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GWU Campus News

Smith Center staple leaves behind 'G-dub' legacy
by The GW Hatchet

May 22, 2015
“Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo by Dan Rich | Contributing Photo Editor
Ed Metz cheers on men's basketball in a game against Dayton this past season. Metz and his signature "G-Dub" chant have become synonomous with the Smith Center atmosphere, but the Colonials superfan is moving back to Ohio after four decades in the District.
Updated: May 21, 2015 at 4:42 p.m.
Never particularly athletic like some of his siblings, Ed Metz wanted to be a cheerleader at his high school, but positions were never offered to men. But in 1980, GW's cheerleaders needed a male for their squad — and the GW temporary worker-turned-senior secretary finally got the gig.
He lasted just one year.
"Students were throwing trash into my megaphone," Metz said. "So then I thought, 'It's time to retire at the end of the season,' and I did."
Then the 30-year-old reject cheerleader took to rooting on the sidelines, and over time became an institution at the Smith Center.
But the Colonials are now in need of a new No. 1 fan. Thirty-five years later, Metz is ending his career as a Smith Center mainstay to go back home to Ohio after losing his partner of 40 years to a heart attack.
"He was really a game changer and he will be missed," three-year starting small forward Patricio Garino said.
Metz could always be found hanging over the baseline first row seats, behind the backboard, on the GW bench side. He would get there before game time and jump to his feet in full applause when GW Cheer would enter the arena.
Known as the "G-Dub guy," Metz would stand up at a break in the action during a basketball game, stretch out his arms wrapped in the sleeves of a buff-colored turtleneck accompanied by a blue beanie hat and chant in his raspy voice — hoarse from years of rooting for his GW favorites.
He would form a big "G" with his arms, crossed, with hand over hand and the student section sends back a YMCA-styled "W" roaring the second part of the cheer, "Dub."
Since Metz started the chant a few years ago, it has become a favorite. He finds it easy to do from up in the stands looking toward the Colonial Army. When Metz missed a few games this season, the students picked up the chant — keeping the tradition alive in a way that could have had freshmen thinking it had been going for decades.
"You can hear his voice, and when the rest of the building interacts with him after he chants 'G' and everyone else chants 'Dub,' it's a special sight to witness," three-year starting point guard Joe McDonald said.
Born and raised in Buckeye nation, Metz grew up in Ohio with seven siblings. His father wasn't a sports guy, but two of his brothers played — one high school football and the other soccer. Metz took a liking to basketball in high school, where his school was a regional powerhouse.
When he graduated he headed to the Ohio State University. He studied engineering, but never graduated. Metz would start an English degree at GW but never complete it either. What Metz did do during his time as a Buckeye was pick up a love for football. From 1966 to 1983, he said he never missed a Ohio State–Michigan football game. Soaked in a culture of winning, he learned how to become not just a fan but a fanatic.
Metz had moved from Ohio to D.C. in 1975 to work for IBM in Manassas, Va. He chose the location because he could stay with family members in the area, and had no idea he would end up rooting for the Colonials.
"My mom came up here and I brought her in here to see, and she said, 'This is a basketball arena?'" Metz said. "She couldn't believe that I was rooting for such a small school like this."
He was wandering around Foggy Bottom one afternoon when he stumbled in on a basketball game between GW and West Virginia, a battle in the old Southern Conference.
"I went over and sat in that section there," Metz said, pointing across the Smith Center from his usual game day perch. "It was all West Virginia fans in here and I didn't know who to root for because I wasn't a GW fan or anything. So I started cheering for GW because they went ahead.”
The Smith Center and GW basketball program have grown since the days when Metz, who became a season ticket holder after that first season, used to sit with the students in the bleacher-style stands.
"Primitive seating, but you were kind of jammed in," Metz said. "A big game after we'd win, they'd rush the floor. It was just more intimate. Now it's just more individual seats. It's just a little different."
Metz said he was nearly done with the Colonials in 1989 when the team went 1-27 on the season.
"I thought I was going to give up," Metz said. "I couldn't believe it."
But the crowd kept him coming back. He hung around and the team rose to success under Mike Jarvis and Karl Hobbs. GW took a trip to the Sweet Sixteen with Yinka Dare and Dirkk Surles in 1993. In 2006, Metz headed to Greensboro, N.C. to see the team lose to No. 1 Duke by 13, in what he calls his favorite season.
Metz can be like a Colonial basketball encyclopedia. He remembers the golden years with no waning lust and can recall key baskets by his favorites, like 2012 alumnus Tony Taylor, the "fierce" and "intimidating" Mike Brown and Shawnta Rogers, "the Mighty Might."
"He had an uncanny way of igniting an arena, and was as responsible as anyone for augmenting our home court advantage," athletic director Patrick Nero said. "We'll need a new Ed to emerge next season."
This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that Tony Taylor is GW's all-time leading scorer. Chris Monroe is GW's all-time leading scorer. We regret this error.”

Staff Editorial: Stay tuned: Stories to keep watching this year
by The GW Hatchet

