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GWU Campus News
A quarter of seniors donate to GW with three months left of campaign
by The GW Hatchet

Feb 23, 2015
“Media Credit: Katie Causey | Hatchet Staff Photographer
This year's Senior Class Gift campaign coordinators, Alix Cohen, left, and Michelle Ryngel, say donations are on track to meet their goal.
About a quarter of the senior class has already made donations to this year’s Senior Class Gift campaign, the coordinators reported last week.
The University set a record-high participation goal for the class this year, expecting 60 percent of seniors to make a gift to GW before they graduate. The campaign aims to get students in the habit of giving before they leave the University, part of an effort to create a culture of philanthropy among alumni.
Michelle Ryngel, one of the coordinators, said it’s difficult to compare this year's progress with the participation rate that other classes had at this time because those campaigns had different goals.
“We’ve looked at each month and where we would want to be, and right now we’re exactly where we would want to be,” Ryngel said.
While the campaign is only about a third of the way to its goal, co-coordinator Alix Cohen said more gifts will pour in as the deadline draws near and “the urgency factor” goes into effect.
“You’ll get a lot of people that will reach out to us and say, ‘I just got a job yesterday. It’s time to make my senior class gift,’” she said. “People want to be a part of that majority, that 60 percent to give back in a way, to say ‘Thank you’ or to make a change.”
Seniors’ donations will be counted toward the University’s $1 billion campaign. Officials have already raised about $715 million.
Overall participation in the senior class giving blitz has increased over the last several years. Last year’s 55 percent participation rate was a more than 10 percentage-point increase from three years ago. Last year’s seniors donated a combined $86,000.
To get the word out about the campaign, Ryngel and Cohen said they have been using a hashtag on social media for the first time and will release a promotional video before spring break.
Ryngel and Cohen said they are also strengthening partnerships with niche areas of the University by networking at athletic events, like the Buff and Blue Challenge, and during social programs, like Greek Week.
“Knowing this would be the highest goal set for our campaign, we kind of took on the motto, ‘Let’s try something new and see what works,’” Ryngel said.
Ryngel, Cohen and their 15-student committee have also tried to seek out areas where there are “pockets of seniors,” like upperclassman residence halls. They've tried “dorm storming” this year to tell students about the campaign.
“If we sat behind a desk all day, there would be no way we could hit the goal of this campaign,” Ryngel said.
And by hitting their target, Ryngel said seniors could be on track to keep alive a culture of giving at GW in the future. The University has historically had a lower alumni donation rate than its peers.
“Seniors who do take part in the campaign are more likely to be connected with the University in the future, and that’s just a trend you see in general across alumni giving at any institution,” Ryngel said. “The senior campaign is the first kind of step out into the real world where seniors take in this alumni network.””

After quiet freshman year, Cranshaw proves herself in starting lineup
by The GW Hatchet

Feb 23, 2015
“Media Credit: Cameron Lancaster | Photo Editor
Sophomore Shannon Cranshaw logged the fewest minutes of any women's basketball player her freshman year, but after a summer of intensive training, she has cemented a place in the starting lineup this season.
Playing basketball at GW isn’t the first time Shannon Cranshaw has found her place with a tight-knit group.
The Ormond Beach, Fla. native is the youngest of four siblings in a family she described as competitive but supportive – the kind that makes everything into a game.
“It’s made me very selfless,” Cranshaw said. “I’m all about the team, and I think being from a big family has really helped me in that aspect.”
Her two older sisters also play basketball, making them the first generation of Cranshaws to branch out from baseball and football.
Experiencing that constant competition throughout her childhood has helped the sophomore guard adjust to a heated and demanding college lifestyle, both on and off the court, she said.
Her competitive hunger may not have been completely satisfied during her freshman year, when she averaged 2.0 points in 8.6 minutes per game, logging the fewest minutes on the team. After her rookie campaign, Cranshaw asked the coaching staff if she could stay in D.C. for both summer sessions to work on her shooting and physicality.
She lifted five times a week and worked one-on-one with strength and conditioning coach Brandi Walker. Through the intense training, Cranshaw said she “paid her dues.” And her dedication and improvement did not go unnoticed by head coach Jonathan Tsipis.
Tsipis said he saw the difference over the summer, during the team’s trip to England and France. Cranshaw kept improving, and halfway through the season, he placed her in the starting lineup.
“She was able to take bumps, especially defensive, and get her shot off quicker,” Tsipis said. “As much as we were telling her, for us to be successful, we needed her to be ready to shoot all the time to help stretch defenses.”
Since then, she has been a consistent outlet passer, stretching the floor with her ability to hit critical three-pointers. She’s averaging six points per game, leads the team with 41 threes and has improved her shooting percentage from 28 to 34.
With the success of the team this year, she said one difference stands out to her: the chemistry of the players has translated onto the court. Coming from a big family, Cranshaw said she’s used to the give-and-take that goes along with being a teammate and successful competitor.
Cranshaw has formed a close bond with fellow sophomore guard Hannah Schaible. The two had trained together in Florida, but only started to become friends when they came to GW.
“There’s always that person who doesn’t really get on your nerves when they’re like, ‘Hey, you’re doing this wrong,’ or ‘Hey, fix your shot this way,’ and I feel like we are both that for each other,” Schaible said.
When she talks about taking criticism, Cranshaw goes back to her family. She said her parents have served as her biggest supporters, knowing when to critique her play and be honest with her about how she can improve.
“That’s helped dividends in my play because I can take criticism from our coaches and I know for the most part [it's] for me to be the best player I can be for this team,” Cranshaw said.”

