D.C. native Hugh McIntosh, who wanted to bring New York’s street market empire, Brooklyn Flea, to the emerging youth culture of D.C. Before District Flea, McIntosh took positions as a musician and adjunct professor at GW, where he taught American literature two years ago.
This year, McIntosh will add 40 new vendors to his carefully curated mix, focusing especially on local small businesses and homemade goods. To respond to the District’s growing taste for interesting, tapas-style foods, he is also adding new food vendors like José Andrés' food truck, Pepe.
Navigating through the endless choices of vendors can be overwhelming, but our quick guide will help direct you toward two veteran and one new must-see tables.
Joint Custody
Go for : A vintage store specializing in vinyl records
Thumb through Joint Custody’s extensive collection that includes everything from punk, soul and hip-hop and you might find a dusty gem like Led Zeppelin’s rare "Physical Graffiti." Prices average $10 to $20, with more limited albums at the top of the price range and homemade bootleg recordings at the lower end.
Gary Langworth, a record enthusiast, sat behind Joint Custody’s tent at District Flea, explaining to visitors why vinyl is the ultimate source for quality listening.
“It’s just the format in general. It shows intention to listen to music – you have to have intent. It’s not like an MP3, where you just conveniently listen to it. It’s definitely a format that engages the listener,” he said.
Media Credit: Erica Christian | Assistant Photo Editor
District Flea will be open every Saturday through October from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 945 Florida Ave.
Sturgis Antiques
Go for: Rare consignment goods reflecting historical moments
At Sturgis Antiques, a new vendor, buyer Christian Sturgis auctions vintage pins from past elections, army jackets, and of course, the already written postcards. For the past 17 years, Sturgis has spent his hours scavenging for unique and ancient items, finding historical perspectives along the way.
“I’ve dealt with a lot of apothecary collections, and my apothecary collecting has gotten me into so much more of the history of European moors coming to Spain in 400 or 500 A.D., bringing tin-glazing and medicine and all the acquired knowledge that they got. Everything’s a starting point,” he said.
The Mid-Atlantic Club
Go for: Clothing and accessories from the ‘80s and ‘90s
The vintage-fanatics can find an outfit fit for Topanga Matthews at The Mid-Atlantic Club, which specializes in high-waisted jean shorts, cropped sweater vests and velvet skirts.
Because the clothing comes from a not-so-distant era, owner Cat Bodnyk dubs this style “young vintage.”
“A lot of people don’t consider it vintage, but I do, and it’s also mostly in style with younger people, so young vintage works in that sense as well,” she said.
District Flea will be open every Saturday through October from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 945 Florida Ave.”

