What’s the deal with… GW’s late start this fall?

Back in early April, junior Ted Lynch and his father bought two plane tickets from St. Louis to D.C. for Saturday, Aug. 26 – the day Lynch planned to move into his new dorm room. Lynch said that when he bought the ticket he didn’t give the date a second thought, since the last Saturday in August had been move-in day since his freshman year.

Lynch should have checked his calendar.

“It’s always been the last Saturday in August,” Lynch said. Too bad his estimate was a full week off of this fall’s Sept. 2 move-in.

“We had to reschedule our flight,” he said.

For the past two academic years, GW’s fall classes began during the week before Labor Day, but University Registrar Elizabeth Amundson said it’s not unusual for the fall semester to start after the holiday that marks the last weekend of the summer season. The last time classes began after Labor Day was in 2003. Classes begin Sept. 5 this year.

Administrators consider a post-Labor Day launch date to be ideal, Amundson said. Beginning the fall semester after the long weekend gives the University extra time to complete any summer renovations to classrooms and residence halls so the campus can be “fully prepared for the arrival of students.”

Amundson added that faculty and students have expressed a preference for a post-Labor Day start. The first day of classes for the next two years is tentatively scheduled for after Labor Day.

GW’s academic calendar is established by a committee chaired by Associate Vice President for Academic Planning Craig Linebaugh and is planned years in advance. It can be seen through Spring 2010 on the Registrar’s office’s Web site.

As a result of this year’s start date, the fall semester will be two days shorter than in 2005 but will end around the same time in December. Thursday and Friday classes will meet only 13 times, as opposed the 14 classes that were held for each day of the week last fall.

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