Crime Log
by The GW Hatchet

Feb 23, 2015
Guthridge Hall
2/12/15 – Unknown time
Case closed
A University Police Department officer observed damage done to a door.
- No suspects or witnesses
Disorderly Conduct
International House
2/13/15 – 12:14 a.m.
Case closed
UPD officers responded to a call for someone throwing beer cans at a passerby. The officers canvassed the area without finding the responsible person.
- No identifiable suspect
700 Block of 22nd Street
2/13/15 – Unknown time
Case closed
A student reported the theft of an electrical adapter.
- No suspects or witnesses
Robbery Pick Pocket
Whole Foods Market
2/13/15 – 9:50 to 11 p.m.
Case closed
A student reported that a wallet was stolen from her jacket while it was hanging on the back of a chair.
- No suspects or witnesses
Liquor Law Violation
22nd and F Streets
2/14/15 – 3:02 a.m.
Case closed
UPD officers responded to a call regarding an intoxicated person who was the brother of a GW student. The brother was assessed and transported to GW Hospital by EMeRG.
- No further action
Liquor Law Violation/Destruction
Potomac House (Carvings)
2/14/15 – 11:52 p.m.
Case closed
UPD officers responded to a report of an intoxicated and disorderly person. The subject was assessed and transported to GW Hospital by EMeRG. While at the hospital, the subject lit toilet seat covers on fire. Metropolitan Police Department was notified and stated that they would pursue an arrest warrant for the subject.
- Referred for disciplinary action
Simple Assault
Thurston Hall
2/16/15 – 3:20 p.m.
Case closed
UPD officers responded to a call of people fighting. No involved party wished to press criminal charges and the participants were sent to their rooms.
- Referred for disciplinary action
Drug Law Violation/Liquor Law Violation
Guthridge Hall
2/16/14 – 4:58 p.m.
Case closed
UPD officers responded for a report of a suspicious odor. The source was located and housing staff confirmed the odor. An administrative search was conducted which yielded 4.5 grams of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and alcohol.
- Referred for disciplinary action
Disorderly Conduct/Taking Property Without Right
Potomac House
2/17/15 – 12:31 a.m.
Case closed
A student was observed on camera acting in a disorderly manner. Those on the scene discovered that he was attempting to locate a missing hockey stick that had been taken from him as a prank. The hockey stick was eventually returned to him.
- Referred for disciplinary action
-Compiled by Benjamin Kershner”

Columbian College turns to social media for graduate student recruitment
by The GW Hatchet

