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Trick-or-treating student group grows as Halloween nears
by The GW Hatchet
Oct 05, 2015
“Media Credit: Katie Causey | Photo Editor
Senior Emily Van Blargan, president of Trick or Treat for Service, will be leading a large group of student volunteers through local neighborhoods later this month to collect canned goods for the Capital Area Food Bank.
To celebrate Halloween this year, some GW students will dress up and trick-or-treat for canned vegetables rather than candy apples.
The student group Trick or Treat for Service is preparing for its annual event of going door to door in the neighborhoods surrounding the Mount Vernon Campus in order to collect canned goods and non-perishables to donate to a local food bank. This year, it be will held on Oct. 24, the Sunday before Halloween.
Now in its third year, Trick or Treat for Service first began as a small effort by the community service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega and began to include other service organizations, like the sorority Epsilon Sigma Alpha. But its leaders have high hopes for the event’s growth this year.
Junior Jackie Andrews, the volunteer coordinator of Trick or Treat for Service, said she hopes to expand the event this year to include more non-service-based groups and individual volunteers, like the 12-hour Dance Marathon fundraiser, which attracted 45 student groups in its first year.
“It’s very similar in nature to something like Dance Marathon, where we have a registered organization that has one big event per year,” she said.
Last year, more than 10 organizations – like the softball team, the honor’s program, GW Red Cross and some multicultural Greek organizations – participated in the event. This year, Andrews said new organizations that have signed up so far include the women’s lacrosse team, the African dance team and Medlife GW.
“I do think we’re on our way to something much bigger that there’s a lot of buzz around,” Andrews said.
Andrews said that about 150 volunteers joined last year’s event, where Provost Steven Lerman was a speaker. Each year, volunteers collect about 3,000 to 5,000 pounds of food for donation to the Capital Area Food Bank.
Senior Emily Van Blargan, president of Trick or Treat for Service and a member of ESA, said she likes the event because it gives students “a chance to do service and do good things.”
“A lot of organizations that participate don’t do a lot of community service, and I like that it’s kind of an opportunity to get out of the Foggy Bottom bubble while also doing some good,” Van Blargan said.
Van Blargan hopes to collect at least 4,000 pounds of food this year for the Capital Area Food Bank. Generally, however, she and the organization just want to do “bigger and better” than previous years.
Van Blargan said that one of her favorite memories was working with GW’s head of transportation last year to work out logistics for getting cars to take the volunteers to their respective neighborhoods.
“He donated 4-RIDEs and 4-RIDE drivers out of his own time and salary to volunteer at the event, and he came and volunteered. It’s really nice when GW staff get involved and to see people who really enjoy community service having a fun fall day,” she said.
Victoria Sheridan contributed reporting.”

David Meni: GW needs to make campus more pedestrian-friendly
by The GW Hatchet
Oct 05, 2015
“A new dance is catching on around GW’s campus – “The H Street Shuffle.” It goes like this: Step off the curb, peek around the food truck, turn your head to the right, then the left, dodge the person glued to their phone, take two steps forward and two steps back, apologize to driver, narrowly avoid the oncoming bicycle and sprint the rest of the way to Kogan Plaza.
The inconvenience of frequently crossing both H Street by Kogan Plaza and I Street by Whole Foods highlights an inherent problem that comes with the prime location of our campus. As an urban school, GW has a lot to consider: the needs of students, staff and faculty, as well as the needs of area residents that drive on the streets of campus.
Though the University has made considerable development in most of its construction endeavors, the campus streetscape – the design for everything from streets and crosswalks to benches and lampposts – is still lacking when it comes to creating a cohesive campus identity and making Foggy Bottom safer for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.
Getting this right should be a higher priority for GW, given the thousands of students who live on Foggy Bottom and the students, staff and faculty who walk or bike on campus. Since District House between H and I streets will be completed soon , the timing is right for GW to reconsider – with student and resident input – how the streets and sidewalks around the new development can create a safer, more connected campus.
The University put out a draft of a streetscape plan back in 2010, which has a lot of positive components: It calls for consistency in paving (brick on east‒west streets, concrete on north‒south streets), better accommodations for trees and bike racks, and stamped-concrete crosswalks at major intersections. The plan also briefly mentions curb extensions, which would shorten the space needed to cross at intersections, as well as a mid-street crossing near Kogan Plaza.