May 18, 2015
“Unless you’re taking summer classes or living in University housing, it can be easy to forget about GW over the summer.
But GW doesn’t forget about us. Officials keep making decisions, teams keep recruiting and practicing and student organizations keep preparing for the upcoming school year.
It’s tempting to block the University from our minds as we relax over the next few months. But some story lines from this year will play out over the summer and into next year. Keep these topics on your radar as you’re lounging at the pool or fetching coffee as an intern this summer.
The uncertainty of the budget cuts
Financially, it hasn’t been an easy year for GW. A dip in graduate enrollment has had repercussions, like a 5 percent cut to most departments' operating budgets, a delay to parts of the strategic plan, 46 staff layoffs and a higher acceptance rate for next year’s freshman class.
Unfortunately, these financial difficulties likely won’t end any time soon. It’s only May, and there’s still a lot that can change: More positions could be cut, programs could change and other academic departments may suffer.
There are some students who have been directly affected by these cuts, like those involved in the music department. For others, the University’s financial troubles might be easy to brush off as long-term problems that won’t affect current students.
But unlike some issues, like the lack of sufficient donations for the Science and Engineering Hall, these budget cuts are more tangible. Even as students head to various destinations this summer, the University will continue to cope with its financial challenges.
It’s time for students to pay serious attention to the layoffs and slashed budgets. It’s important to understand that the University has to find money somewhere, and some cuts are likely unavoidable. And the student body also has to keep in mind that, thanks to the budget cuts, it’s likely that asking the University to fund new programs and initiatives could be a little bit harder.
Student groups' frustration with the Student Association
The SA recently passed a budget that has made some student groups on campus unhappy. Some organizations were awarded funding for food and small events, while more than 50 budgets were denied altogether — and some student organization leaders don’t understand why. It’s likely that the growing tension between student groups and the SA will only increase when students return to campus in the fall and have to work with their smaller-than-desired allocations.
Some of the blame should certainly fall onto the SA’s complicated budget allocation process, and the SA finance committee should try its best to make that easier. But it seems like student organizations aren’t completely innocent, either, if they haven’t been communicating with members of the SA.
There are resources meant to help student leaders understand the allocation process, and it’s up to student groups to utilize them. A senator is assigned to each student group and is available to answer questions, and members of the SA make themselves accessible through office hours.
If all else fails, student organizations do have other options. The summer is a perfect opportunity to raise money and plan for fundraising activities to make up for the deficits that the SA could not fund. For example, it would be smart for groups to replicate SASA’s approach and try fundraising online to make up for the funds they were denied.
Bickering between the SA and student groups can have a huge effect on student life at GW. Student organizations bring a lot of life to this campus, but when they don’t have the funding they need, students are the ones who lose out. Hopefully, after everyone has a chance to take a break from the drama this summer, the SA and student groups can do a better job of working together.
A tense relationship with Foggy Bottom
The University hasn’t always been on the best terms with Foggy Bottom residents. Neighbors have voiced their concerns about the 2007 campus plan to University President Steven Knapp, complained about students’ loud parties and, most recently, have publicly expressed their fears about GW’s increasing enrollment.
The University recently modified its campus plan to account for students in the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design who take classes or reside on Foggy Bottom. Neighbors have reservations about GW’s enrollment numbers becoming hard to control, and have raised concerns like “competition for sidewalks” and an unfettered increase in the volume of students on campus.
Foggy Bottom residents’ complaints aren’t new information, but that doesn’t mean students should ignore them. The more neighbors express their concerns to the University, the more likely it is that officials will try to control students breaking rules off campus.
As students, we can’t do anything about campus construction or the enrollment cap. But we can still try our best to avoid giving Foggy Bottom’s residents something to complain about. They’ll have a break from us over the summer, but when we return in the fall, it’s important for us to remember to coexist, and that we aren’t the only ones who live here.
More opportunities to be a fan
Anyone who paid close attention to the men’s basketball team this year was likely disappointed. Despite a relatively successful season, the team didn't make it into the NCAA tournament.
Hopefully, that won’t be the case next year. Mike Lonergan, head coach of the men’s basketball team, has one more opening on his roster after three players transferred and two spots were filled— an opportunity to bring fresh talent to the team. There’s speculation Lonergan will make this move over the summer, so fans should keep an eye out for that news.
But there’s a lot to look forward to when we get back to campus, too. Unlike this past basketball season, many of the most important match-ups, for both the men’s and women’s teams, are scheduled to take place on our campus, giving students a chance to cheer them on in person.
Unfortunately, at a school where even the most popular team has low game attendance, many of us tend to forget that GW has plenty of successful Division I sports apart from basketball. But students should be paying attention to other sports, too. The Atlantic 10 Conference recently reached a new deal with the American Sports Network, meaning other sports, like men’s and women’s soccer, softball and volleyball, will be aired on television.
So students should stay tuned and get excited over the summer: The men’s basketball roster will look different, more games in the Smith Center make it easier to be an enthusiastic fan and other sports at GW will get a boost from more television coverage.
The editorial board is composed of Hatchet staff members and operates separately from the newsroom. This week’s piece was written by opinions editor Sarah Blugis and contributing opinions editor Melissa Holzberg, based on discussions with managing director Rachel Smilan-Goldstein, design assistant Samantha LaFrance, and copy editor Brandon Lee.
Want to respond to this piece? Submit a letter to the editor.”

From Guatemala to Portugal: Graduating seniors explore the world
by The GW Hatchet