Feb 23, 2015
“Upgrading to Spotify Premium may be your best bet if you're looking to avoid GW's marketing reach.
The Columbian College of Arts and Sciences is ramping up its Facebook and Spotify advertising, joining other schools and universities that are targeting potential new students on the social media platforms they are most likely to use. The college is specifically pitching its 82 graduate programs, an area GW is trying to grow after several enrollment slumps.
By targeting students on social media platforms rather than through traditional means, the school is engaging students directly where they are throughout the day, said David Meerman Scott, an independent marketing strategist and the author of the book “New Roles of Marketing and PR.”
“They spend time on YouTube and other social networks and less time in mainstream media [like] magazines, radio, televisions, newspapers. So clearly if you want to target a market, you have to go where that market is,” Scott said.
University spokesman Kurtis Hiatt declined to say how much the advertisements cost, how long the school plans to run the social media campaigns or how the college chooses the type of audience to target.
He said the college’s advertising strategy changes to meet potential students wherever they are.
“Social media advertising can be a very effective platform for audience engagement because ads can be targeted to specific demographics, such as age, education, place of residence [and] profession,” Hiatt said. “Return is easily measured through analytics that track the number of site clicks and/or open rates by users.”
Meghan Bardwell, a marketing consultant at Heinz Marketing, Inc., said universities that target a similar audience will participate in a bidding system to win advertising time on different platforms.
The University could be spending anywhere between $10 and $10,000 advertising on social media, she said. An organization that spends more money will have a better chance at reaching more people more often.
“What’s great about social as opposed to other marketing avenues is that you have access to this really wide audience and then you can target it down,” she said.
Joe Pulizzi, the founder of the Content Marketing Institute, an organization that looks to advance advertising through media, argues that judging an ad’s success based on its click rate may be misguided. He said organizations should instead look to see whether an ad correlates with an increase in another action.
“What you really want is a behavior change,” he said. “The click is meaningless without the secondary behavior.”
Most of the costs for universities comes from the bidding process, said Steve Farnsworth, the chief digital strategist at social media marketing firm Jolt. Additionally, they need to create the content and pay to put it on a site.
Schools should think critically about where to bring interested users after they click a link on a social media site, Farnsworth said. Immediately bringing them to an information website might not be the best way to interact with them, he said.
While advertisements typically bring users to a graduate program’s webpage, GW could instead link users to another Facebook or Twitter page that includes videos, photos or interviews with current graduate students, he said.
“What you want to do is engage them and get them to opt into a relationship of value where you’re sending them something they want,” Farnsworth said. “If you talk about what you know, and not about what you're selling, you have the opportunity to build a relationship, which is almost impossible to get any other way.””

Sarah Blugis: Freshmen, save yourselves from the sophomore slump
by The GW Hatchet

Feb 23, 2015
“I am a firm believer in the sophomore slump.
But I wasn’t always. At the end of my freshman year, I couldn’t wait to come back after summer break because I was beyond excited to no longer be at the bottom of the food chain. I wanted my second year to be a productive one: I would finish my general education requirements, get more involved and make a bunch of new friends.
I had heard about the sophomore slump, but I figured I’d be the exception and have a great time as a second-year GW student.
Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo
Sarah Blugis
But I was wrong, and my next two semesters ended up being my worst. My freshman-year friend group quickly disintegrated and, often, I felt lonely and left out. I was homesick but so busy that I couldn’t find time to go home. I took classes that I had no interest in just to fulfill GPAC requirements, resulting in my lowest-ever GPA.
It was a disaster, and I wasn’t alone. My friends went through the same thing, and I know a few people experiencing it now.
But freshmen, not all hope is lost. My sophomore year was a bust for one reason: I made bad choices at the end of my first year. But you still have time. Set yourselves up for next year right now, and you can avoid the sophomore slump.
Your second year is an important one. It can set the tone for the rest of your college experience, depending on the friends you make, major you choose and student groups you prioritize.
Some have suggested remedying the slump by boosting counseling services and career advising, but in my own experience those programs focus on students who are already sophomores. By then, it might be too late. Freshmen should be preparing now.
Soon, you’ll choose your housing for next year. It’s your most important decision because roommates can make or break any college experience. It isn’t an easy one, so think carefully. Choose roommates based on who you would live well with, not who’s your best friend.
Living with your closest friends isn’t the best idea if your lifestyles don’t mesh well. Fights over garbage, dishes and noise can tear any friendship apart, adding stress to your life that you don’t need.
Instead, find people who you're certain live like you, even if they're not your closest friends. Or even go random . Either way, avoiding inevitable roommate fights with your friends will help keep your relationships – and your support system – intact.
If you’re anything like me, though, you may not have found your group yet. It took me a long time to find where I fit at GW: I only became an editor at The Hatchet, for example, during the second semester of my sophomore year. But until then, I struggled.
I had friends, but I didn’t have a home. I joined everything and did too much and, soon, I barely had time to breathe. I was so busy trying to find my place that I forgot to take care of myself.
It’s only February. Freshmen, you can get a head start. Sometimes you can find your friends within a student organization. Cultivate those friendships and keep in touch over the summer so that in the fall, you can focus on working your way up the ladder.
That way, not only will you expand your social circle, but you’ll also show your commitment to the organization. It will open up leadership positions as well as more friendships in the future. Plus, you can develop a fun hobby, like theater, sports or writing.
By limiting the stress that comes with finding the right group, you’ll also have more time to focus on your classwork. But as registration quickly approaches, remember: Choose classes that interest you.
After your sophomore year, there’s no going back because you have to choose a major. Don’t take a bunch of general education requirements just for the sake of crossing classes off your list – you’ll be bored, I promise. If you have to take a science course and biology doesn't interest you, don’t take it – find something else that grabs your attention. Wait until spring semester if the class isn't offered until then.
Let yourself have fun before you choose your major. You don’t have to know what you want to do. Many of us upperclassmen don’t even know what we want to do with our lives. But unlike us, you still have a chance to find your thing, your passion, and the best way to do it is by taking classes that pique your interest. Have a long meeting with your adviser soon, before registration, so you can plan a fall schedule to look forward to.
The key to a successful sophomore year is limiting stress – and you can do a lot now, before summer break.
Don’t let my sophomore slump horror stories – or anyone else’s – scare you. But don’t brush them off, either. There are people who have amazing sophomore years – I just wasn’t one of them. I hope you are.
Sarah Blugis, a junior majoring in political communication, is The Hatchet’s contributing opinions editor. Want to respond to this piece? Submit a letter to the editor.”