Some of the 2010 proposal has come to fruition, like the sidewalks around the Science and Engineering Hall. GW also recently installed new stamped-brick crosswalks along 23rd Street, but those are almost purely cosmetic.
Despite these piecemeal improvements, GW has yet to publish an official streetscape plan or propose a timeline for implementation. And given last year’s University-wide cost-cutting along with difficulty funding construction projects, it’s likely that streetscape improvements aren’t a priority right now.
GW actually has a history of making dramatic changes to D.C. streets in order to benefit students and the community. In 1979, the University acquired the 2300 block of I Street, transforming it from an area for car traffic into a pedestrian plaza, now the location of the annual Foggy Bottom and West End Neighborhood Block Party.
Having safer, more inclusive streets is important. When you consider how much you interact with people while walking around, or how many times you may have almost been hit by a car going far too fast for a college campus, the impact of well-built streets becomes apparent.
Instead of the little-used sidewalk currently outside the Marvin Center, imagine a raised crosswalk — essentially a combination of a crosswalk and a speed bump — between Kogan Plaza and District House. Or, another option would be closing off sections of H and I streets to car traffic altogether (with the exception of deliveries and access to parking garages).
There’s actually precedent for similar street improvements in D.C. and at universities around the country. On C Street Southeast, the District Department of Transportation is moving forward with building a protected bike lane and a crosswalk raised to the sidewalk level – a project that’s one of the first of its kind in the city. And at Boston University, which has an urban campus not unlike GW’s, the university bought up three blocks of Commonwealth Avenue to turn them into a pedestrian mall.
A plan that’s right for H Street in particular might be somewhere in between. Instead of having to buy streets, GW could coordinate with DDOT to create a “shared-space” street that uses design cues to indicate that, while cars are still allowed, the street is mainly for pedestrians and cyclists. The design of a shared space often includes brick and cobblestone paving, making the street level with the sidewalk, and less street parking – though the food trucks could still stick around.
While a plan like this may seem far-fetched, something similar is already being implemented elsewhere in D.C. The new wharf development of D.C.’s Southwest Waterfront will have 12 blocks of shared space in a busy commercial area.
Many conversations at GW revolve around how our urban campus can create a better sense of cohesion and community. Designing our public spaces in a more inclusive way is a much-needed start.
David Meni, a graduate student studying urban policy in the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, is a Hatchet opinions writer. Want to respond to this piece? Submit a letter to the editor.”

Staff Editorial: Top-level departures show a lack of stability
by The GW Hatchet
Oct 05, 2015
“GW can’t hang on to its top-level officials – or at least, that’s the way it looks.
So far this academic year, three officials have unexpectedly stepped down from their positions, beginning with Provost Steven Lerman in August. Then last month, Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion Terri Harris Reed announced she would be departing, too. And most recently, former Director of Mental Health Services Silvio Weisner resigned following the University’s realization that he was not licensed to practice as a psychologist in the District.
Including those three announcements, nine high-profile officials have suddenly resigned, left GW or changed positions since 2011. Though Weisner was a mid-level manager, he is included in this count because of the importance of MHS and because he played an essential role in running the department.
Of course, all of these officials left for individual reasons, and it’s impossible to lay blame on any one person or event. But regardless of the reasons officials have stepped down, such a high number of departures over the past four years indicates a clear lack of stability and leadership. It’s time for the University to get this turnover under control, and demonstrate a commitment to keeping its most important departments more stable – for everyone’s sake.
These aren’t insignificant losses. Academics, diversity and mental health are three essential components of student life at GW, and three areas officials have repeatedly said they will prioritize. Lerman and Reed are leaving in the middle of huge initiatives like the strategic plan and a long-term increase in diversity hiring , respectively. Weisner is stepping down following a crucial, ongoing push for more comprehensive mental health services on campus.
"We have been fortunate in recruiting talented leaders who have greatly contributed to the University’s advancement,” University President Steven Knapp said in an email. “Of course, turnover happens in any organization. When a University leader leaves to take a new position or for whatever other reason, we identify an interim successor to ensure continuity.”
Knapp is right in that turnover is normal at any school – no official will stay forever, and it’s not common to stay for decades either. People change their minds or want to try out new roles or schools. And sometimes, it isn’t their choice to leave. But just because it’s bound to happen doesn’t make it any easier.
