As GW and Mount Vernon slowly merge under one umbrella, administrators at both campuses are working to ensure the all-women’s campus doesn’t get left out in the rain.
Students working toward GW degrees are now the majority at The George Washington University at Mount Vernon, formerly Mount Vernon College. With the crossing of this threshold comes the task of integrating the two campuses into a united University.
This year’s seniors will be the last students to receive a degree from MVC – the historically all-women’s college. The three other undergraduate classes earning GW degrees find themselves caught between two vastly different worlds that have been coming closer since GW and MVC entered into a financial agreement in October 1996.
And as things rapidly change at the small college tucked away on Foxhall Road in Northwest Washington, GW administrators are working to tie up loose ends and promote community spirit.
“I think it’s going to be a bit chaotic, but it’s going to be great,” said Har Jinder, MVC’s senior class president.
GW’s division of Student and Academic Support Services has geared part of its Welcome Week programs to incorporate both campuses.
Mike Gargano, executive director of the Student Activities Center, said the addition of the Mount Vernon campus allows GW to hold events previously seen as impossible on an urban campus.
In fact, SAC has planned a block party at Mount Vernon Aug. 27. that will include fireworks, carnival games and outdoor swimming.
Gargano said the goal of these upcoming events is to get students to visit both campuses and invoke the image of one University.
“I would be disappointed if the interaction doesn’t occur,” Gargano said. “I think a lot of students will come to (Foggy Bottom) and take part in the environment.”
Jinder said many students at Mount Vernon welcome GW students who want to stop by, but she is hesitant to believe her Foggy Bottom counterparts will visit the new campus immediately.
“We would love it if all of GW came to participate,” she said. “But I don’t know a lot will want to come to our campus.”
To help coordinate the interaction, GW has moved Lori Pederson, who formerly directed campus activities at GW, to Mount Vernon as director of student development.
She and other administrators who have relocated to Mount Vernon are working to provide clear communication between the University’s two locations.
In order to make the commute between the locations easier, SASS plans to test its shuttle system between the two campuses next month. Gargano said the bus schedule will be tailored to students’ needs.
“The shuttle service needs to be a bit flexible in that it will take a
30-day period to work out the kinks,” he said.
Shuttles are now scheduled to pick up students every 20 minutes from both campuses between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., and every 30 minutes between 6 p.m. and midnight. But special arrangements will be made for events scheduled to go past midnight, Gargano said.
“You know there are going to be some issues we will have to work through,” he said.
As the administration works to incorporate those students who will graduate with GW degrees, the University also is extending itself to the seniors – the last class of MVC graduates.
Jinder said seniors consider themselves part of GW’s family also.
“There are a lot of new changes and I don’t think (seniors) are going to be left behind,” Jinder said. “Our campus has completely changed since last year.
“(GW) shouldn’t have an impact on Mount Vernon as a women’s school,” she said. “It is up to us to maintain women’s ideals at our campus.”