The University recently purchased the Premier Hotel on Virginia Avenue and will turn it into a residence hall because of the unprecedented size of the incoming freshman class. The new hall (not “New Hall”) will house almost 400 freshman students in the fall in an attempt to ensure they will have a place to live on campus and to accommodate the burgeoning undergraduate population at GW.
The purchase of the hotel was good for at least one reason – it was sorely needed. More freshmen will be coming to GW than ever before, and the University has found a solution to the problem that beats how it coped with the same dilemma in the past.
But GW has more responsibilities to the incoming freshman class than simply providing a roof over their heads. Is a former hotel that is several blocks away from the center of GW life the best way for students to start their college careers? Probably not. It’s hard to imagine the Hall on Virginia Avenue will feel much like a residence hall, no matter how much effort the University puts into it.
And a larger freshman class means there will be more students going to classes. This inevitably leads too larger class sizes, unless the University reverses a recent trend – more and more students packed into classrooms that are too small for the enrollment. And outside the classroom, it is possible that the individual needs of students may start getting lost in the shuffle if the University continues to grow without planning ahead.
A growing university such as GW needs to be proactive about addressing shifts in its population, not reactive. Instead of buying a bandage to put on the wound like GW did when it bought the Premier Hotel, the University should either try to curb the growing population or take more measures to accommodate it.