Turnover in such visible, important areas is a huge drain on GW’s resources. It takes time and effort to undergo one national search to fill a position, let alone three at once. In the meantime, current officials are overburdened with extra responsibilities, or abandon their old positions to fill in for a while. And even when someone new has been chosen, they have to be trained and given adequate time to adjust to life at GW.
Weisner’s sudden resignation has hit the hardest. Given that he steered our campus through a difficult time after three student suicides in close succession in 2014, it’s deplorable that problems with his license weren’t dealt with sooner. He let students down by ignoring his invalid D.C. license, and University officials obviously should have kept a closer eye on the situation.
But Reed and Lerman’s departures don’t feel good, either – none of this turnover does. For students, it’s disappointing to get excited about officials’ plans and initiatives, only to see them leave before those plans come to fruition. And following years of admissions scandals, calls for more diversity on campus and a suicide cluster, these three departures may leave students feeling particularly vulnerable.
From every angle, this looks bad. When it comes to public relations, prospective students’ concerns and GW’s fundraising efforts, big resignations like these are not conducive to a positive reputation. And high-level turnover can’t be hidden easily – anyone can find out through a simple Google search.
While many potential students will consider things like ranking, acceptance rate and financial aid while choosing a school, others have more specific concerns. A lack of strong leadership in areas like mental health and diversity are understandable reasons to cross a school off a list, or at least put it toward the bottom.
And since GW is trying to finish off its fundraising campaign, officials also need to consider alumni perspectives. This academic year started with news that GW would likely reach its $1 billion goal early , but given turnover, many prospective alumni donors – or any donors for that matter ‒ may now be more hesitant.
What’s even more concerning is how potential applicants to the vacant positions may feel. Even though the circumstances surrounding each official’s departure are very different, the fact that they’re leaving at all might throw off a candidate who is considering one of those areas, or any part of the University. They may have concerns about GW’s work environment, their own job security or how much work they could be asked to take on.
The University needs to make sure it’s recruiting top talent – people who have been in the game for a long time and know how to run a high priority office or department. Those people probably aren’t out looking for a “fixer-upper,” like an office whose leader left in the middle of a major project, or a department that has quickly cycled through leaders. In all likelihood, the most qualified candidates are looking for a good work environment and a stable office.
Ultimately, this is a problem that only Knapp and GW’s remaining officials can tackle. They understand best what the problems may be, and hopefully, they’re already working to identify any trends that may exist.
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, senior design assistant Samantha LaFrance and copy editor Brandon Lee.
Want to respond to this piece? Submit a letter to the editor.”

Racing in the District, cross country gets a taste of what could come
by The GW Hatchet
Oct 01, 2015
“Media Credit: Josh Solomon | Hatchet Staff Photographer
GW hosted the college arm of the DCXC meet last Saturday.
A hundred meters away from the park, a lone tree stood tall. Its leaves were scattered all below you, crisp and golden in a pile worth playing in. Fall had arrived and change was inevitably coming.
On the park’s grounds, a few kids sat in swings while others huddled up and tossed around a football in pickup games. Further into the park, past the runners and through the trails, you'll reach the Anacostia River.
At Kenilworth Park, hugging the boundaries of Maryland in Northeast D.C., around 3,000 high schoolers congregated to run on a late September Saturday just as they did last year. The colleges were coming too this fall.
A 20-minute drive from GW, the Colonials headed to their first home cross country meet since 2005. Howard, American and Catholic joined them for a 5K race that was a little bigger in size than your typical dual meet.
GW was hosting the college arm of the DCXC meet. Put on by Pacers Running and sponsored by New Balance, the meet is in its second year. Last year, it hosted 2,500 kids from around the District. This year they allowed for 25 percent growth – plus a college component.
“You’re not going to hold it on the Mall,” said Kathy Dalby, CEO of Pacers Running and an alumna with a master’s degree in public health. “We wanted something that was legitimately like part of D.C. and not D.C. touristy.”
And so the city got one of its only races for its students. DCXC entertained 19 different heats, starting off with two elementary school races, followed by the two collegiate 5Ks. Next came two middle school-age races and then 13 different heats for the high school races, with Varsity A and Varsity B races. From Canada to Kentucky, they came to the District to race.
