Free newspapers, Colonial Invasion likely to return

Free newspapers in residence halls and a basketball pep event are likely to return next year after the University axed them due to budget cuts in September, a University official said.

GW Reads and Colonials Invasion are a “high priority” next year, said Robert Chernak, senior vice president for Student and Academic Support Services.

SASS will make a final decision on the reinstatement of the programs within the next two weeks and if restored, the programs will be funded through the department’s budget, Chernak said.

“There is much more than a better chance that we will be able to implement these programs,” Chernak said. “I would stipulate that it is something we will do.”

He said when the programs were cut earlier this year, administrators were aware of student dissent. As Student Association members continued to lobby officials throughout the year, administrators made plans to bring the programs back.

The GW Reads newspaper program made copies of The New York Times, USA Today and The Washington Post available in residence halls for free. Colonials Invasion is a pre-season event in which men’s and women’s basketball players and coaches are introduced in a pep rally. Both programs were cut last year due to a $900,000 cut in the SASS budget.

The announcement of the likely reinstatement comes as administrators said they expect University-wide cuts will not be as drastic next year as they were last year.

SA President-elect Nicole Capp said the move shows administrators understand the importance of student life on campus.

“I think they realize how huge of a role student events play,” Capp, a sophomore, said. “Student life has to be on the top of their list. Money needs to go there.”

The cancellation of the GW Reads and Colonials Invasion programs saved SASS a total of $97,000, Johnnie Osborne, associate vice president and chief financial officer for SASS, told The Hatchet in September.

Chernak said that his department allocated about $100,000 for the two programs next year. SASS will need to readjust its funding for other services, Chernak said.

“It is doable,” Chernak said. “We will try to be as accommodating as we can.”

Instead of Colonials Invasion this fall, the University sponsored “Spirit of the Night,” which cost GW $10,000. Although next year’s Colonials Invasion will be a larger spirit event than this year’s “Spirit of the Night,” Capp said next year’s celebration may not be as extravagant as in years past.

She said the SA is working to honor all GW athletes and include other student organizations such as Program Board and Residence Hall Association at the event.

“We are not pushing for a huge Colonials Invasion – not a huge ‘bang-out’ – but we wanted to bring the program back,” Capp said. “Since it is coming back, we can make it better for students and get more people involved.”

In their efforts to bring back the GW Reads program, Capp said the SA is working with administrators to make school-specific publications free to students, such as The Wall Street Journal for School of Business students.

“It is something fun and nice to have,” Capp said. “If people want to read about world politics or business, they should be privy to it.”

Brand Kroeger, the SA executive vice president-elect, made reinstating the programs a campaign pillar last month and said the implementation of them would work to improve the reputation of the SA.

“This will put a renewed faith in the SA,” Kroeger, a sophomore, said. “Results are what is going to bring faith back.”

Despite accomplishing two major campaign initiatives, Kroeger said this is only the beginning of things to come for the SA next year.

“We are not going to stop here,” Kroeger said. “This is a very small step and it gives us more time to achieve more things for students.”

-Brandon Butler contributed to this report.

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