Column: Live on “The Vern”

We all appreciate The Hatchet’s continuing coverage of this year’s housing selection process and the expanding set of opportunities for upperclassmen. Although we understand the excitement of Ivory Tower’s opening this fall, we want to be sure that rising sophomores in Sunday’s lottery understand the benefits of choosing a Mount Vernon residence hall and the growing sense of community we intend to build on our Foxhall Road campus.

Although we began the year with a “Freshman Concept” at Mount Vernon, our staff quickly came to understand that freshmen need role models and upperclassman leaders. We’re trying to build on this campus a microcosm of GW: Honors students, Greeks, athletes and perhaps even a few graduate students will fill the Mount Vernon Campus next year, along with the services necessary to support this vibrant campus community. A senior who lives on the Mount Vernon Campus wrote to me in the fall:

“It is common for upperclassmen to move off campus. If these students are willing to sublet in Columbia Heights or in Arlington, Crystal City and Rosslyn, Va., requiring a daily commute and some inconvenience, who is to say the free shuttle to Mount Vernon, the inexpensive parking privileges, the self-contained, accessible amenities on this campus and the beauty of remaining in the GW community would be not be more desirable for some? This option should be offered to upperclassmen and promoted as the beautifully improved campus that I find it to be.”

The strong sense of community, the ability to pre-select Mount Vernon courses, parking rates $1,000 less per year than those in Foggy Bottom and our expanding efforts to bring all aspects of campus programming to Foxhall Road all seem to make the Mount Vernon Campus an increasingly popular choice. Furthermore, the senior noted above points out that:

“The campus is fully coed, the gym is open more frequently than the Health and Wellness Center, the Pub & Grill hosts a Coffeehouse Series with bands and free food and events are more common and welcome on the Mount Vernon Campus. The athletic field is home to weekend games and weekday practices. The Eckles Library displays a human rights artwork exhibit and shows movies on a regular basis. I have just recently discovered the second-floor study lounge in Eckles, with a self-service coffee machine for only a quarter per cup, and sleep-worthy couches!”

As you can see, the “best-kept secret of GW” is no longer a secret, and for good reason. Looking forward, as our 11 tennis courts come back online next year, as the Honors program returns, as organized recreational opportunities are created, and the Hand Chapel becomes the University-wide center for student theater, we have every reason to believe that resident students at “The Vern” will have a fabulous experience.

I urge all rising sophomores to consider all campus residential options as they select their homes for 2004-05. Furthermore, I personally invite any interested member of the GW community, especially rising sophomores, to take advantage of the round-the-clock Foggy Bottom-Mount Vernon Shuttle by visiting campus in the coming days to see for themselves all that living on Foxhall Road has to offer.

The writer is dean of freshmen.

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