GW Honors Program Director David Alan Grier said he is looking for student leadership to help the program’s partial relocation to the Mount Vernon Campus. He met with members of the Honors Program Tuesday night in Lafayette Hall to explain the changes for next year.
The University announced last week plans to house 50 current Honors Program members and 100 freshman members at Mount Vernon and increase the number of upper-level undergraduate courses offered at the campus next year.
Grier said he is about to embark on a recruitment tour and wanted to touch base with the students to address their concerns about the relocation.
At the meeting Grier said he was looking for leaders among the present Honors students to be at the forefront of the move to Mount Vernon.
If we’re really going to make it work as an honors campus, we need to listen to the Honors students, Grier said. They will run it and make it work.
Some Honors students said they were concerned about the prospect of available busing to the Mount Vernon campus, and the move in general.
I personally would not like to live (at Mount Vernon) or attend class there, freshman Allison Gianneschi said. The reason I came here to GW was for the urban campus, and if given the choice, I would rather live here than be in the Honors program.
Other Honors students said they favored the move.
I think this way Honors will be more centralized, freshman Michael Smith said. It might be beneficial to have a designated spot for us.
Grier tried to calm the concerns of the Honors students who had questions about the relocation to the Mount Vernon campus.
Students ask, `Is the whole Honors Program moving out there?’ The answer is no, he said.
The Honors Program will continue to have a presence on the main GW campus, whether at Lafayette Hall, which currently houses some Honors students, or elsewhere, Grier said.
Grier said the Honors Program is in the process of developing, and the move to Mount Vernon reflects that process.
As universities grow they need to find new centers, Grier said.
The change reflects the University’s overall growth, Grier said.
Between 1990 and 2000, GW has gone from medium to big, and now the Honors Program needs to find a new center, Grier said. We’re organization building, and we’re looking to build something that will leave a legacy,
The move entails building an atmosphere that solidifies the center of the Honors Program and encourages its members to participate in a variety of extracurricular activities, he said.
Grier said he envisions performing arts, literary publications, athletics and a possible photography or digital-imaging facility to be available to the Honors students at Mount Vernon.
The Honors Program will also permanently move the symposium it holds each semester to Mount Vernon. The program will hire Mount Vernon-based faculty that will synergize with the students and help build structure, Grier said.
Despite some student concern, Grier said he looks forward to next year.
Next year will be an empirical year, he said. Some things will work, some things will not. But hopefully we can change the whole character of the program.