Head coach Terry Weir has been waiting to host a race in D.C. for years. Since the Colonials last hosted a decade ago, a few people with various GW ties worked together to end GW’s hosting drought. In 2006, then-freshman cross country runner Stephen Rutger interned with the Greater Washington Sports Alliance, where he met Dalby. Turns out Dalby and Weir knew each other too from their shared Pacers Running days.
“When I ran into Terry, he mentioned he had he wanted to host A-10s. He wanted to host a race, so I got us all together because the DCXC would be an easy, great fit,” Rutger said.
Then, Weir and Dalby talked. At one point Dalby considered hosting DCXC at the Armed Forces course, but they don’t often issue permits. Instead, she found a place within the community.
“He wanted to do it in the heart of the nation’s capital, so here we are in Kenilworth Park,” Dalby said.
The course is not world class. The terrain is uneven. The course is flat. The 5K course, the typical length for a women’s conference races, but shorter than the typical men’s 8K, requires a loop. If an 8K was added, they would need to take advantage of the more of the park’s grounds to do so. This could work out since the park is still developing, including a trail being built down to the river.
“At some point down the road we would like to host the A-10 [Championship] if we can do it,” Weir said before the season started. “If we can do it in D.C. proper, that would be great too. That’s the challenge we’re trying to do now.”
The flatness of the course, a roughly 15-minute walk from either the Minnesota Avenue or Deanwood Metro stops, might not be a problem though. This year’s A-10s will be run on the fairly tame course at Richmond, Va., which could just equate to faster times.
The team’s early MVP, sophomore Miranda DiBiasio, ran the course comfortably on Saturday. She went out at the gun with the rest of her team and then picked up the pace in the second mile. She finished one-tenth of a second short of her college personal record, which was 18:39.90 set back at last year's A-10 championship. A week after finishing in first place at the Salty Dog Invitational at Navy, she would finish in second place finish at the DCXC race. GW would go onto win the meet on the women’s side. The fourth through eighth place finishers all came in wearing buff and blue – prompting one of the race officials at the finish line to remark, “Ooh, GW, looking like they’re dominating.”
It felt more like a high school race at its start though, DiBiasio said, adding her teammates had commented on it.
“I was kind of skeptical. I couldn’t see this as an A-10 course,” she said.
But, if you build it, they will come.
“The whole atmosphere will change and it’ll feel like a college race once all the other colleges are here," DiBiasio continued.
As the men came across to end the day for the Colonials, a group of about a dozen alumni crowded the finish line situated along the park’s newly refurbished track. Senior Ryan Tucker led the team’s second place overall finish, coming across in fourth place with a personal record of 15:56. A couple places later, fellow senior John-Louis Pane came in a couple seconds behind a runner for American, who strode commandingly in front of him along the track’s final turn.
After the race, it was all smiles. There were even some dances to some to Taylor Swift tunes. In many ways, it still felt like a high school meet. Except if you looked around, the college runners were the biggest and fastest on the rocky course and along the track for the final 100 meters. It’s still up in the air whether GW, and the A-10, will decide it is the right place to host a conference tournament, but the blueprint has been drawn.
“It just shows that GW can, if they put their minds to it, can host something big like A-10 Championship for cross country,” Rutger said.”

Freshmen find new home in International House
by The GW Hatchet
Oct 01, 2015
“Media Credit: Katie Causey | Photo Editor
Freshman Julian Baker, left, and freshman Tom Montano, right, are two of 19 freshmen who live in International House this year.
Some freshmen have found their home on Virginia Avenue this year.
Nineteen freshmen live on the second floor of International House, which also houses nine fraternities and sororities and one floor of sophomores. This marks the first time that freshmen were assigned housing in the building in at least five years.
University spokesman Kurtis Hiatt said in an email that freshmen were assigned to live in the residence hall because there wasn't space available elsewhere on campus.
“Due to housing availability on campus, a small number of freshmen received assignments to live in International House for this academic year. We do not anticipate housing freshmen in International House in the future,” he said.
Hiatt declined to say exactly how many freshmen live in International House.
Last spring, GW accepted ​45 percent of applicants in an attempt to increase the size of the incoming freshman class by 150 to 200 undergraduate students.
Four freshmen who live in the hall said they haven't seen the security presence they would have expected – like a campus security aide or University Police Department officer at the front desk where residents tap ­into the building with their GWorlds.
