GW celebrates living and learning programs

GW celebrated accomplishments of 300 freshmen who participated in the Community Living and Learning Center residence hall programs this year Friday.

CLLC hosted its first Living and Learning Symposium to provide an opportunity for communities to showcase their year’s achievements, said Kirsten Freeman, assistant director of the Community of Scholars at CLLC.

Seven of the eight communities gave 20- to 30-minutes presentations at the symposium in the Marvin Center ballroom, highlighting their program, performed skits and presented awards. The Press Room community, housed in the Hall on Virginia Avenue, had scheduling conflicts and could not make a presentation at the symposium.

All eight communities except the Press Room are extracurricular and do not count for course credit. Seven of them, with the exception of Healthy Lifestyles in Thurston, are completing their first year at the University.

A panel of six judges, comprised of two GW community directors, the senior event planner for the Marvin Center and three students, named the Campaign 2000 community the winner of the Best 2001 Symposium Presentation award.

The program, based in HOVA, showed its comedic documentary of their 2000 presidential election campaign activities.

CLLC chose the winners of other awards.

The Thurston Science and Technology community won the Best Community Web site award, as well as Best Service Project for its creation of a science fair for fifth graders at Eugene E. Clark Elementary School at 7th and Buchanan streets, NW.

The Healthy Lifestyles community was awarded the Most Spirited Community.

Anthony Esposito, a freshman member of the Healthy Lifestyles Community, received Most Energetic Community Member, and Jordan Plieskatt from the Science and Technology community, won the Best Initiative by an Individual award.

“(Being in a community) was beneficial and I would recommend it to anybody,” Plieskatt said. “The symposium was a great culmination for the end of the year.”

The Most Dedicated Community Member award went to the Campaign 2000 community’s Michael Gavin, a freshman.

The Creative and Performing Arts, Quill Pen and Silver Screen communities, all housed in Mitchell Hall, also presented Friday.

“I’ve been really impressed by the presentations so far, and the work the students have put into it has been amazing,” said Rebecca Sawyer, CLLC director of Freshman Services.

Students said they joined living and learning communities for different
reasons.

“I joined (Healthy Lifestyles) primarily because I didn’t want to drink or do drugs,” freshman Matt Brown said of the program to promote health-conscious living. “And I wanted to make my year more successful.”

“I thought (joining Science and Technology) would help me out with med school,” freshman Rich Shelala said. “A head start in science and technology will be beneficial for me.”

Global Perspectives is the largest community, with 100 members constituting the entire 4th floor of Thurston Hall. The Press Room and Campaign 2000 are the second largest groups, with 48 members each.

Next year GW will cap the communities at 50 students, Freeman said, because CLLC believes large groups lose the small, intimate feeling.

GW is among only a handful of schools pursuing community living options, said Clint Hall, community facilitator and supervisor of the Global Perspectives community in Thurston Hall.

“To be one of the pioneers, it is very fulfilling,” he said. “This is going to be the wave of the future. (These communities) are going to be the next big thing.”

Freshmen said they are optimistic for the future of the programs.

“Hopefully, 20 years from now we can actually come back to the
University and see these programs fulfilled,” said freshman Rohit Barman, a Global Perspectives member.

CLLC officials said they plan to make the symposium an annual event.

“(The symposium) is a good way to bring together the year in review and show students that what they have done throughout the year is appreciated,” said Student Association president-elect Roger Kapoor, one of the judges at the symposium.

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