Freshman block party returns to campus

Freshman residence hall presidents plan to resurrect the Freshman Block Party Saturday on the Quad that will exclude upperclassmen from free food and games.

New Hampshire jam band Strangefolk will play at the first Freshman Block Party in three years.

All GW students are invited to the Quad for free music, but organizers said only freshmen can ride the carnival rides and eat the Aramark-catered food.

The annual freshman celebration, which has been open to upperclassmen in the past, was canceled in 2000 because of International Monetary Fund and World Bank protests. The following year there were problems with the scheduling office and securing a location, said Jason Mathews, vice president of Madison Hall.

“I like how we were given an entire block, and it empowered us to feel like we could shut down the city as freshman,” said senior Kelechi Nwosu, who attended the Thurston Block Party her freshman year when it was held between 19th and 20th streets outside Thurston Hall. Police closed that block of F Street for the event.

Mathews said the event’s budget is too small to accommodate anyone other than freshmen. Freshmen paid $20 hall dues in the fall that will help fund the event. Amy Shopkorn, programming assistant for freshman services, who advises the planning committee, said the block party will cost $20,000.

Organizers declined to comment on how they will determine students’ class standing, saying they did not want upperclassmen to subvert the system.

“We’re excited because it’s going to provide a great atmosphere,”
Mathews said. “We wanted freshman unity, but the other three classes haven’t had a block party either.”

Two GW bands will join Strangefolk, which plays music comparable to Phish. The afternoon will also include inflatable amusements like a dunk tank, speed pitch, sumo wrestling and a moon bounce. Mathews and sophomore Roman Groysman will host a game show with prizes.

The 2000 block of H Street will be closed to traffic from noon to 4 p.m.
“Block Party 2002 is going to be out of control fun for the freshman class and GW,” Hall on Virginia Avenue President Andy Lowenthal said.

Other sponsors include: Program Board, Student Association, Residence Hall Association and individual freshman hall councils.

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