May 11, 2015
“Updated: April 11, 2015 at 12:20 a.m.
We spoke to five graduating seniors who are moving far from Foggy Bottom after Commencement. Here's a look at what they'll be doing next year.
Fixing planes for the Navy
Media Credit: Sam Hardgrove | Hatchet Staff Photographer
Next month, Polly Drown will ditch the classroom for some more hands-on work fixing planes for the U.S. Navy at a fleet readiness center in San Diego.
While sporting a new uniform of safety glasses, earplugs and steel toe boots, Drown will be testing and repairing parts for a military jet called the F/A-18 Hornet.
“A project isn’t just getting a good grade, it’s actually making something in the real world,” Drown, a mechanical engineering major, said. “Keeping these aircrafts safe for the pilots, I think that will be fulfilling work.”
Her job is part of the government-sponsored Pathways Program, which hires and trains recent graduates for at least a year, though if Drown excels at the job, she could remain at the base longer.
After devoting four years to a major that many of her friends have since dropped, Drown said that the new job makes her feel like the hard work has finally paid off.
“Engineering school is really tough and it’s not anywhere near as glamorous as you think going into it,” she said. “I have had a social life, but not as much as most people would associate with college.”
The Maine native said that growing up, she first realized she was a problem-solver when she would work on home renovation projects with her dad.
“As a kid, I would hold his tools and hang around,” she said. “It got to a point where he would be trying to figure something out and I started chiming in, ‘well Dad, what if you did this?’”
She discovered a love of math and physics a few years later in high school and said that her dream job would involve designing launch vehicles for outer space missions. Drown said she loves that engineering gives her the chance to build something useful for other people.
“The most rewarding part is when it works,” she said. “You’re struggling with something forever and ever and that moment when you figure out a problem that’s going to affect people, it feels very good.”
Exploring the world
Media Credit: Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor
When self-described workaholic Brian Doyle first came to GW, he was ready to study business and make money.
Now after graduation, Doyle will pack his bags and spend a year crisscrossing the globe — starting in Europe and visiting every continent before returning home to California.
“A lot of people in my life have always said, ‘I wish I had traveled more when I was younger,’” he said. “Money is important, but having a life that is a story worth telling is much more important to me.”
Doyle said he’ll spend about one to two months visiting each of the continents, though his trip will likely become more spontaneous over time. He is most excited to visit Southeast Asia and India, potentially co-host a TEDx conference in Greece and make a trip to Antarctica if he can afford it.
“I’m not trying to race around the globe,” he said. “There’s a difference between being a tourist and a traveler, and I want to have more conversations than pictures.”
Doyle said he began saving up for the trip at the beginning of this year, and that he plans to cut his housing costs by staying with friends living abroad or participating in Workaway, a program that gives travelers free room and board in exchange for volunteer projects like English tutoring and farming.
After dividing his time at GW between working as a tour guide and resident assistant, joining Colonial Cabinet, playing club soccer and leading Foggy Bottom’s annual TEDx conference four years in a row, Doyle — a human services and social justice major — said that this trip will be his first opportunity for some time off in four years.
“I’m about to go from never being alone to spending 90 percent of my year alone,” he said. “I want to allow myself to be vulnerable and more open to change.”
As of right now, Doyle has no plans for what he wants to do at the end of his trip. He said he is just as open to settling in one of the countries he visits as he is to working out of an office in New York.
“Three years ago, asking people, ‘What’s your dream job?’ was my favorite question,” Doyle said. “I don’t know if a specific job is part of my dream. There are things I want to accomplish and ways I can change the world and my dream is to always be happy or fulfilled.”
Joining the Peace Corps
Media Credit: Sam Hardgrove | Hatchet Staff Photographer
Marissa Salgado has already visited Mexico, Brazil, Kenya, China and Kazakhstan. Soon, she’ll be one step closer to achieving her goal of traveling the world.
This September, Salgado will begin a two-year stay in Guatemala, where she will be working with the Peace Corps to improve maternal health care.
The Orange County, Calif. native has gone on more than 20 international mission trips with her family and said she's feeling more eager than afraid of the adjustment. She said the thought of working with the Peace Corps “felt right” ever since she interned at the organization’s D.C. headquarters her sophomore year. Salgado joins three dozen other GW students working for the Peace Corps this year.
Salgado’s responsibilities will include “bridging the gap” between local officials and rural communities in the Northwest region of the country, where she will help locals access hospitals and physicians. She will also be living with a family while she is there, though she does not know in exactly what town or village yet.
“I’m really excited to be leaving the huge city and to be living in the mountains of Guatemala for two years and for that to become home,” Salgado said. “My sense of home has always been transient.”
Salgado said she realized she wanted to work internationally after a trip to China, where she met a missionary who had been living in the country for more than 20 years.
“She told me, ‘Do what makes your heart sing,’” Salgado said. “Since then, that’s what I’ve been trying to do.”
Salgado is graduating with a major in international affairs and a concentration in public health after only three years at GW, during which she also spent a semester in Brazil. She first picked up an interest in public health when she joined GW’s branch of the national Peer Health Exchange program her freshman year and began educating high school students in D.C. about health issues.
Salgado had initially arrived at GW planning to work as a lobbyist on Capitol Hill — and soon realized she wanted her advocacy work to be more “hands-on.”
“There’s something about the office job that’s not for me,” she said. “I need to see the person that I’m helping.”
Becoming a Fulbright scholar
Media Credit: Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor
Nelson Tamayo was originally intimidated by the thought of applying for a scholarship from the Fulbright Program, which boasts alumni including Nobel Prize winners and foreign heads of state.
But last month, the graduating senior was surprised to learn he had received a grant to teach English at a university in Coimbra, Portugal.
“I threw my hat in the ring for Fulbright and I was applying for jobs as a backup,” Tamayo said. “In the back of my mind I was like, ‘There’s no way I’m going to get this.’”
Twenty-seven students applied for the same award in Portugal and only two were accepted last year, according to the Fulbright website. Now Tamayo has earned a stipend that will cover his airfare, apartment and food costs, though he declined to say how much money the program gave him.
Tamayo applied for the program after realizing that spending some time abroad would prepare him better for his dream career of working at the State Department or the United Nations. The Boston native has already traveled throughout Latin America, Europe and Africa and speaks French, Spanish and Portuguese.
During a study abroad trip to Paris his junior year, he briefly visited Portugal’s capital of Lisbon, where he was struck by the country’s culture and history — a mix of Latin American and European influences.
“You go into the process with your heart set on a country,” he said. “When I went to Lisbon, I absolutely loved it. It felt so different.”
Tamayo said he hopes his year abroad will help him gain more international experience before applying to graduate school — he’s looking at GW, Tufts University and Columbia University.
Tamayo said he hopes his year abroad will help him gain more experience before applying to graduate school, and said he's looking forward to a new culture.
“Meeting people, more so than seeing the artwork, or seeing the sites or lounging on the beach, is really my impetus to get out of here,” he said. “I love finding those commonalities with people who I would have assumed have nothing in common with me.”
Teaching English abroad
Media Credit: Sam Hardgrove | Hatchet Staff Photographer
Though Jennifer Hamilton knew since high school that she would want to volunteer abroad, she had never heard of the Marshall Islands, where she will relocate in July, until earlier this year.
Hamilton will spend a year teaching English at a primary school on one of the islands, located in the South Pacific, for the volunteer education organization WorldTeach.
“Teaching English is really important there. Not enough people speak Marshallese for the most part for textbooks to be in Marshallese,” she said. “If you can’t speak English, you basically don’t get into high school.”
The international affairs major settled on the Marshall Islands after doing some research and finding that it was also the option with the fewest cases of violence against women. After a semester abroad in South Africa where she said she was catcalled on a daily basis, she said living somewhere safer was a top priority.
But the move to a more conservative society will still be a culture shock — men and women rarely socialize together, and women are expected to always wear long skirts and cover up when they go swimming. The self-described “picky eater” added that she is most concerned about the tropical diet.
“They eat a lot of rice, and fish, and bananas and coconuts which are all things I’m not excited about but will learn to live with,” she said. “You eat for sustenance and that’s what’s important.”
At the same time, Hamilton is looking forward to potentially living with families and becoming a part of their tight-knit communities, which she said are full of very generous people.
“Sharing is a very large part of the culture,” Hamilton said. “Giving compliments, like on necklaces, people take it off and would be like, ‘Oh, you like it? Here, you should have it.’”
In the long run, Hamilton said she wants to earn a Ph.D in political science and research comparative politics because she is fascinated by foreign governments.
“Getting experience living abroad was my top priority,” she said. “Learning about the communities I’ll be working with and how rich local knowledge sources are, for anyone who wants to study development, that’s something really important.””