Robin Jones Kerr: Remembering the Vern's charm in somber times
by The GW Hatchet

Apr 08, 2014
“Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo
Students make their way on and off the Vern Express on their way to class.
When I found out the University had assigned me housing on the Mount Vernon Campus for my freshman year, I was outraged. I had never imagined living anywhere other than Foggy Bottom for the duration of my GW career.
I thought the campus had few redeeming qualities. I didn’t see how I could possibly find my place in the cool crowd if I was miles away from those wild nights in Thurston Hall. I emailed dozens of strangers who had been lucky enough to be assigned to a main campus residence hall, begging them to swap rooms with me.
But my grandmother, with her steadfast wisdom, predicted that if I stayed where I was assigned, I just might end up loving it. At the time, I wrote her off. I knew she was ill-informed about GW, and besides, I was a bratty teenager, and I had convinced myself this housing assignment was the end of the world.
Now I’m not going to tell you that you should always listen to your elders, but damn, did she know what she was talking about. After just a few weeks of living on that 23-acre campus, I grew to love the Vern in a way I never could have imagined.
I often take these feelings of adoration for granted. But after the Vern was dealt a blow last week in losing its third student in as many months, I felt I needed to be intentional in recognizing them publicly.
I wanted to take some time to remember why I love that place, to remember all the amazing things it did for me and continues to do, in the hopes of shedding some light on the Vern in the midst of a dark news cycle.
The first time I ever set foot on the Vern was move-in day. As my mom drove our over-stuffed car up the rolling hills, past the flowering trees and red-brick buildings, she said, in a reverent tone, “Oh, this is very Robin.”
Media Credit: Nicole Radivilov | Hatchet Staff Photographer
West Hall on the Mount Vernon Campus.
That’s where my GW experience started. Since then, my time at this University has been tied to that little campus up on Foxhall Road. I got a job there that I’ll hold for four years. I made friends there that I’ve kept for three years. I fell in love with and for two years dated a boy I met there.
Even if I wasn’t a student staffer at Eckles Library, which requires me to take the Vern Express twice a week, I think I’d go to GW’s other campus just as often. There’s too much about the Vern that keeps me coming back.
There’s the immediate comfort I feel when I get there. As soon as I step off the bus, breathe the fresh air, feel beams of sunlight touch my face and see real green grass and trees, my shoulders drop and my jaw unclenches.
I’m also greeted by some of my favorite memories, like trudging from Somers Hall all the way down to Pelham Commons in West Hall for dinner almost every night of freshman year. Or the time I burst into my friends’ rooms and ripped open their curtains because it was snowing for the first time. I made us run out to the athletics field to play as if we had never seen snow before.
Some of my best memories are of just sitting around Somers’ second-floor common room on a Saturday night, when our Thurston counterparts were probably out getting drunk and buying greasy food at Carvings. We were content to just order good Chinese food and watch bad action-adventure flicks.
More than the memories, though, I think what keeps me coming back to the Vern is knowing that everything that was so comforting my freshman year. From the scenery to the campus staffers to the classic hang-out spots, it’s always right where I left it.
On Foggy Bottom, the campus changes with the seasons: New buildings rise each semester, conflicts with neighbors boil over, and with so many city and University employees traversing campus every day, it’s hard to keep track of which faces are familiar.
After what has been a tough semester for this campus and this school, we shouldn’t sideline or forget great stories about the Vern. Most students have at least a small connection to the campus, even if it’s just that they had to take University Writing there.
And I know I'm not the only one who has fond memories of the Vern. In fact, so many of us who have lived there insist passionately that no experience on Foggy Bottom can quite compare.
It’s hard to make sense of this place that at first isn’t anything particularly remarkable and that I once tried desperately to avoid. But what I can say is that even after living away from it for more than two years, going to the Vern today still feels like going home.
Robin Jones Kerr, a junior majoring in journalism, is a Hatchet opinions writer.”

After praising mayor's tenure, Jack Evans' mayoral bid misses the mark
by The GW Hatchet

