Freshmen attending Colonial Inauguration this summer will get their first taste of GW dorm life and possibly decide to change their housing preferences.
The University offers incoming freshmen the opportunity to change which dorm they would like to spend their first year in after orientation to give them a chance to look at all options and meet potential roommates.Incoming students have until July 10 to modify their housing preferences.
“Students are given until the end of Colonial Inauguration sessions to alter their application because we want freshmen to be informed about their housing choices when making decisions,” said Seth Weinshel, director of Campus Housing and Occupancy Management.
Freshman dorm life at GW is one of an upperclassman’s most memorable experiences, some students said. Most freshmen live in Thurston Hall and the Hall on Virginia Avenue.
Weinshel said that while freshman housing preferences vary year to year, Thurston, HOVA and Somers Hall on the Mount Vernon Campus have been the most popular among new students in the past few years.
“The advantage of living within such a dynamic campus as … George Washington is the variety of preferences and lifestyles that can be accommodated within the residence halls,” he said.
Approximately 1,100 freshmen call Thurston home each year, occupying arrangements ranging from doubles to six-person rooms. Being the largest and an all-freshman dorm, Thurston is considered an all-hours social center.
“Thurston – dirty, loud, fun though,” said junior John Shortino, referring to his freshman experience. “(But), I mean, have you been to Penn State? Those dorms can fit in my closet from (freshman) year.”
GW dorms are considered one of the nicest in the country, ranking in the top-10 on an America Online poll a few years ago.
HOVA, the former Howard Johnson hotel from which the famous Watergate break in was partly orchestrated, houses freshmen in doubles and triples.
“HOVA was great. Our floor was like a family,” senior Brett Hollenbeck said. “It was a bit of a walk (to campus) but the rooms were nice, it had a pool, and it had a sweet chandelier in the lobby.”
Somers Hall, the largest residence hall on the Mount Vernon Campus, offers suite-style rooms and houses groups such as the Women’s Leadership Program, honors students and others who opt to live outside downtown D.C.
“It’s definitely different,” said senior Danica Kane, who lived on the Mount Vernon Campus her freshman year. “Thurston was better, obviously, but we still made (our friends) take the shuttle to visit us all the time.”
While students may have their favorite freshman residence hall, Weinshel said one is no better than the other and all have positive amenities.
Two other housing options that attract less of a following on the Foggy Bottom campus are Fulbright Hall, which offers kitchens in each room, and Lafayette Hall, which has small floors and a quiet environment fit for studying. Mitchell Hall also offers single rooms, but residents use communal bathrooms.
Freshmen may also choose from Strong Hall, an all-female dorm in Foggy Bottom, and Clark, Cole, Hensley, Merriweather and Pelham halls on Mount Vernon.
“The freshman housing process this year includes an unprecedented number of choices for incoming students and greater flexibility than ever before,” Weinshel said.
Housing assignments will be released July 18. n
-Amanda Hess contributed to this report.
This article appeared in the June 15, 2005 issue of the Hatchet.