Sarah Blugis: To increase visibility, Knapp should teach a class for freshmen
by The GW Hatchet

May 11, 2015
“Media Credit: Cartoon by Juliana Kogan
Take a moment to think about the number of times you saw University President Steven Knapp in person this past academic year.
Unless you’re a prominent student leader, your number is probably fairly low. Personally, I remember seeing Knapp at one or two events and while he walked his dog — but only because I have a job in Old Main across the street from his home.
It’s understandable that we don’t see Knapp much. He, like all presidents at major universities, is very busy. This academic year alone, Knapp has led conferences and traveled to promote sustainability, publicly discussed college affordability and pledged to meet with more faculty.
In an email, Knapp told me he’s always happy to visit classes and meet with students, but he said, “I have been very busy preparing for and now conducting our $1 billion campaign for the University, Making History.”
Despite the importance of these obligations, Knapp still receives criticism for not being involved enough in the GW community. And he’s not the only one. Earlier this month Julie Wollman, the president of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, wrote an essay highlighting the fact that not enough presidents are active in their schools' communities. Wollman said she has seen numerous benefits to college presidents teaching classes — especially classes for freshmen.
Teaching a class would make Knapp much more of a friendly, familiar face on campus. Right now, students may only hear him speak briefly at an event or catch a glimpse of him through his car window. Teaching a freshman class would not only increase Knapp’s visibility, but also allow students to form close relationships with him in their first year.
Knapp told me that yes, he would certainly want to teach a class, but said, “The question is how to do that in a way that would not be a burden on my students, given the ever-changing demands on my schedule.”
Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo
Sarah Blugis
He added that he’s looking into a way he can teach a shorter course, maybe for one credit, that will work more easily with the other aspects of his job.
Craig Vasey, chair of the Committee on Teaching, Research and Publications at the American Association of University Professors, told me in an email that it’s best for college presidents to teach a “small first-year seminar or midsize discussion-oriented class” so they can interact more closely with young students.
Knapp could teach a course similar to a dean’s seminar, which are already set up so that upper-level faculty can teach small groups of freshmen.
The idea isn’t unprecedented among our peer schools. New York University’s president John Sexton taught a freshman seminar on the Supreme Court a few years ago, based on his experience as the Supreme Court editor for the Harvard Law Review. At the University of Miami, president Donna Shalala teaches a class on health care every year, based on her experience as a former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.
And Knapp is no stranger to lecturing in a college classroom. He used to teach English literature at the University of California, Berkeley, and specializes in “romanticism, literary theory and the relation of literature to philosophy and religion,” according to his official biography .
“I always enjoy exposing students to great works of thought and imagination that change the way they see the world, themselves and other people,” Knapp told me. He said his ideal class would have a theme like “the idea of a ‘person’” or a book, like the Book of Genesis, Things Fall Apart or perhaps Wuthering Heights.
GW’s reputation could stand to benefit from a freshman lecture taught by its president, too. As tuition costs have risen, private universities are often thought of as running more like businesses — a reputation that can make officials seem cold and distant.
“When administrators — not just presidents — have no experience of teaching, or have not had that experience in years, they begin to operate like managers of corporations, which is the wrong model for the academy,” Vasey said.
And at GW, officials are closely monitored as their salaries and benefits packages climb. The Board of Trustees approves Knapp’s compensation, which has increased over the last several years. Knapp’s annual compensation is currently more than $1 million, making him one of the most highly compensated university presidents in the country. Since many of us are struggling to pay off our student loans, it’s hard not to be skeptical of someone who makes so much. Some students might wonder, "How could he possibly relate to us?"
For upperclassmen, this may be a lost cause. But by putting himself on the same level as GW’s youngest and arguably most vulnerable students, Knapp would show that he cares about students on an individual level. I don’t doubt that he does, but sometimes, it isn’t always obvious.
My dad likes to tell a story: When I visited campus during admitted students days in 2012, he lost track of my mom and me and couldn’t remember how to get to the Marvin Center. A man noticed my dad’s confusion and offered him directions. Only after we left did my dad realize it was Knapp who had helped him, and now my dad jokes that he knows the president of our University.
These are the types of stories that freshmen would have if Knapp made himself easily accessible to them — and maybe then, it wouldn’t be so rare to know him personally.
Sarah Blugis, a junior majoring in political communication, is The Hatchet’s opinions editor. Want to respond to this piece? Submit a letter to the editor.”

Staff Editorial: Graduates, remember D.C.'s complicated past
by The GW Hatchet

May 11, 2015
“Right now, this year’s graduating seniors are making a decision: They will either stay in D.C., or move on to opportunities elsewhere. For those who decide to stay, it’s likely they’ll be moving outside the Foggy Bottom “bubble” for the first time since coming to GW.
During our time as undergraduates, the University’s marketing can make it difficult to see beyond the most familiar parts of the city, like the monuments and the White House. Students come here to live in D.C., but in many cases, they may only be exposed to the small part of the city pictured on glossy brochures in the admissions office. And yet, when they graduate from GW, many students will end up in the exact neighborhoods they rarely set foot in as undergraduates.
Students who choose to stay in D.C. will probably be moving into up-and-coming neighborhoods — those that are currently in the process of gentrification.
For many students, neighborhoods outside of Foggy Bottom are their only feasible option. Townhouses and apartments in places like the U Street Corridor and Columbia Heights are often the most affordable for recent graduates. Those areas make the most sense for students who have grown to love D.C., but can’t afford the high cost of living in the Foggy Bottom area.
Of course, we can’t necessarily blame GW for pushing GW’s proximity to the White House and the World Bank. Officials must market the school in the most appealing way possible, and they aren’t alone: Schools like our peer New York University also emphasize their proximity to hotspots like Greenwich Village, Brooklyn and Washington Square Park.
However, it’s important to look past the marketing and be mindful of the underlying racial and economic issues in other parts of D.C. neighborhoods that develop rapidly are extremely complex, a fact that may be lost on students who move into an area with no knowledge of its history. It’s hard to understand the nuances of a community without being involved in it through things like service, activism and political engagement — three things GW students already care about.
University officials can facilitate opportunities for current undergraduates, graduating seniors and even alumni to learn more about the areas where students will likely settle. There’s already an infrastructure in place, since GW holds its Freshman Day of Service each year: GW could recreate this during the week of events for graduating seniors, which already includes activities like a Nationals Game and a trip to Six Flags. By focusing service on neighborhoods popular with recent graduates, the University can help prepare interested students for their lives in those otherwise unfamiliar areas.
GW should also reach out to alumni to do service, since many reside in the city. They can connect with students who are looking to network and maintain their relationship with the University — all while giving back.
Sure, our students do plenty of community service as undergraduates. But some of our biggest events, like the Dance Marathon and Relay for Life, happen on our campus. And while GW does its part to promote service, for many students there’s still an air of mystery when it comes to the places in the city that need the most help.
Part of the problem seems to be that undergraduates at GW often don’t feel like residents of the city, and therefore don’t feel connected to certain communities. D.C. is a very transient place, and for some, the city and GW are just a temporary part of life.
But recent graduates making a home in D.C. should think of themselves as residents, and should consider if they have a moral obligation to support the communities into which they’re moving. Often, minority populations in up-and-coming neighborhoods have been pushed out. And as the local economy has taken a turn for the worse, it’s an especially difficult time for low-income communities.
There are also personal benefits to service and activism. Many students at GW have a clear interest in politics, history and social justice, and will find D.C.’s neighborhoods interesting to learn about. Plus, in a city where everyone seems to be from somewhere else, taking an interest in the complexities of a community can help students gain a sense of attachment.
After learning about a neighborhood, students can also become more engaged in issues that affect the area. Recently, Baltimore has gained national attention for its citizens' protests against police brutality — a tension to which D.C. is not immune. Protests have spread to D.C., and some GW students have participated. But others should consider getting involved not only to show support, but also to learn about the complexity of race relations in this city.
D.C. has a long history along with a laundry list of problems, many of which students are unaware during their time at GW. But as many of us prepare to move on, but not necessarily move out of the city, it’s important to take off those blinders.
The editorial board is composed of Hatchet staff members and operates separately from the newsroom. This week’s piece was written by opinions editor Sarah Blugis and contributing opinions editor Melissa Holzberg, based on discussions with managing director Rachel Smilan-Goldstein, sports editor Nora Princiotti, design assistant Samantha LaFrance, copy editor Brandon Lee and assistant sports editor Mark Eisenhauer.
Want to respond to this piece? Submit a letter to the editor.”

