Most freshmen are enthusiastic about coming to college. Emily Brooks has taken the excitement to an entirely new level.
A week into classes, Brooks, a small but largely ambitious 18-year-old blonde-haired Tennessean, has already organized dinners for her classmates during Colonial Inauguration, declared her ambitions to run for a freshman non-voting seat in the Student Association Senate and considers more than 600 other students her friends on the social Web site Facebook.
Brooks’ status as a leader of the class of 2010 began well before her first college class did. In high school, Brooks lobbied her county commission for a property tax increase to get more funding for education.
“I have a concern for what is going on in my life and a desire to affect change when it’s needed,” Brooks said.
Prior to the start of the fourth Colonial Inauguration, after Brooks had already attended the first two orientation sessions, Brooks organized a dinner party after she noticed students were traveling into the District the night before the orientation and had no organized event.
Brooks hosted about 50 students at the Thai Place restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue, most of whom had heard of the event through Brooks’ postings on Facebook.
“It was amazing,” said the prospective political science and women’s studies major. “It was a great opportunity to meet people the night before CI started.”
She decided to attend GW over Wellesley College because of the many opportunities the nation’s capitol gives her.
“I was impressed by how many options I would have to work in both campus life and politics,” she said about coming to GW.
Brooks has already taken advantage of many of those opportunities, taking an internship with Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-Tenn.) and joining the College Democrats. She is unfazed by her vast extracurricular schedule, explaining, “I’m always busy, and that’s truly the way I like it.”
Brooks is a prime example of what a GW program created last year is attempting to accomplish – get students involved at GW.
Former SA President Audai Shakour and his chief of staff junior Gina Fernandez started the House of Freshmen program, which strives to provide a venue for students to become more involved in student life.
“I’m just helping out,” Brooks said.
The program’s coordinator, junior Nick D’Addario, said her help has been invaluable.
“She’s been doing far more than I could have asked for,” said D’Addario, who is also the interim vice president of undergraduate student policy in the SA.
“We want to get everyone involved in GW,” said SA President Lamar Thorpe, a senior.
He added that he is pleased to see such an eager young freshman.
“Someone is going to have to replace myself, Nick (D’Addario) and the whole Senate one day,” Thorpe said.
Most students are not as involved as Brooks – at least not yet.
Brooks said she plans to apply to be a freshman non-voting Senator, then, in an ideal world, after attending Yale Law School, she would like to run for political office.
“I plan to get involved in both political and pro bono humanitarian work,” Brooks said.
First, she still has four years of college to complete in Foggy Bottom.
“I’m absolutely in love (with GW),” she said. “I feel like it’s where I was destined to be.”