Hall on Virginia Ave. offers freshmen an `active atmosphere’

The Hall on Virginia Avenue is operating like a tightly knit community, said Mark Levine, assistant dean of students.

“There is an active atmosphere with lots of excitement surrounding the upcoming hall council election,” Levine said.

Two special living and learning communities are also HOVA attractions. Residents of the Healthy Lifestyle Community made a commitment to substance-free living and wellness, while the Watergate 723 Community emphasizes the historical infamy of the nearby Watergate complex.

Room 723 of HOVA, formerly a Howard Johnson Hotel, served as the lookout point during the Democratic National Committee headquarters burglary at the Watergate June 17, 1972. The incident and its cover-up led to former President Richard Nixon’s resignation two years later. The program has already attracted speaker G. Gordon Liddy, a member of the Nixon administration deeply involved in the scandal.

Freshmen residing in HOVA have both praises and complaints about the newest residence hall on campus.

HOVA resident Josh Stern said he hopes the pool hours will change or that the roof will be opened in the evening. But he said he appreciates HOVA’s many other perks.

“We have a fridge in every room, plenty of space, lots of drawers and closet space – two sinks,” Stern said. “I mean, there’s only one sink for six people in Thurston.”

“I go to Thurston a lot,” freshman Jenn Stuart said. “But it’s just nice to come back here. It’s a lot more quiet.”

While students interviewed seem positive about the HOVA living experience, the hall is less advanced technologically than other residence halls because of its late purchase. Washing machines, elevators and entrances are not yet connected to the University’s GWorld card system.

Security for HOVA is provided by University Police officers similar to those at Thurston Hall, Levine said. He said community hosts will soon join the new residence hall.

“Their job is to create a welcome environment, as well as security,” Levine said.

Recruitment of GW students for community host positions is starting, and they will be deployed as soon as possible, Levine said.

A computer lab is also on the horizon for HOVA, Levine said.

Stern said he overlooks these missing features and has an untainted view of HOVA.

“I wouldn’t ever have to think twice about living here,” Stern said. “I love it.”

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