Staff Editorial: The dos and don'ts of student advocacy
by The GW Hatchet

Apr 28, 2015
“Updated: April 27, 2015 at 5:13 p.m.
By now, many of us have been told that traditional student activism is dead.
But not at GW. All year, student activists have been honing in on national issues like fossil fuel divestment, sexual assault prevention and race relations. These campaigns have often included public protests: Students have held a “die-in” in Kogan Plaza, carried mattresses across campus to stand in solidarity with sexual assault survivors and launched referendums to garner student support.
This academic year has provided a unique opportunity to examine student advocacy and the various tactics that student groups employ to further their agendas. We’ve noticed that student groups are most successful when they communicate well with students and administrators, focus on issues that are specific to GW and balance their protests with productive conversations. By keeping all of this in mind, student advocates can push their initiatives forward and attract the administration’s undivided attention.
There has undeniably been an upward trend in attention-grabbing student lobbying that aims to change policies at GW or bring attention to important issues. But one group has seen more success than any other: Students Against Sexual Assault has just successfully lobbied the University to implement in-person, mandatory sexual assault prevention training during Welcome Week.
For SASA, this year has been about understanding how to campaign and convey a specific message, all while interacting successfully with students and with the GW administration.
They’ve clearly done their due diligence in learning the intricacies of how the University works. The group met with University President Steven Knapp earlier this month, and SASA’s vice president Laura Zillman also said in an email that the group has had “at least one or two separate administrative meetings per month during this school year" with administrators from the Division of Student Affairs and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
Without a fundamental understanding of how to communicate with administrators in a productive way – as well as strong-willed personalities in the room – these meetings likely wouldn’t have been granted, let alone taken seriously.
Other student groups, meanwhile, have had more trouble proving that they understand the ins and outs of GW’s policies. The Progressive Student Union has pushed the University for more rights for Sodexo workers all year, for example. But they’ve seen little progress, probably because GW has little to no control over how Sodexo interacts with its workers – a fact that PSU is either unaware of or has chosen to ignore.
But no matter how much student leaders understand about University policy, any campaign is doomed without longevity and a focus on incremental accomplishments.
The battle for improved sexual assault policies, for example, has been salient on GW’s campus for years: Former SA executive vice president Kostas Skordalos ran on a platform that focused on sexual assault prevention two years ago, and the issue has been on the student body’s radar ever since. In 2013, officials showed the same attention by overhauling GW’s sexual assault reporting policies.
Rather than expecting change all at once in the form of a few protests, SASA smartly made their moves one step at a time: They began as a resource for survivors, made smaller advocacy pushes through outreach and op-eds, then organized protests and finally, gained enough clout to meet with administrators like Knapp.
On the other hand, members of Fossil Free GW asked the University to disclose its investments in fossil fuels and remove them from the endowment – an ask that over 70 percent of students who voted in the SA elections supported, but that the University has yet to publicly acknowledge. Fossil Free GW organizer Frank Fritz said in an email that the group has also met with several top administrators, including Knapp, Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski and director of GW's sustainability office Meghan Chapple.
But the group asked for too much, since students can’t be sure how much the University has actually invested in fossil fuels. Clearly, asking too much can be detrimental, especially when such big demands are made with little knowledge of how they might affect GW in the long run.
That process, known as divestment, joins sexual assault as a major national conversation in higher education over the last several years – but divestment may not be financially feasible for every school. Sexual assault, on the other hand, is something that officials can publicly work to prevent.
Zillman said SASA’s momentum began shortly after controversial remarks made by former University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, in which he suggested that sexual assault could be prevented if college women drank less alcohol.
“We've become a voice that the administration is conscious of and feels compelled to acknowledge, because we do have a broad base of campus support and we are pushing for change that they, for the most part, agree with,” Zillman said.
Certainly, the national momentum behind sexual assault education has been helpful for SASA. But national attention hasn’t been helpful for every group, since conversations about fossil fuel divestment and race relations have been prominent on other college campuses, as well.
This year, we’ve seen the Ferguson Coalition struggle to convince the University that their goals should be addressed. Although they’ve been given a seat at the table during the search process for the new chief of the University Police Department, they haven’t made much progress otherwise. That’s largely because we’ve seen no significant pattern of police violence against minorities on campus – so no one has paid them much attention outside of their widely-publicized die-in.
In addition, student groups should be careful not to antagonize officials with attention-grabbing displays that have little substance. As student advocacy ramps up on GW’s campus, students would do well to remember that intrusive demonstrations tend to annoy universities, rather than motivate them to act.
Sure, SASA has had its public spectacles, like their recent march to Rice Hall with mattresses on their backs. But they’ve been careful to balance those public spectacles with mature, substantive conversations with administrators. In return, GW has taken those conversations seriously.
Some other student organizations haven’t been quite as successful and run the risk of being brushed off by the University.
Obviously, none of this should keep student organizations from advocating on behalf of students. Just because a fight isn’t easy to win doesn’t mean it isn’t worth fighting – and it’s impressive and admirable that so many student groups have made their voices heard.
But if we’ve learned anything this year, it’s that some student advocacy battles will be better fought than others.
The editorial board is composed of Hatchet staff members and operates separately from the newsroom. This week’s piece was written by opinions editor Robin Jones Kerr and contributing opinions editor Sarah Blugis, based on discussions with managing director Justin Peligri, sports editor Nora Princiotti, copy editor Rachel Smilan-Goldstein and design assistant Samantha LaFrance.
Want to respond to this piece? Submit a letter to the editor.”

