Getting to know the woman behind the mask

When you say the name Jessica Love, the first thought that comes to mind for many is that she simply never stops smiling. This five-foot-four-inch senior from Hilliard, Ohio is the epitome of campus spirit.

Love, majoring in communication, is involved in a laundry list of activities around campus and in the community. Her most prominent, but secretive, activity on campus was playing GW mascot little George last year.

Love found out about becoming the mascot when she was a member of the Colonial Cabinet the summer of 1999. The campus spirit coordinator mentioned GW was looking for a new mascot, and Love was persuaded to go to a three-day mascot camp at Rutgers University. She had to create a skit and perform it in front of everyone at the camp. Love’s performance was graded in categories including emotion, crowd appeal, walk, animations, enthusiasm, prop usage and creativity. She scored an excellent in all but three categories.

In the fall of 1999, Love tried out for the position of little George along with four other students. Two students tried out for the part of big George. Three were chosen to be the little George mascot and two were picked for the part of big George.

Several mascots are selected for both George’s to provide more flexibility for the student mascot, Love said. Little George performs at basketball games as well as community and GW events, so having several mascots helps in working with student schedules.

I really liked working events on campus more than games, Love said. The community events let you interact with the crowd more.

The mascot’s biggest challenge is thinking of new and original skits each week, Love said. It is especially hard because the mascot is forbidden to talk.

Love has many memories from her first experience as the over-sized Colonial figure. She recalls tripping several times and making some children cry. Several wacko people also have come up to her and made rude comments about what was under the costume, she said.

Her role as little George was not Love’s first time behind a costume. While she was in eighth grade Love was chosen to be the Wendy spokesperson for the Wendy’s hamburger chain.

Wendy’s headquarters, located in Ohio, holds a statewide contest every year for girls ages 7-17 to become the next Wendy. All of the contestants go through a brief interview process and15 are chosen to perform in a pageant to show off their skills. At the age of 13, Love won the contest and gained the title of the official Wendy’s spokesman for one year.

It was great, Love said. I got a lot of free fries and frosties.

As Wendy Love rode in many parades and was the master of ceremonies for local events in her home state of Ohio. Last year Love was invited to a Wendy reunion in Ohio, but could not attend because the event was during finals week.

Although Love admits she is not always a loyal patron of Wendy’s restaurants, she said french fries are her favorite food there.

They are the staple of a Wendy’s meal, Love said. It is like having milk with cereal. You get a burger, you get fries.

But Love does not hide behind a costume all the time. Her hard work for the Program Board over the past three years has taken her from behind the mask to the forefront of student life.

Jessica is the most innovative and creative person I have ever met, said Seth Weinart, PB executive chair. She has done amazing things with and for the Program Board. Her commitment to GW spirit is unrivaled by anyone I know.

Love served as PB political affairs chair her sophomore year. In that role, she dealt with politics and coordinated debates between the College Democrats and College Republicans.

Love is now in her second year as the executive arts chair. Love coordinates visual, folk and performing arts events. Last year Love organized Oktoberfest, an event that will take place again this year Oct. 28. Love was also creator of The Story Hour Series held by PB. This speaker series calls upon well-known figures on campus to tell funny stories about their lives. Other activities Love has been involved in planning are the Festival of Arts and several Caf? Gelmans.

Being able to have freedom and creativity to plan cool events on campus that people care about is great, Love said.

Love isn’t stopping this year, either. She is starting a consumer awareness program about smart money management, specifically focusing on how students can avoid falling into debt. The program, sponsored by MasterCard, is called Are you credit wise?

It’s hard not to love Jessica Love, said Laura Finnegan, director of the Student Activities Center who has worked with Love extensively during the past three years. Every time you see her she is smiling. She has a love for GW and a passion for life that’s contagious. I would hire her again in a heartbeat for anything.

Early on in Love’s GW career she volunteered with the Neighbors Project through the Office of Community Service. As a volunteer, Love worked with elementary students from the Shaw neighborhood on a violence prevention program and an environmental service-learning program. Love also performed onstage as a member of the Generic Theatre Company, a student theatre group. She was in two shows her sophomore year, The House of Yes and The Hollow.

Is there anything Love has not done on campus? Love said she has always wanted to learn how to sail and jokes that she wished there was a sailing club or something like it she could join.

Love said all her extra-curricular activities keep her busy, but she manages her time well.

My apartment gets a little messy and some homework doesn’t get read, Love said. But for the most part it is under control.

While Love said her mascoting days are over, she does plan to pursue a career in public relations when she graduates.

Her colleagues have faith in Love.

She is an incredibly fun person and I’ve never seen her not smiling, Weinart said. There is nothing she cannot do.

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