GW announces Colonial Cabinet

The 2005 Colonial Cabinet came together at its annual transition dinner earlier this month to pass the torch to their successors, whose selections were officially announced this week.

Colonial Cabinet 2006 is a diverse group of GW students charged with welcoming and guiding incoming freshmen through the annual Colonial Inauguration orientation this summer. From an initial applicant pool of more than 200 students, 36 have been chosen to make up the 2006 group. This summer’s CI will be the 17th in University history, since the program began in 1990. CI will run from early June to mid-July.

“We look for genuine, honest, mature people who genuinely love GW, genuinely want to help people, and who are comfortable being the face of the school,” said Renee Clement, assistant director of orientation for the Student Activities Center.

The application process to choose each year’s cabinet begins in early October when about 200 applicants undergo group interviews. Clement said there were more applicants this year than in previous years but would not give exact figures.

Colonial Cabinet 2006 organizers said about a third of the students were called back for individual interviews with administrative organizers from SAC in late October. By late November, the University had made their selections for Colonial Cabinet, and in early December the selected students signed on to become members of the 2006 Colonial Cabinet, said sophomore Kevin Hostetler, a member of the 2005 cabinet and one of two student coordinators for Colonial Inauguration 2006.

This year’s 36-member cabinet is evenly divided with 18 males and 18 females; there are eight freshmen, 23 sophomores and five juniors.

“People always think that we have quotas that we have to make,” Hostetler said. “That’s not the case at all.”

The group is a diverse mix of the traditional GW students – about half the cabinet hails from the Northeast, mixed in with students from other parts of the country and different ethnicities and backgrounds.

There are 12 students, a third of the group, representing the non-white minority groups on campus. The admissions office released numbers earlier this school year indicating about 19 percent of the campus population is black, Asian or Hispanic.

This year’s cabinet has members from Montana, Hawaii, New Mexico, Oklahoma and California. For the first time in CI history, the 2006 cabinet has twin brothers, Ketan and Kemal Patel, Clement said.

“When we choose the cabinet, we always want to select a staff that represents as many different characteristics, ethnicities, religions, student involvement, geographic regions, majors, and personalities as possible,” Clement said.

Between now and the start of CI, the new cabinet will spend every Sunday in two-hour training sessions working on skits they will perform during CI and meeting with CI organizers to learn information they give to freshmen, Hostetler said.

Cabinet members have a variety of job perks. Perhaps the most attractive is free housing for the summer months, but others include three CI polo shirts, three pairs of khaki shorts, nametags, a rain jacket and a backpack. Cabinet members also receive prepaid meals during trainings and CI sessions and a stipend of $3,100, Clement said.

“They have to have enough clothes to wear full three days, because they are generally working for 50 of the 58 hours of a CI session, so they don’t really have time to sleep, much less do laundry,” Clement said.

Most CI members said they applied and are happy to participate in the program because of the experiences they had participating in CI when they were freshmen.

“My experience thus far at this University has shown me a lot about who I am and even more about who I want to be,” said junior Josh Lasky, a member of the 2006 cabinet, via e-mail. “I want to prepare incoming students for the most difficult but also most rewarding challenges of their lives.”

“I applied to cabinet because when I was a freshman, I was really intrigued by and impressed with Colonial Inauguration,” said junior Courtney O’Driscoll, a member of the 2004 cabinet.

In addition to the time commitment, cabinet members must sign a contract pledging to remain in good academic and judicial standing with the University, Hostetler said.

In the past two years, three students have been booted from Colonial Cabinet for breaches of contract with the University, Clement said. Two of the students were removed because of an alcohol violation in 2004. In summer 2002, two CI leaders were told to leave because of sexual assault allegations and personal issues, respectively, according to a July 2002 Hatchet article.

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