Poetry with a competitive edge comes to campus
by The GW Hatchet

Apr 27, 2015
“Media Credit: Lydia Francis | Hatchet Staff Photographer
Brando Skyhorse, a visiting English professor, will judge the GW Poetry Out Loud competition, where high school students recite poetry to win college scholarships.
Sixteen-year-old Daiana James isn’t sure where she wants to go to college, but she knows she wants to leave D.C.
For now, the junior at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Shaw is one of 53 semifinalists competing at GW next week in Poetry Out Loud, a national poetry recitation contest for high school students.
When the self-proclaimed bookworm steps up to the microphone on Wednesday, she’ll be competing for $20,000. If she comes out on top, she said she’ll put her winnings toward attending a “nice journalism or writing program" in a new city.
Poetry Out Loud, in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, begins in high school English classrooms across the country. Poets, writers and educators, who will judge the competition, say it connects high schoolers to poetry at a time when science, technology, engineering and math programs and standardized tests are overshadowing the humanities.
Since the program started a decade ago, about 2.7 million students in 9,500 schools have memorized line after line for the competition.
James said it was mandatory for all students to participate in the first round of Poetry Out Loud at Banneker, and while some classmates may have dreaded performing in front of an audience, she “welcomed it with an open heart and mind.”
“Performing is my sport,” she said. “Being on stage is my being on the field.”
Winners from contests held at the school level move onto county, then state recitations. The semifinalists will recite poems on Tuesday in Lisner Auditorium, and nine finalists will be asked back for a final recitation on Wednesday evening.
Jennifer Chang, an English professor at GW, was a guest judge in the 2012 semifinal round. She said that performing poetry isn’t highlighted enough in middle school and high school curricula because poetry can seem out-of-reach for young readers.
“You don’t have to know what a poem means immediately, but you can still love a poem the way you love certain songs. There’s that abstract quality,” Chang said. “Abstract is a dirty word, but it’s actually quite wonderful.”
When Chang judged the competition, she said the best participants showed a deep understanding of the poems – a sign that the young readers were able to comprehend more sophisticated texts.
Media Credit: Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Staff Photographer
Visiting professor and Poetry Out Loud judge Brando Skyhorse lives in the Lenthall House.
“It was just beautiful to see these young people from all over the country bringing nuances and interpretation to how they read the poems,” Chang said.
Taylor Mali, a well-known slam poet and author, will host the competition this year. He said in high school, an English teacher had forced his friend to memorize “The Love Song” by T.S. Eliot.
“He hated doing it but the poem stuck by him. Then, in college, he was studying with a girl he really liked and she said her favorite poem was that one. He recited the whole thing and she threw herself on top of him,” he said. “Studying poetry in high school will allow you to make out with the person of your dreams in college.”
Mali said anyone who says poetry is irrelevant is “the same type of person who would cut a theater or music program.”
Brando Skyhorse, a Jenny McKean Moore Writer-in-Washington fellow in GW's English department who teaches two courses and lives in the Lenthall House on campus, said when schools look to rein in spending, the humanities – and poetry in particular – are the first to go.
“It’s a real shame – we use language every day. Poetry is the most important part of our lives. At weddings, funerals, graduations – poetry is always there. It’s taken for granted,” Skyhorse said.
When Skyhorse, one of the five Poetry Out Loud judges this year, moved to the Lenthall House, one of the first things he and the English department did was open the house up to poetry readings for students.
“I hear poetry in my living room every six weeks,” he said.
Though poetry may sound archaic in modern classrooms, Carol Jago, also a judge, said that organizations like the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation act as “forces for good” as teachers began to de-emphasize recitation in classrooms.
“If I could use my 32 years [of teaching] differently, I’d have every student memorize a poem once a week,” she said. “It’s not about using quill pens and making poems too precious, living in museums and framed in gold. We want to be something they talk about like the last episode of ‘Mad Men.’””