Apr 07, 2014
“Nicole Radivilov | Hatchet Staff Photographer
D.C. Council member Jack Evans raised $1.4 million for his mayoral campaign – more than than any other candidate – but earned just 5 percent of the vote in the Democratic mayoral primary last week. Evans, who is Foggy Bottom's representative, has been on the Council for 23 years.
Though he finished with only 5 percent of the vote in last week’s Democratic mayoral primary, two-decade Council member Jack Evans says he did everything right in the race.
By nearly all accounts, Evans’ campaign ran like a well-oiled machine from his 14th Street office, leading the field in fundraising after raking in more than $1.4 million in contributions, attracting big crowds at D.C. landmarks like Ben's Chili Bowl and covering hundreds of lampposts with signs throughout the city.
“We started off by raising the most money, gathering the most signatures, having a great office, the most volunteers and signs everywhere,” Evans said Thursday. “I have no regrets about what we could have done better.”
But after his distant fourth-place finish, far behind winner Council member Muriel Bowser, many have pointed to Evans' failure to connect with and relate to voters.
Even though Evans pushed his two-decade-long economic record on the D.C. Council and attracted support from businesses, Evans couldn't overcome his close ties with embattled incumbent Mayor Vincent Gray, said Corey Goldstone, who helped steer Evans' campaign communication.
Evans, who has been friends with Gray for years, struggled to separate himself once the mayor jumped in the race in January. He decided not to take a hard-line approach against the accusations of corruption, which Goldstone said hurt the campaign’s chances with voters who wanted Gray out of office.
Media Credit: Nick Rice | Visual Director
“Running an anti-Gray campaign was not in the DNA of an Evans campaign. Jack was just never very comfortable criticizing the mayor,” Goldstone said.
Mark Plotkin, an alumnus and correspondent at BBC News, said Evans’ failure to connect with voters in his own ward revealed his message’s weaknesses.
“I think the thing that disturbed him was that his own ward didn’t even vote for him. It hurts when your own people don’t do that,” Plotkin said. Evans pulled in about 18 percent of the vote in Ward 2.
Goldstone said Evans – and most of his campaign staff – were caught off guard when Gray announced he would run for reelection this winter because of what they believed was an imminent indictment. He said they believed the chance of Gray running again was less than 25 percent.
Then as Gray pulled in fundraising totals to rival Evans , and Council member Muriel Bowser nabbed the Washington Post’s endorsement, the race shaped up to a duel between Bowser and Gray.
Bowser, a Ward 4 Council member whose family has long been active in D.C. politics, earned the surprise victory in last week’s election with 44 percent of the vote.
She also pulled in about 50 percent of the vote in Ward 2, an area that includes GW, where Gray had been a student in the 1960s. Evans said the loss in support was because locals doubted he could beat an incumbent.
Willem Brakel, 64, said though he lives in Evans’ ward, he voted for Bowser because he thought she was the candidate who could move the city forward and away from the corruption that marred the Gray administration.
“I have considerable respect for Jack, but I think he is part of an older generation,” Brakel said. “I think a white mayor in his 60s from Georgetown doesn’t capture the imaginations of this whole city. He doesn’t understand and he doesn’t have the energy that Muriel Bowser has. She is young – she is part of a new generation.”
Evans’ popularity was also tempered by his ties to big business in a city concerned with issues like affordable housing and being priced out of their neighborhoods, he said.
“He’s a candidate who has made his name developing the downtown area and dramatically improving the quality of life in his ward, but people in other wards saw Jack and said, ‘Does he understand my life or my problems?’” Goldstone said. “Affordability, gentrification, any time these words were mentioned, it was a negative for Jack and a positive for other candidates who showed it was their chief concern.”
More than half of D.C. residents believe the city’s booming development benefits whites and wealthy individuals more than blacks and low-income residents, leaving the city divided along racial and socioeconomic lines, according to a January poll in the Washington Post.
Plotkin said Ward 2, which includes GW and Georgetown University, could have been an Evans stronghold if he’d managed to get votes from college students, a demographic that rarely votes in city elections.
Tom Lindenfeld, the top strategist for Bowser’s campaign who also worked for former mayor Adrian Fenty, said the results of the election show that the city wanted a fresh start with a relatable mayor.
“The bottom line is, Muriel was the only candidate who ran throughout the entire city. No other candidate appealed to voters and tried to appeal to voters in areas that were black and white, rich and poor, and at the end of the day that worked,” Lindenfeld said.
Bowser now has eight months until the general election, in which she will face David Catania , an independent, at-large Council member who is the chair of the education committee. She has promised to improve middle schools by replicating successful programs in certain parts of the city, appoint a “deputy mayor East of the River” and create incentives for first-time homebuyers.
Rachael Gerendasy contributed reporting.”

Constantly surrounded by friends, freshman remembered for magnetic presence
by The GW Hatchet

Apr 07, 2014
“A few weeks after arriving at GW last fall, Benjamin Asma and his friends walked past the dozens of tables at the student organization fair in University Yard.
But when his friends tried to move on from a booth, they had to stop and wait because Asma was signing up for another group’s email list.
Media Credit: Photo courtesy of the Asmas
Benjamin Asma is remembered by friends as someone who could walk into a room and leave with 10 friends.
“It was hilarious, but that was Ben,” said freshman Emily Deanne, one of Asma's close friends and neighbors in West Hall. "He had such a wild spirit and a kind heart."
The 19-year-old freshman's death last week, the result of an apparent suicide attempt, stunned his self-proclaimed "West Hall family" and sent shockwaves across a campus still grappling with the death of senior Lynley Redwood on Tuesday. Both were residents of West Hall.
Asma was active in five organizations in his first year at GW: He played the trombone in GW Band, was a star breast-stroker for the club swimming team and a pledge in the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He was also a member of the University Honors Program and told his family he wanted to be a doctor like his uncle and grandfather.
Still, he made plenty of time for his friends, playing Mario Kart and watching comedies with his roommates and hallmates nearly every day. On Sundays, the second floor cooked dinner together, and after everyone else went back to their rooms, Asma would stay to wash the dishes. Other nights he would stay up late having deep conversations with classmates who needed to open up to someone.
Asma, a biomedical engineering student, also made new friends quickly. One of his neighbors in West Hall said he could walk into a party and leave with 10 new friends, drawing people in with his infectious smile and easygoing personality.
Freshman Jessica Ryabin, who lived in Somers Hall on the Mount Vernon Campus, said he always pushed her to work harder during class, at the gym and in the pool during their club swimming practices.
She once called him asking for help studying for a mathematics exam, and he appeared by her side in the library within minutes. She had worked on one problem for an hour, and he showed her how to solve it in five minutes.
But Ryabin said that just before spring break, Asma told her he wasn’t happy on campus. He had said his classes did not challenge him and that he wanted to transfer.
“I was shocked. Everything was going great for him,” Ryabin said. “And it wasn’t that it was hard. It was the opposite. It was too easy for him.”
Freshman Walker Smith had also met Asma through the club swimming team, and the pair quickly became close friends who talked every day and once walked around campus talking until 5 a.m.
He had last spoken to Asma on Sunday, two days before his suicide attempt. Asma told him that he hoped Smith would find happiness in his life, words that resonated with Smith only after learning of his friend's death.
"I can honestly say that Ben changed my life. He was the first person I ever felt truly like myself around, like I could do anything or say anything and he wouldn’t judge, he wouldn’t care, he would just listen," Smith said.
His mother, Leann Asma, said while her son was outgoing, he was also very private.
“We would talk to Benj, and everything was great. He was busy, he was engaged, so we assumed everything was fine. And it wasn’t,” she said. “And we won’t know probably ever what was really going on with Benjamin, and that’s going to be hard, but hopefully we’ll come to some peace with that.”
His mother also said she would remember him for “his big smile and his there’s-nothing-I-can’t-do attitude.”
Asma, who lived in Lake Bluff, Ill., is survived by his parents and two siblings.
His father, Benjamin Asma, Sr., said after the memorial service Thursday that his son’s legacy will be “the breadth of friendships that he has developed. It cuts across the entire spectrum of persons.”
This post was updated April 7 to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly spelled the name of Jessica Ryabin. We regret this error.”

