GW residence hall Riverside Towers will get internet access, cable TV and a new name, GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg announced Thursday in the building’s basement.
Trachtenberg said GW will rename the building International House July 1 to recognize the important role international students play on campus, but the building will not necessarily house international students.
“We thought we could do something we don’t do as often as we should, to recognize the international students at GW,” he said at the ceremony, which was billed as an International Week event. “The building is part of the recognition of the important role of international players in the GW community.”
Director of University Special Events Jim Hess said no there is no timeline for the improvements to the building.
Trachtenberg speculated that living and learning communities could be created in the International House, including one called Global Perspectives.
Trachtenberg said the name Riverside did not make sense, and the new name would be appropriate because the building is located near the U.S. State Department and the new Elliott School site at 19th and E streets.
“GW received no money from a benefactor named ‘Joe Riverside,’ and the building is not even close to the river,” Trachtenberg said.
Riverside currently has no ethernet access and offers one phone line in each room. Some rooms are without cable TV.
Trachtenberg addressed student concerns about the name change and explained why changes to the building are necessary to about 40 GW administrators and the small number of students at the event.
“The building has been referred to by students as being less than up-to-date. In fact, some students have used the term ‘armpit,’” Trachtenberg said. “I don’t concur, but it’s an inspiration.”
Some Riverside residents said they were unaware of the change, which was announced in a flyer mailed to all residents and published in the Student Activity Center’s weekly Do This! calendar.
“I haven’t heard about (the change) at all, and I don’t think the other CFs were told anything about it,” Riverside community facilitator Dan Uriano said.
“No one told me, they just sent us a flyer, it’s a very impersonal thing to do,” said Patty Seminetta, a Riverside Residence Hall Association representative. “I’d think if they’re changing the name of the dorm they might consult us.”
Before Trachtenberg’s speech, Director of University Special Events Jim Hess apologized for keeping students out of the loop.
“We realize that Riverside residents were upset, and that was my fault. I thought the students were more aware of it,” Hess said. “The fact is that President Trachtenberg was surprised that the residents didn’t know, just as surprised as the residents were (about the change).”
The name change also spurred jokes from students.
“I think it’s stupid, it sounds like the International House of Pancakes,” sophomore resident Jade Nester said. “That was my first reaction.”