Brianna Gurciullo: Finally learning to let go
by The GW Hatchet

Apr 27, 2015
“Media Credit: Zach Montellaro | Hatchet Staff Photographer
Each year, graduating editors are given 30 final column inches – “30” was historically used to signify the end of a story – to reflect on their time at The Hatchet.
I don’t let go very easily.
I’m a person who always wishes she could change the things that can’t be changed. I wish I had a little more time for everything – time to give that story one more read, time to do one more round of fact checking, time to get one more question answered before hitting publish.
But The Hatchet, like all news organizations, has deadlines to meet. We have to send the files of our pages to the printer by 1 a.m. on Sundays. We have to blast out the weekly email edition as early as we can on Thursday afternoons. For seniors, we have to make our mark on this paper by late April.
Time is eventually up – even if we wish we could go back and do some things differently, or wish we had a little more time to make changes and fixes before we leave. Everything can’t be perfect.
This 111-year-old institution puts a weight on you, which both drives you and keeps your ambitions in check. Editors who came before you and set new precedents do the same.
You watched your predecessors agonize over writing the perfect lede for that enterprise story or making the design just right for the front page, and you do the same when it’s your name at the top of the masthead. You saw them celebrate when a story gained national attention, and when you’re in charge you think about what kind of ramifications your team’s stories will have. You helped them move to a new townhouse, and you're motivated to build on their traditions.
The expectations come from all angles and at varying degrees. You – more than anyone else, probably – put the most pressure on yourself, and you end up making decisions you never thought you’d have to make.
But I’ve learned that letting go is often needed. You need to let go of past mistakes and figure out what you need to do right now. You need to let go of what you can’t control and focus on what you can. You need to let go of what you wish you could accomplish and instead enjoy the successes you’ve had.
Then you need to let go of the place that’s been your home for four years. You had your time to learn from it, fall in love with it, sometimes question your relationship with it, come back to it and grow up with it. You had your time to break stories, cover the cool events, interview interesting characters, make sense of data, ask hard questions and work with a team. Then you had time to try to teach and cultivate the talent of others, set goals, find your own leadership style and somehow oversee 35 print editions, 10 special issues and 24 email editions.
My time is up and I’m letting go of The Hatchet. But I understand now that letting go is how you create new opportunities. It’s time for others to have their chance to work through new experiences, test themselves and make an impact on this campus. Then it will be a new group’s turn after them. It’s what makes The Hatchet great, and what makes letting go a little less hard.
Robin E. and Brandon C.: I love your energy and curiosity. Keep working hard because you have such bright futures ahead of you.
Ellie and Ryan: Your work this year has been outstanding and you’ve become a part of the news team so naturally. You both have a lot to give to this organization, and it will give back to you even more than you imagine.
Eva: You’re one of the toughest members of this team. I’ve been impressed by your maturity, your critical thinking and the way you speak up for what you believe is right. Trust your instincts and don’t doubt yourself.
Jacqueline: Chloe and I always knew you were going to rise at this newspaper. Be relentless, but don’t be ruthless. Don’t take anyone’s bullshit, but give people a chance. If you ever need me, I’m here.
Blugerson: It’s been amazing to see you grow as a writer and leader on the paper this year. Keep calling it as you see it, but remember to have an open mind. Your hard work is going to make a difference for both the opinions page and this organization.
Robin: I can’t remember which person we were with, but someone once told us last year to take a photo together smiling because it would be the last one we would have for a while. But a year later, I think we have more that one photo together where we’re smiling. Thanks for always checking in on me. Dude, I absolutely think you’ve done the best you could this year, and I’m proud of you. BFFF?
Justin: I’ve said it before, but I really do think you are one of the most thoughtful members of staff. You try to understand every issue that’s put in front of you from every possible angle. You’ve also shown your care for this organization again and again. Thank you for all your work this year. I should have told you more often how much I’ve appreciated it.
Desi, Katie and Dan: The Hatchet is lucky to have such talented and dedicated people on staff. You have each stood out since you first joined the photo team. Make big goals for yourselves because you’re sure to accomplish them.
Cam: You’re a great mentor to your photographers. I’ve seen how much they appreciate your feedback and advice. Everyone knows you brought The Hatchet’s sports photography to a new level, but you also deserve credit for helping develop the photo section.
Sam Klein: One of my favorite memories from this year was working on the cover image for the Greek life guide with you. I had totally under-prepared for that issue, but you took what we had and turned it into something I’m still proud of. You grew into your role as senior photo editor this year, leading our visuals and developing the next generation of photo editors. Thanks for rolling with the punches with me.
Nora P.: I wish we took more than one trip to Bumblefuck while listening to TSwift, Lil Bow Wow and Quad City DJs. I’ve enjoyed working with you so much this year. You’ve elevated the sports section to a new level with your creativity, thoughtful approach to stories and tenacity as a reporter, and I’ll be following Hatchet Sports as all that continues. Let me know if you ever need some waffles. Mark: You worked so hard this year as a writer and editor. I’ll be keeping an eye out for your byline next year.
Jeanine: You’re my fighter. You stepped up when other people would have run away and have become an essential part of staff. You’re a fantastic writer and reporter, and the culture page is going to reflect that. I’m expecting great work from you and Victoria. Keep your standards high because I know your team can meet them.
Brandon Lee: I’m really happy you’ve made The Hatchet your thing because you have so much to give to this place and I think there’s so much you can get out of it. From editing your first blog to hiring you as a research assistant to promoting you to copy editor, it’s been a blast to see you get so involved.
Raquel de la Guerra: You really are a soldier. You battled through every print and email edition. Thanks for making me smile every Sunday and Wednesday this past year. Don’t worry about being a slug. Yes, you are really here.
SLaFrance, Nora F. and Anna: I have loved visiting you guys on the third floor during prodo and brainstorming for pages and graphics. I’ve learned so much from you three, and you’ve all made The Hatchet a more collaborative place to work.
Sophie: You’ve redefined the term “hard working” for me and proven yourself incredibly reliable in the most stressful situations. You have taken such initiative this year and should be so proud of your team. Thanks for being there. I can’t wait to see what you do next year.
Blair, Kendall and Diana: You’re strong journalists, dedicated team players and caring editors. You’ve pushed yourselves this year to try new videos, and took on an ambitious project that will inspire the next generation of videographers. Thanks for your commitment and never failing to make me laugh.
James and Lauren: You both entered new roles last year under tough, frustrating circumstances. Thank you for sticking with The Hatchet and setting up the next generation of business staffers for what I am sure will be success.
Melton: You might be the most unexpected part of my Hatchet experience. I had started to lose hope that we would find someone who was both great at business and committed to The Hatchet. But probably most unexpected of all was that we would become such good friends. Thanks for the dinners, that edible arrangement and letting The Hatchet destroy your sleep schedule. Team business: I’ve enjoyed getting to know you guys over the last few months, and I hope you consider yourselves a part of this crazy Hatchet family.
Francis: Your advice and criticism has meant so much to me, and both the photo and design teams. Thanks for stopping by prodo all those times and checking the green-to-yellow ratio. And thank you for running out that one time and taking the lead photo for the sex issue.
Cory: Your honesty and feedback have been invaluable to me. You taught me to go with my gut and have confidence in myself. I feel like we’re on the same page in many ways when it comes to journalism and our passion for reporting. Thank you for being my model as a writer, answering every text, call and gchat this year, and buying me lunch or dinner on more than one occasion when I needed to vent.
Priya: I’m happy I went to all your office hours as a freshman. There’s no way I would have made it this far if you hadn’t been my editor for two years. You taught me to ask the questions no one else will ask, to always tell it like it is, to never let it go if I’m stonewalled. I’ll always be a cop chaser. Thank you.
CNN’s Jeremy Diamond: I’ve always envied your natural talent. When we first joined staff, Gabe Muller said we were like two little mice that fell into a bucket of cream. One of us would drown, and one of us would keep going and churn the cream into butter. “So just turn shit into butter,” he said. I like to think we both turned shit into butter. I’ll make sure someone looks after Karl when I’m gone.
Mel: I still remember sitting across from you during intro to news writing freshman year and thinking, “This is someone I could be good friends with.” You and I have grown so much since then, and I’m happy we’ve stayed friends along the way. Peace, love, Chron.
Colleen: Remember when we took a little Metro ride to Arlington and had quite the eventful interview in a certain person’s driveway? I’ve had some of my craziest, most fun Hatchet memories with you. Whenever I think I couldn’t be any prouder, you exceed expectations again. Just remember, even though you’re going to feel like it sometimes, you’re never alone. If it’s around noon and you need to find your Zen, I’ll be on gchat.
Chloe: You’re the yin to my yang. While I obsessed over details, you pushed me to think about the bigger picture. When I harped on mistakes, you reminded me to keeping moving forward. The news team couldn’t have come close to producing the kind of in-depth stories it has produced this year without you, and you have left a permanent mark on this paper. Through every story, prodo, email edition and guide, you’ve been my rock and there to confirm that I indeed had not yet lost my mind. But I think what I’ll remember most from this year is all the times we’ve laughed – from my office to the design desks at 1 a.m. on Sundays to the floor of Mel’s apartment during Hatchet Thanksgiving. You’re an incredible journalist and friend. Thanks for everything.
Zach: Let’s face it – I will never come close to repaying you for all the coffee, beer and Captain Cookie you’ve bought for me over the last year. Do I owe you for the Gatorade and crackers, too? Anyway, and I really should tell you more often, you’re my best friend and one of the best things The Hatchet has given me. You’re a talented journalist – as a writer, photographer, videographer and editor – who is going to modernize this organization, pick apart our flaws and keep our bullshit to a minimum. Our digital presence would be nowhere close to where it is today without you here. I’m so excited to see what you and Colleen do next year. And if times get stressful, you’ll always have an open spot on my couch, where a bottle of Blue Moon and an episode of “Game of Thrones” will be waiting. Bring an extra Mets hat.
Ferris: You and Cory trusted me with this newspaper, and I hope I made you both proud. Thanks for being there as my editor. Thanks for all the pep talks before interviews, reading every draft, giving me a kick in the ass when I needed it, driving with me to courthouses and police stations, and believing in me when I didn’t. Your selflessness always inspired me to try harder. And thanks for being there as my sister. Thanks for cooking me dinner, cleaning my dishes, throwing my birthday parties, teaching me how to make a gin bucket, showing me the farm and letting me sleep on your shoulder on the plane ride to Kenya. Yes, we can finally talk about non-Hatchet things now.
Mom, Dad, Dani, Jason, Heather and Amanda: I’ve learned hard work and dedication from you. Thank you for all your support as I was doing what I loved and made me most happy. And thank you for all the photos of Lucas, Logan and Jasper. See you all at Misquamicut beach in August.