Crime Log
by The GW Hatchet

Apr 07, 2014
“Theft/Credit Card Fraud
GW Hospital
3/26/14 – Noon to 4 p.m.
Open case
A staff member reported that her wallet was stolen and she later noticed unauthorized credit card charges.
Open case
Drug Law Violation
Ivory Tower
3/27/14 – 11:28 p.m.
Case closed
The University Police Department detected a suspicious odor and an administrative search of a room yielded about 15 grams of marijuana and paraphernalia.
Referred for disciplinary action
Madison Hall
3/31/14 – Unknown time
Case closed
A staff member reported that windows in the fifth- and sixth-floor kitchens were broken.
No suspects or witnesses
Drug Law Violation/Liquor Law Violation
4/3/14 – 1 a.m.
Case closed
UPD detected a suspicious odor and notified house staff. An administrative search yielded marijuana, drug paraphernalia with cocaine residue, non-prescribed Adderall tablets, alcohol and four fraudulent drivers’ licenses. Two students, one male and one female, were arrested for possession.
Closed by arrest
Compiled by Benjamin Kershner”

Senior leadership taking men's tennis into national rankings
by The GW Hatchet

Apr 07, 2014
“Propelled by a streak of 11 wins in its last 13 matches, the men’s tennis team is playing like it wants more than just its fifth consecutive appearance in the Atlantic 10 finals later this month.
With four wins against ranked opponents, the Colonials have risen from unranked to No. 53 in the nation in just a month, nudging up against the conference's perennial powerhouse, No. 45 VCU.
Behind this rise, however, is a team that still remembers its humble beginning this season, knows it still needs a win against top-50 competition and understands that a midseason surge doesn’t always lead to postseason success.
“We haven’t really succeeded, we’ve just done well. But there’s still a lot of work to do,” head coach Greg Munoz said.
The Colonials started the season with a harsh schedule, heavily slated with ranked opponents and little recovery time between games. The result: a rocky 1-4 start with few signs of being a top contender – all four losses coming against ranked teams.
“We didn’t play bad in the beginning we just had trouble clinching matches,” junior Francisco Dias said. “But as we kept playing those teams, we started gaining confidence in playing at that level.”
GW's first statement moment of the season came on the last day of February, during the beginning of a North Carolina road trip. The squad reeled from three straight wins, including a dominating 4-0 win over No. 70 Charlotte and a 4-3 upset over No. 60 UNC Wilmington.
“It was 3-3, and Ulrik [Thomsen] was playing, and he clinched it for us. After that, it kind of turned our season around. It was one of the biggest wins in our program’s history,” senior Nikita Fomin said.
While the Colonials have clicked at the right time – winning their first two conference matchups this weekend against Fordham and Richmond – the team still has plenty of obstacles, primarily their admitted individual inconsistencies. And the parallels to last year’s loss in the finals still loom large.
A year ago, the squad started 3-3 and finished the season 17-7. They started the season unranked and peaked midway through the season at No. 49, until they fell out of the national rankings and eventually out of the race for an NCAA bid.
But there are reasons why a dropoff shouldn't plague the team this time around. Thomsen has elevated his play this year, while his doubles partner, senior Viktor Svensson, has stepped up as another team leader – unexpected factors in the team’s recent success.
Though they play farther down in the order than their younger counterparts, Svensson and Thomsen have earned their teammates’ respect as the team has excelled.
“[Viktor] was always the quiet one, but this year he has brought a lot of energy and proven himself to be very vocal and that’s helped the team a lot in focusing and getting energy for fighting tough matches,” Dias said.
Since starting the season with a 1-4 doubles record, the tandem has gone 7-2 and proven that they can be vital to the team’s success, even at the No. 3 doubles position. With such a small roster, Munoz has been forced to play the senior duo every match, despite their limited experience on the court together.
Last year, Svensson rarely saw action in competition, but has contributed in every match this year, usually in the form of match-sealing points. On Saturday against Richmond, the duo clinched the vital double points for GW with an 8-7 victory.
The team takes on Georgetown and George Mason this week before the A-10 Tournament begins April 17.”