Defensive slide has Lonergan considering lineup changes
by The GW Hatchet

Feb 17, 2015
“Media Credit: Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer
Head coach Mike Lonergan is considering changing the starting lineup of the men's basketball team after poor defensive play in recent games has put the team's NCAA Tournament hopes in jeopardy.
Juniors Joe McDonald, Kethan Savage, Patricio Garino, Kevin Larsen and senior John Kopriva have started all 25 of GW’s games this season, but that could change as early as Wednesday.
After the team set and then broke its season-high points allowed over the last two games, and with NCAA Tournament hopes dangling by a thread, head coach Mike Lonergan said he will switch in one or two new starters.
“You can talk about defense and the same guys not really guarding, but unless you’re willing to make some moves nothing is really going to change,” Lonergan said. “So if we change the lineup, it’s not to blame anybody. It’s just to try to strengthen our subs and maybe make our starters better defensively.”
In the early days of the season, GW was touted as a defensive juggernaut – one of the NCAA’s best three-point defenses.
The Colonials ended a strong non-conference season with a trophy, beating then-No. 11 Wichita State to win the Diamond Head Classic after allowing the least points over the course of three games in the history of the event.
Flash forward to the end of GW's demoralizing homecourt loss to No. 20 VCU on Saturday, and the same team has dropped four of its last five games, including the first loss of the season at home.
Lonergan said he’d start the best five defensive players and move a better player to provide scoring off the bench.
When the defense is working, like it was against Wichita State, the Colonials have been able to pack in the middle and force opponents into shooting contested threes that they often miss.
But in the 79-66 VCU loss, the Rams sank 12 of 30 three-point shots just three days after Duquesne netted 10 of 21 attempts on their homecourt on the way to a 78-62 victory.
Against VCU, GW was torched by Melvin Johnson’s 5-8 three-point shooting and Doug Brooks’ 4-6 mark. Brooks tried just one shot from two-point range and missed it, while he made 66 percent of his long-ball attempts, good for a 4-7 overall. That’s just a bunch of different ways to say the same thing: The Rams got open a lot behind the three-point line, especially in the corners.
“I think it’s a lack of energy,” Lonergan said. “We struggle to get five guys committed defensively as a team. Our 1-3-1 used to be a huge strength of ours, but you can’t play it when three guys are playing really hard, our back guy didn’t get to the corner, just really had no energy. We were really giving them wide open threes in the 1-3-1.”
The VCU game was tied at halftime, and the Colonials had been the aggressors going into the lockers. But midway through the second half, they were clinging to the game in the middle of a scoring drought that went on for nearly seven minutes.
A couple VCU turnovers were keeping the score from getting out of hand, though, until Brooks found a wide open look in the corner and hit his third three-pointer of the night for a 56-48 lead.
Lonergan called timeout to give the Colonials a chance to regroup, and after allowing a layup to Jonathan Lewis, they cut it to five once again off a bucket and extra shot from Savage and a steal converted to a layup by Garino.
But yet again, the defense lapsed and Melvin Lewis was left open in the corner. His triple made it 61-53 and the Rams quickly stretched out the lead to about 10 points.
“I think it’s focus,” Garino said. “It’s a mentality that we need to be back at the level that we were defensively... Maybe psychologically we’re thinking too much about offense or missing shots or mental breakdowns that we have.”
Losers in four of their last five, the Colonials will need to get back to that place quickly to have any hope of salvaging their NCAA Tournament prospects. For now, Lonergan is running out of reasons not to shake things up.”