Sara Merken: How GW can make sustainability cool
by The GW Hatchet

Apr 23, 2015
“In the near-perfect world that is living on a college campus, many students, myself included, don’t have to worry about paying utility bills. We sing too many songs in the shower, leave the lights on in our rooms when we go to class and keep our chargers plugged into outlets all day.
As college students, it’s too easy to forget about living green lifestyles because our minds are so focused on other things. But we can't forget about sustainability and just move on – there's more we can do to save water and energy.
GW has implemented multiple programs throughout the past few years to become a more sustainable campus, in addition to making a sustainability strategic plan. Officials have launched initiatives targeted at students like Green Move-Out and the annual Eco-Challenge, which students have historically failed .
Sustainability is already something that higher education officials know is important to promote at their schools. But to engage students with green initiatives, GW needs to make sustainability something cool that students want to be a part of – something that directly pertains to their interests.
Last weekend, the Earth Day Network and the Global Poverty Project hosted the Global Citizen Festival, a six-hour concert and environmental rally on the National Mall. Along with Usher, Mary J. Blige and Fall Out Boy, speakers at the event included International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.
About 200,000 people attended the concert – and a day of bland lectures or speeches probably wouldn't have had the same level of enthusiasm. Instead, it was an opportunity for people to watch some of their favorite artists for free while still learning about how to make the world a greener place.
GW can learn from this model and make sustainability a fun aspect of campus life that actually interests students, rather than a chore.
Meghan Chapple, the director of the Office of Sustainability, told me in an email, “We are always interested in more ways we can engage GW students in sustainability, and we need their help to become a more sustainable campus.”
There are certainly models GW can use for engaging students. Other universities have already taken a step toward creating sustainability events that grab students’ attention.
This month, the University of Illinois at Chicago is encouraging students to participate in Earth Month through events like sports games, environmental documentaries and a weeklong Bike2Campus competition, which encourages students, faculty and staff to ride bikes for one week.
“For those kinds of activities there are prizes, and there’s a competition: The more often you participate, the more likely you are to win something,” Cindy Klein-Banai, the school’s associate chancellor for sustainability, told me. She added that these events also put an environmental spin on activities that students already enjoy.
GW could also emulate Georgia Southern University’s GreenFest , which last fall featured four hours of live music, a farmers market and more than 30 vendors promoting sustainable lifestyles.
By thinking along those same lines, GW could integrate similar events into our campus life. For example, a concert in University Yard similar to Spring Fling with vendors from D.C. farmers markets could attract students looking for a fun activity on a Saturday afternoon, and would promote local agriculture.
Additionally, student organizations should strive to organize new and interesting sustainability events. As students, they’re most likely to know what their friends will enjoy or what they will ignore.
At the University of California, Berkeley, a student organization runs sustainability programming for the school’s Earth Week, and organizes events like a human oil spill demonstration and a community farm day. The group also helps to educate the student body about green initiatives, and serves as a liaison between students and the administration and faculty.
Although GW has multiple organizations concerned with specific aspects of sustainability, the student body would benefit from a student-run division of the Office of Sustainability that could give a young, fresh look at programming.
Stan Slaughter, the founder of Tall Oak Productions, an organization that teaches students how to compost, told me it’s necessary to “live your message” when encouraging others to be more eco-conscious.
When planning sustainability-related events on campuses, students and officials should “make it live, make it accessible and make it the kind of event that [students] are going to come to without guilt, because guilt tripping people doesn’t work,” Slaughter said.
Ultimately, GW is tasked with making sustainability cool, which isn’t easy. But by taking into account the types of events to which students flock, the University can add high levels of student participation to its list of successful green efforts.
Sara Merken, a sophomore majoring in journalism, is a Hatchet opinions writer. Want to respond to this piece? Submit a letter to the editor.”

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