Campuses offer alternatives to Foggy Bottom

While most freshmen came to GW to live on the Foggy Bottom campus because of its proximity to the city, a quick shuttle ride can whisk you away to one of GW’s smaller, less hectic campuses in Georgetown or Virginia.

Mount Vernon Campus

The Mount Vernon Campus in Georgetown is the more accessible of the two. Formerly the Mount Vernon College for women, GW took on the 123-year-old school in 1996. The 26-acre campus is situated in a residential suburb and features grassy, wooded hills inside a gated campus.

While the campus housed only women until last year, males will make up about 32 percent of its residents this academic year, said Robert Chernak, associate vice president of Student and Academic Support Services. The male population will double from this year’s 68 students to more than 120 of the almost 450 residents.

The expansion of Somers Hall will allow for the larger population, the refurbished residence hall gained a three-story wing in the spring. Somers will also house a living and learning community for students who wish to travel abroad in their junior or senior years, hosting events and speakers throughout the year about international issues.

The campus has undergone many other changes during the past year as well. The most recent additions include a new athletic complex with NCAA tennis courts, and a soccer/lacrosse field. There is also a seasonal Olympic pool. Beneath the athletic complex is a student parking garage with space to accommodate every Mount Vernon student.

The past year also brought renovations to the Ames Dining Hall, which serves home-like meals every day and a weekend brunch from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The dining hall always offers a salad bar, ice cream, coffee, cold cuts, a cereal bar and a rotating hot meal menu. The lower level of the eating area gained the Mount Vernon Pub, a relaxing gathering place with couches, tables and a big-screen TV, plus the Mount Vernon Provisions market for grocery items.

Classes at Mount Vernon are open to all students, yet are often last picked. The classes are usually no larger than 30 students, compared to the sometimes more than 300 in an introductory class at Foggy Bottom.

The Eckles Library on the Mount Vernon Campus is linked to GW’s Gelman Library and is a good second source for books already checked out of Gelman. It holds more than 63,000 titles, offers study space and free printing. Starting in the fall, students will pay 7 cent per copy to print at Foggy Bottom, but technology at Eckles does not yet allow the library to begin a pay-for-print system.

The Mount Vernon shuttle runs between the two campuses seven days a week from 6 a.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Thursday, 6 a.m.-3 a.m. on Fridays, 8 a.m.-3 a.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m.-2 a.m. Sunday. The shuttle runs from Fulbright Hall to MVC until 5 p.m. and from the GW Hospital Ambulatory Care Center at 22nd and I streets at night. Schedule changes are available at gwired.gwu.edu.

Loudoun County, Virginia Campus

The Virginia Campus is one seldom seen by most GW undergraduates, yet it boasts some of the most interesting research tools of any University in the country. Located in Loudoun County, Va., near Dulles International Airport, the campus is accessible via a 40-minute shuttle. While it offers graduate and research programs, GW plans on moving offices and programs to the campus as it continues to expand.

The campus recently expanded from 50 to 90 acres, with the $27 million purchase of a PSINet building and the surrounding 40 acres in February, about twice the size of the Foggy Bottom campus. The acquisition brought more transportation and bioterrorism research to the sister campus.

The Loudoun Campus opened in 1991 and now houses a 77,000 square-foot research and graduate education complex. The campus offers more than 25 graduate and research programs, primarily in information technology, transportation and biotechnology.

A stroll down the facility’s “Technology Avenue” features cutting-edge research projects such as the National Crash Analysis Center, a driving simulator, an earthquake simulator and a fully wired house co-run by America Online.

In the crash center, the Department of Transportation contracts GW to research technological improvements in cars that can prevent drivers from falling asleep at the wheel, as well as ways to make road signs easier to read. Built in 1992, the lab has a computerized crash simulator in which a team of 314 graduate students compare simulated crash data to actual crash information.

The 10-by-10 foot earthquake simulator is the only shake table on the East Coast and one of the country’s most modern. The year-old structure is part of a partnership with the National Science Foundation. The table can simulate the most severe earthquake recorded in history (a 9.5 on the Richter scale), weighs 4,000 pounds and can hold 36,000 pounds. Its 170-ton foundation extends 30 feet into the ground. The lab also tests the strength of potential structural materials under pressure for U.S. Navy submarine development.

The AOL Home of the 21st Century conducts research to develop a fully wired home of the future. The model home will enable researchers to develop technology that will allow homes to be programmed from computers at a distant location.

Most Virginia students are adults who attend class after work weekdays or on weekends.

The campus will also construct a crash lab to analyze accidents in all modes of transportation. The wreckage from TWA flight 800, which crashed off of Long Island in July 1996, will train National Transportation Safety Board workers once a new academy opens there in 2003.

The Virginia Campus shuttle runs four times a day, departing from the front of Gelman library at 8:30 a.m., noon, 4:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. Monday through Friday. On Fridays there is no 8:15 shuttle. The service is free, and vans can accommodate up to 15 students at a time. Handicapped transportation must be arranged 24 hours in advance.

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