College basketball, like GW, experiences drop in scoring
by The GW Hatchet

Feb 17, 2015
“Media Credit: Dan Rich | Hatchet Photographer
Freshman Yuta Watanabe shoots from behind the arc during Saturday's sold-out matchup against VCU. Although the Colonials are facing a low scoring season, it is also a trend across the rest of NCAA Division I Basketball, as the league is on course for its lowest scoring year since the beginning of the shot clock era.
With 25 games in the books last season, the 2013-2014 Colonials had already posted 1,865 points.
But this year, at the same point in time, the team has only recorded 1,686 and is on pace to score 119 fewer points than its last regular season total.
While this may be a disheartening statistic for the GW faithful, it’s not an uncommon one: Smarter defense, less adept shooters and officiating changes have all contributed to a growing trend of low scoring in NCAA Division I men’s basketball.
Evidenced by an about 3 percent drop in scoring in major conference games, 2015 is shaping up to be the slowest-paced year in the shot clock era.
Head coach Mike Lonergan said teams in the Atlantic 10 simply have more knowledge about their opponents today, leading to improved defensive game plans.
“I think it really is just because coaches have done a good job scouting because of modern technology ... I can go on my computer and in 30 minutes I can look at every shot Treveon Graham’s taken this year,” Lonergan said. “In the old days, I’d sit on my hands and knees with two VCRs and put tapes together for our players. Now it’s just so much easier to do.”
Eighth in the league in scoring but sixty-fifth in the nation in points allowed and conceding an average of 61.6 points per game, the Colonials (17-8, 7-5 A-10) have tried to have the same defensive mindset as powerhouses Virginia and Kentucky, two teams that slow down the game and hold opponents to an average of fewer than 53.0 points per game.
But strong defense through scouting is only part of the explanation. On the offensive end, Lonergan thinks poor shooting and lack of mental toughness are also factors in the league-wide trend.
“Kids don’t shoot as well as a whole as they shot years ago,” Lonergan said. “Even little kids who watch games ... most kids don’t work on shooting because you know, SportsCenter is all about dunks and stuff like that.”
A-10 newcomer Davidson (17-6, 8-4 A-10), however, which GW will host Wednesday night in the teams’ first meeting this season, seems to have a simple solution for the scoring problem.
“Recruit shooters,” Davidson head coach Bob McKillop said.
McKillop cited "better athletes, better defensive players, more defensive schemes," and coaches playing "closer to the vest" as possible reasons for the lapse in made baskets, but said he still had no true explanation for it.
It may be harder for McKillop to see, since the Wildcats are dominating the conference in scoring, averaging 81.3 points per game to GW’s 67.4. The fifth-best scoring offense in the nation has a knack for three-point shooting, but is an exception to the rule.
Analysts such as Seth Davis and Jay Bilas , whose livelihoods depend on the sport, have argued that the scoring decline is hurting the product of college hoops as a whole. Compared to college football, basketball offers a fast-paced game with plenty of offense, but less scoring may equal less excitement.
One possible solution is a shorter shot clock to boost scoring by making the game quicker. The concern, according to Washington Post reporter Scott Allen, who covers D.C. sports, is that even highly successful teams like No. 2 Virginia play basketball that isn’t fun for spectators.
“Some people think Virginia, what they’re doing, the pack-line defense is beautiful and credit to them for all the success, but it can be a rather boring game to watch,” Allen said. “I think some rule changes, experimenting with a shorter shot clock, is a long time coming and it can only increase the interest in the game.”
While a recent ESPN poll found that nearly 70 percent of college basketball coaches would favor shortening the current 35-second shot clock to 30 seconds or fewer, Lonergan is not one of them.
With a shorter shot clock, Lonergan said he fears that coaches will micromanage defenses even more than they already do. Something like a three-quarter press could kill a percentage of the already reduced clock, he said, prompting players to take even worse shots under pressure.
Even with the drop in scoring and some shot clock tinkering in the works, as the NCAA has already announced plans to experiment with a 30-second shot clock in this year’s National Invitation Tournament, Lonergan said he isn’t concerned about the sport's popularity.
“I think [college basketball] is the best sport ... but obviously I’m biased,” Lonergan said. “The NCAA Tournament, March Madness, pays for everything in college athletics. I mean it’s a billion-dollar industry and it’s the most popular sporting event really that there is in this country.””

