CI Guide: A look at student life

These 10 student organizations represent some of the biggest and best of student life at GW. Some of these organizations have been nationally recognized, others have won awards from GW, others boast some of the largest memberships and others are visible because they just plain make a scene on campus. While there are more than 400 student organizations at GW, here are 10 to watch out for.

The GW College Republicans are the best CR chapter in the nation, according to the College Republican National Committee.

The GW CRs beat out CR chapters from colleges and universities around the nation when its parent organization named them the “best of the year.” Maybe it’s the location.

By paying the $5 dues to join the CRs, members are given information about special internship opportunities, including at the White House and on Capitol Hill.

In the past year, the group hosted Virginia Senator George Allen, Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, former Vice-Presidential nominee Jack Kemp, and conservative activist and author Ann Coulter for speaking engagements on campus.

The GW College Democrats invites political speakers and organizes social events for its members. Among other activities, the CDs campaign on behalf of democratic candidates and engage in community service.

Last year, the $5 dues payment gave members access to speeches by Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, New Jersey Congressman Rush Holt and Capitol Steps member William Strauss. The group campaigned in Virginia for recently elected Governor Tim Kaine, rallied for minimum wage increase with North Carolina Senator and former vice presidential candidate John Edwards and Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy, and hosted a progressive organization panel on the future of the Supreme Court.

For freshmen, the CDs will host a “Freshman Welcome” Washington Nationals baseball game in the fall, a freshman debate and the opportunity to run for an officer position.

The Jewish Student Association, located at Hillel, provides programming for nearly 1,000 students at GW. Programs range from seminars on Israel to Jewish holiday celebrations. The organization also holds several social activities each semester including barbeques and brunches.

JSA offers several special opportunities for freshmen including “FreshFest,” an orientation program for 50 freshmen, and a committee of freshmen that plans events and activities for other Jewish freshmen.

The Muslim Students’ Association offers religious and social activities for Muslim students at GW.

The association holds Friday prayer on a weekly basis, and during the month of Ramadan, the MSA has free iftars and a Taraweeh service in which the Quran is read in its entirety. There is no fee for joining and non-Muslim students are welcomed as honorary members.

Last year, the organization held a “Rhythms for Peace” concert where they raised thousands of dollars to aid the victims of the earthquake that struck Pakistan last October.

For freshmen, MSA has a Big Brother/Big Sister program that helps freshman students adjust to life at college and in D.C.

The Newman Catholic Student Center is open to all students, but is there to serve “the spiritual and social needs of Catholics on the GW campus.”

Each week, the Newman Center offers several activities, including daily mass and a Bible study. There is no fee to join the Newman Center, but optional donations are collected at mass to fund the group’s activities.

During the past year, the Newman Center traveled to South Carolina to help in construction projects for low-income families and held a pilgrimage to Maryland. From September 29 to October 1, the Newman Center will have a retreat for freshmen to familiarize them with the community.

The Philippine Cultural Society holds monthly meetings to educate its roughly 150 members about Filipino culture, politics and history through activities and events.

The society won the annual Spotlight Excellence Award last year from the Student Activities Center.

Joining is free, but by paying $5 at the beginning of the year, students can receive discounted ticket prices to PCS events. Last year, the PCS hosted a national conference for other PCS chapters across the East coast.

At the start of the school year, the society holds a “Freshman Night Out” to introduce freshmen to GW and Washington.

The Colonial Army and its nearly 1,000 members promotes school spirit on campus.

Members of Colonial Army are able to enter home basketball games early in order to receive prime seating in the student section. The Army also offers “first access” to bus and ticket packages for select away games.

Last year, new members paid $15 to join and returning members paid $10. All members received a t-shirt and a wrist-band to wear to games. The Army is a past winner of GW’s Pyramid Award for Excellence, GW’s award for student organization of the year which three organizations win annually.

Allied in Pride meets weekly to provide a “supportive and social, as well as a political and educational presence on campus” for about 300 gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and heterosexual students.

The organization is new this year and is a combination of the Out Crowd and GW Pride, two similar organizations that last year decided to become one. This year Allied in Pride plans to sponsor

Global Languages offers 55 free classes in more than 38 languages every week during the fall and spring semesters for its members at GW.

The organization also holds cultural activities like weekly embassy visits, foreign film showings and lectures. Last year, Global Languages held open-air markets in Kogan Plaza and invited individuals like U.S. Assistant Secretary of State John O’Keefe and Iouri Bairatchnyi, director of language and culture training at the World Bank, to speak on campus.

Formed two years ago, Global Languages was nominated for four excellence awards last year and won two, including the Pyramid Award for Excellence as one of the student organizations of the year and the Walter G. Bryte Achievement Award.

GW Students Taking Action Now: Darfur protests the ongoing genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan by pushing the University administration to divest from companies that do business in Sudan, among other activities.

Last year, STAND hosted speakers like Adriaan Kooijmans, the Netherlands’ Ambassador to Sudan, and other events such as lobby days, rallies, concerts and parties at local clubs to raise money to benefit a school in Darfur.

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