“It’s not like the task force of security you see when they take you into Thurston during [Colonial Inauguration],” Tom Montano, a freshman and International House resident, said.
Hiatt said security measures in residence halls are “adjusted as necessary.”
“All residence halls, including International House, require GWorld tap access and additional security measures are implemented and adjusted as necessary,” he said.
In March, International House was vandalized with swastikas in two separate incidents and the University subsequently installed security cameras in the hall.
M​ike​ Massaroli, a senior and president of the Residence Hall Association who has lived in International House since his sophomore year, said he was initially concerned about how cohesive the residence hall’s community would be because freshmen typically live together in residence halls like Thurston Hall and Potomac House, but he said freshmen “haven’t really ruffled any feathers.”

“It was more a necessity after [GW] realized they were running out of places to put them. My impression was that I-House was a last­-ditch option,” he said.
Living in the hall also comes with some perks, Massaroli said. Freshmen are not usually privy to benefits like balconies, which 24 rooms in International House have, or kitchens, which were renovated in the building last year.
“If I were living in I-House freshman year, I’d be pretty jazzed,” Massaroli said.
At least three rooms in the building that are designed for two students now house three students, Massaroli said, though the University’s housing w​ebsite ​states that all rooms in the residence hall are doubles and singles.
Two freshmen living in International House said they did not request to live there and did not find out about their living arrangement until mid to late August.
“I had never heard of it. I didn’t know what it was,” Julian Baker, a freshman living in International House, said. “I had heard all of the freshmen dorms, but I didn’t even pick this as an option.”
Despite being assigned to live in International House without requesting for the option, Baker said he has been happy with the arrangement because of the small, community atmosphere on his floor.
“There’s this community feel that I really like and think is pretty unique,” Baker said. “People that I know who live in Thurston don’t know anybody on their floor. Sometimes they don’t even know their RA or what they look like.”
Among the two freshmen floors are three rooms of Division I female athletes.
Anna Tapen, a freshman on the women’s soccer team, said she originally was placed in a six-person room in Thurston. But she said some freshmen athletes were then given the opportunity to switch to International House if they could find two other athletes to fill a three-person room.
“It helps to branch out to people who play other sports and people who don’t play any sports,” Tapen said.”

Crime log
by The GW Hatchet
Sep 28, 2015
2200 G Street NW
9/15/15 - 9 a.m. - 6:45 p.m.
Open case
A student reported that his bicycle was stolen from a bike rack in front of Funger Hall. University Police Department officers determined the wire lock had been cut.
- Ongoing investigation
Simple Assault
Marvin Center
9/14/15 - 10 a.m.
Case closed
A female student reported that another female student pushed her into a wall. They had previous issues with each other.
- Referred for disciplinary action
Science and Engineering Hall
9/17/15 - 10 -10:30 p.m.
Case closed
A contractor reported that two laptops were missing from an office.
- No suspects or witnesses
Disorderly Conduct / Threats
Gelman Library
9/18/15 - 11:13 p.m.
Case closed
UPD responded to the report of a visitor acting disorderly. He was stopped and barred from the University’s campus. The subject then threatened the officer.
- Subject barred
Drug Law Violation
Lisner Auditorium
9/19/15 - 12:50 a.m.
Case closed
UPD officers observed two non-affiliated individuals smoking marijuana on the steps of Lisner Auditorium.
- Subjects barred
Drug Law Violation
Mount Vernon Campus
9/19/15 - 10 p.m.
Case closed
UPD officers on patrol smelled burning marijuana coming from the wooded area near the Hand Chapel on the Mount Vernon Campus. Students were searched and UPD confiscated marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
- Referred for disciplinary action
Disorderly Conduct
Science and Engineering Hall
9/20/15 - 9 a.m.
Case closed
UPD observed an unaffiliated man urinating off the loading dock of the Science and Engineering Hall.
- Subject barred
Simple Assault / Disorderly Conduct / Liquor Law Violation
2100 F Street NW
9/20/15 - 12:32 a.m.
Case closed
UPD observed a student drinking in public and behaving disorderly. The student was transported to GW Hospital by EMeRG. The student assaulted a nurse attempting to restrain him. There were no serious injuries.
- Referred for disciplinary action
- Compiled by Sam Eppler.”

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