Parents services chief to step down in July
by The GW Hatchet

Feb 17, 2015
“The executive director of parent services is stepping down after 30 years at GW.
Rodney Johnson, who founded the Office of Parent Services, will retire in July after leading the office for more than a decade, according to a University release.
After serving as a GW men's basketball assistant coach, Johnson expanded programs at Colonial Inauguration and Colonials Weekend. He also helped start a grant program to bring parents to campus who might not have enough money to visit their children otherwise.
"I’m 65 years old, and I’ve been at this university for 30 years, and I didn’t even know I’d be here this long — but when I got here, I knew this was a place I could see myself happy," Johnson said in the release.”

Young but determined, baseball sets sights on Omaha
by The GW Hatchet

Feb 13, 2015
“Media Credit: Hatchet File Photo by Camille Sheets | Hatchet Staff Photographer
The Colonials will start their season on Saturday against NJIT.
Scribbled in red marker in the middle of the diamond on the whiteboard in baseball head coach Gregg Ritchie’s office are the words, "Omaha," and "Why not us?!"
The board is more than as a place to map out starting lineups and pitching rotations.
The real reference point is the handful of motivational phrases in the center of the diamond and what would be deep, deep center field. Attitude and effort are in home-run territory.
One of the youngest teams in the country got younger, but the team also got better, Ritchie said. GW’s opening game against NJIT on Saturday marks the beginning of a season with less to instill and more to mold, teach and do. Here’s a look at the pieces and how they’re coming together:
The pitching staff
The Colonials lack a true ace but have two gritty players at the top of their rotation: junior Bobby LeWarne and freshman Kevin Hodgson.
LeWarne finished with a 3.38 ERA last year, best on the team among starters and 12th in the Atlantic 10. He finished with a 2-5 record in 12 starts and totaled 57 strikeouts. This year, with the graduation of Aaron Weisberg, LeWarne is the go-to guy. He will get the ball on opening day.
Hodgson, the second starter, is a southpaw with stuff. He throws in the upper 80s and has a deceptive motion with what Ritchie calls a cross-fire action.
"He’s got that innate ability that says, 'I don’t care. I’m going to find a way to do something good,'" Ritchie said.
The third starter is junior Jacob Williams. Last year, he had a team-high four wins in his 12 starts and finished with a 3.72 ERA. He’ll be followed by GW’s mid-week starter, freshman Robbie Metz, whose secondary role will be to come in and pitch on weekday games. His primary role will be starting at second base, though he is a natural shortstop, and batting second in the lineup.
Metz describes himself as a fastball, curveball guy with a change up that he’s working on. Metz doesn’t try to overpower hitters, but tries to get outs with ground balls or pop ups. Metz also dressed up as Bamm-Bamm from the Flintstones for the Colonials' Halloween scrimmage.
As for the bullpen, GW has redshirt senior Craig LeJeune back at closer. LeJeune is ready to resume his role after going down with an elbow injury, which led to Tommy John surgery. Last year, he was named to the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Watch List.
Eleven months out of surgery and he’s back to throwing in the upper 80s, and Ritchie thinks he could get up to 90 on a consistent basis.
“You can expect the same Craig. Just go out there in the last inning and try to dominate and shut the guys down and get the win,” LeJeune said.
The lineup
After last year’s offensive numbers came in at the bottom of the conference across the board, mental toughness at the plate will be key for the team, Ritchie said.
He’s starting off decisively. The lineup, Ritchie said, is “about as locked down as it’s ever been this early.”
Leading off and playing left field will be sophomore Joey Bartosic, one of GW’s two A-10 All-Rookie team selections, alongside sophomore Bobby Campbell.
Bartosic led off most of last year and can disrupt a pitcher with his ability to flick his wrists and put the ball in play. His speed can disrupt a defense, putting pressure on the players to make a good throw on a ball in play. Plus, he tallied 20 steals, tied for fifth best in the conference and did so at an 80 percent clip.