by The GW Hatchet

Apr 07, 2014
“Monday, April 7
Why Teach? Panel with Arne Duncan
Join Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, GW faculty and alumni for a panel discussion on the teaching profession.
2:45 p.m.
Marvin Center Continental Ballroom
Tuesday, April 8
Evening with the Experts
Meet with alumni who have studied abroad and learn more about their experiences.
7 p.m.
1918 F St.
Wednesday, April 9
GW School of Business Graduate Programs Information Session
Network with deans, faculty and admissions counselors in the School of Business.
6 p.m.
Duquès Hall
Saturday, April 12
Skeet Shooting with GW TRAiLS
Go skeet shooting in Prince George’s County with GW TRAiLS. No experience is necessary.
11 a.m.
Meet in Marvin Center Great Hall”

by The GW Hatchet

Apr 07, 2014
“Nick Rice | Visual Director”
by The GW Hatchet

Apr 07, 2014
“Media Credit: Nicole Radivilov | Hatchet Staff Photographer
Fireworks exploded over the Washington Channel along the Southwest Waterfront to celebrate the city's annual Cherry Blossom Festival, which commemorates the 3,000 cherry trees given to the U.S. by Japan in 1912. The festival draws about 1.5 million people each year and traditionally marks the beginning of spring.”

Lawsuit filed by former cleaning workers at GW alleges mistreatment, unfair pay
by The GW Hatchet

Apr 04, 2014
“After eight months of protesting, more than a dozen former workers have filed a class-action lawsuit against a GW-contracted cleaning company alleging unfair treatment and withheld wages.
The 13 employees, who cleaned three GW residence halls last year for BRAVO! Building Services, claim they are owed a combined $150,000 in unpaid wages and damages for working up to 16 hours a day.
The workers claim they were promised $12.50 per hour for cleaning Thurston and Potomac halls and Ivory Tower after move out, but were instead “grossly and unlawfully” paid below minimum wage, according to the lawsuit, which was filed last month.
For example, one of the plaintiffs Luis Diaz said he worked 120 regular hours and 127 in overtime, but was paid just $1,328.13, which is about a third of his wages he should have earned. Another plaintiff Jose Monge said he worked a total of 127 hours and 157 in overtime, but was paid $2,012, less than half of what he should have earned.
BRAVO!, which worked at GW for three years, didn’t formally track workers’ hours and instead asked them to write their timesheets on paper towels or napkins, which is illegal under D.C. law, according to the documents.
They will face a hearing at the D.C. Superior Court on June 13.
University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said BRAVO! last worked on campus in August. There are no current or pending contracts for them to work at GW again, she added.
“The university is not aware of the details of the current situation between BRAVO and its employees, but is hopeful that the parties are able to resolve their outstanding issues,” Csellar said.
The Progressive Student Union has helped the workers in their fight since last year, petitioning and meeting with officials to push them to ban future work with BRAVO!
Junior Cavan Kharrazian, an organizer in the group, said he was “extremely disappointed” by the University’s decision to ignore the actions of its contractor.
“Wage theft is theft,” Kharrazian said. “When it comes to white-collar crime against the members of our community who ensure that our university runs at its most basic level, the university seems defenseless.””

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