“He’s going to be that guy who’s that gnat. No matter what kind of spray you put on, no matter what kind of candle you hang up on the porch, no matter what kind of fly swatter you got going on, he’s somehow going to find your neck and he’s going to bite on it,” Ritchie said. “That’s who he is. And that’s how he plays.”
Metz will bat second and play second base. When he’s on the mound, the infield will swing around a bit but stay athletic.
Campbell will bat third and play first base this year. After playing at third most of last year, Ritchie is swinging him over to first for a more dynamic infield with three natural shortstops.
Batting fourth will be sophomore shortstop Kevin Mahala. With Mahala's 6-foot-3, 190 pounds of long, lanky talent, Ritchie is ready to give perhaps his biggest project a big-time challenge – hitting clean up.
"Sometimes when you look at a guy with the skill level he has, you go, 'Well, I don’t know if he’s ready for it.' You almost have to go, 'There. Go,'" Ritchie said. "And then you see what happens. His desire to be that guy ultimately helps. He wants to be that guy."
Xepoleas will provide the protection for Mahala and patrol center field. Last season, one of Xepoleas’ goals was to hit .400. He finished at .337, tied with his teammate Beightol and good for 10th best in the conference. This year, the goal is .425.
The only spot not locked down is the designated hitter. Any number of players could fill that role, from senior Brookes Townsend to sophomores Colin Gibbons-Fly or Jon Steele, or even freshmen Matt Cosentino or Brandon Chapman.
Rounding out the bottom of the order are freshman Mark Osis, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound right fielder, the catcher, junior Matthieu Robert, and sophomore Eli Kashi.
The culture
Omaha is the goal, but before the College World Series, GW will have to play a regular season as still one of the youngest teams in the nation.
In an A-10 preseason poll, GW was ranked eighth, a point ahead of Fordham. The Colonials finished eighth last year, with a 12-15 record in conference play. This year, conference newcomer Davidson is expected to hold its ground and finish sixth.
No one is bringing up this poll, though. The Colonials expect to defend home turf when GW hosts the A-10 tournament this year.
“There’s definitely some pressure coming into it, knowing that last year we didn’t make the A-10 tournament, but this year we kind of have to. You can’t have the A-10 tournament at your place and not be in it,” Bartosic said. “But we’re confident that we’re going to do a good job this year.”
It’s been a shift in the team's culture that has helped the players feel confident. Yes, there is the beard shtick . But Ritchie has seen more than just his team’s facial hair grow. The team matured quickly last year when six or seven freshmen started every game. Ritchie has been able to start implementing strategies and policies that he’s wanted to use since coming over from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“The culture’s permeating. It’s soaking in,” Ritchie said. “You’re building your team off of culture. Never forget that. You’re always building off of culture, attitude and effort, joy, free spirit, go out there and play to the best of your ability and play the game the right way. No one can ever tell us because we’re relentlessly desiring to go to win and that’s it. No one can stop our process. And that’s how you got to go.”
It helps after last year’s freshmen had to grind through the tough times, finishing one conference win short of qualifying for the A-10 championship. It helps after the juniors and seniors on the team went through the rough patch in Ritchie’s first year when they started 0-9 before finding their rhythm and going on to the conference championship.
The talent level for the young players is high. Several of them are bound to get playing time, with a select few who will start in their first year. This year’s freshmen have bought in faster than any other group, Ritchie said, and freshmen like Osis said so, too.
“[Sophomore] Eddie Muhl, he told me if coach Ritchie told him to pitch with his left hand, he would agree because he knows coach Ritchie has the best ideas in mind for him,” Osis said. “Ever since I’ve heard Eddie say that, I’ve pretty much just bought into the system.””

Elinoam Abramov: GW should form a student union
by The GW Hatchet

Feb 09, 2015
“There has been a lot of activism on GW’s campus over the past year, from responding to a former University president’s remarks about sexual assault to addressing ongoing student complaints about City Hall.
But student opinion has extended beyond issues of the GW community, too, to the grand jury decision in Ferguson, the decriminalization of marijuana and the launch of the “It’s On Us” campaign, to name a few. GW students, true to form, have been extremely vocal in their support or condemnation of these political events.
However, while political rhetoric is ever present around campus, action is limited. With the recent, notable exception of the GW Ferguson Coalition, political action regarding national issues has been largely confined to either individuals or student organizations with just a few central issues in mind .
The power of student political action would increase dramatically if we were to work together, advocating based on a democratically reached consensus. The Ferguson Coalition, which was able to bring together more than 20 groups and set specific goals, shows how possible this is. At GW, it could come in the form of a student union.
As the now-old stereotype persists, our student body is one of the most politically engaged and active ones in the country. Still, there is clearly a gap between what we say and what we do, since there is no system in place that organizes us to influence real change. A student union, or a form of one at least, is key to bridging this gap.
A system like this – granted, an imperfect system – exists in the U.K. already, and has for decades. Like GW’s Student Association, British student unions were formed to represent the interests of their students in conversations with the administration.
That’s about where the similarities end. Unions are far more robust than the SA: They provide support for students as well as owning and operating social venues such as bars, cafes and sports facilities, all of which are subsidized and therefore affordable to the student community.
But the most drastic difference is that while the SA is meant to be apolitical, student unions are deliberately political.
For example, last year, the Edinburgh University Student Association – the student union at my home university – passed a motion declaring the student body as feminist, reaffirming the union’s commitment to the equality of the sexes and challenging the patriarchal society in which we live.
Don’t get me wrong, I'm not advocating for the corrosion of the SA or even for the politicization of the system, but rather for a separate entity that can provide a systematic way for GW students to voice their political concerns.
To some, this idea may seem like an unattainable goal, something that sounds good on paper but is too good to be true. In the U.K., though, those in power pay attention to student voices. They especially listen to the National Union of Students, a confederation of 600 student unions from across the country that represents more than 95 percent of all higher education unions. It ensures that each union isn’t acting on its own, thus giving a voice to nearly 7 million students.
For example, following a vigorous NUS campaign, the British government halted its plans to cut funding for resources for students with disabilities and promised to address the issues that the union had raised.
Admittedly, the national union isn't always successful: After the government hiked tuition fees for British universities and instituted nationwide cuts to student benefits, the NUS organized a national protest with nearly 50,000 students. Despite this colossal effort, the rise in fees and most of the cuts were enacted.
Although in the short term, the goals of the NUS were not achieved, the Conservative government’s choice to not listen to students could come at a high cost in the long term, as many students will feel reluctant to re-elect a party that failed to represent their interests.
Of course, the political landscape in the U.K. is substantially different from that in the United States. Unions have been entrenched in the British system since 1871, providing the basis for the establishment of the Labour Party, which brought social and welfare issues to the forefront of the political agenda. And politicians have committed to student unions in particular time and again – though the first student union was established as early as 1884, the role of the unions was enshrined in British law through the Education Act in 1994.
The historically strong presence of unions in general has in part determined the success of student unions. This structure is deeply ingrained in the culture of British universities and won’t spring up overnight in a robust form at GW or other American schools.
And British political views are relatively narrow in scope compared to American ones – the two main parties would both be considered left of center in the United States. It seems somewhat unlikely that Republicans and Democrats on GW’s campus would be able to agree on all too many issues.
But perhaps this would be the exact strength of an American student union. It would allow a rare space for students of all ideologies to debate, hash out issues and perhaps find solutions that represent the majority of the GW community despite the apparent polarization.
That is not to say that a student union would function solely as a breeding ground for cross-party debate. Since all students have the right to vote on motions, a student union will allow those at our school who don’t identify with a particular political ideology or even a particular student organization to make their voices heard on issues they are passionate about or that affect them personally.
Whether motions are practical – calling for a policy change, like in tuition hikes – or symbolic – asserting a student body position on a political issue – the direct influence on the national political climate can be great. Whether we like it or not, the voice of the next generation should and does carry a special force.
Elinoam Abramov, a junior majoring in political science, is a Hatchet opinions writer. Want to respond to this piece? Submit a letter to the editor.”

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