Officials plan contest to promote class bonding

The University plans to launch a school-wide competition this fall to encourage class bonding and community building, officials said this week.

The program, dubbed GW Olympathon, is being developed by members of Student and Academic Support Services to encourage students to attend campus events and programming.

Senior administrators from SASS said most of the specifics still need to be determined, such as whether competing teams will be split by class year or include a mix of upper and underclassmen. They said groups would likely earn points by becoming involved in student activities, attending events and showing school spirit.

Robert Chernak, senior vice president for SASS, said they hope it will bring more community spirit to GW and increase socialization by mixing freshmen with upperclassmen in a competitive setting.

“(Olympathon) will try and achieve some of the same goals as other freshman programs, except that instead of being a one hit wonder like (Colonial Inauguration), it will last throughout a student’s time at GW,” Chernak said.

Peter Konwerski, assistant vice president for SASS, said GW does not do enough to build class affinity and several new initiatives including Olympathon will help improve those bonds.

“(Olympathon) is a way to build school spirit, tradition and class identity,” he said.

Another proposed aspect of the program will be to combine smaller student organization events into larger gatherings, Konwerski said. He said if several organizations were planning on having barbecues in Kogan Plaza to raise money or awareness, they could combine it into a larger event which would be part of the Olympathon.

“Olympathon might be a vehicle to promote student events,” Konwerski said.

Student Association President Vishal Aswani said he and his staff had thought of a similar program, called “School Rush,” to get students to embrace student life throughout their four years. But after meeting with University officials they realized the programs would overlap.

“This school has so much potential to take advantage of the resources we have, integrating some kind of way for students to have fun and realize the lack of limits there are to their experience,” said Aswani, a junior. “That’s what really is the great thing about this type of programming.”

Aswani added that he and SA Executive Vice President Kyle Boyer both feel Olympathon can go a long way to help student life and pledged to work with administrators to see that the program is implemented next year.

Konwerski said collaboration between students and administrators is necessary over the summer if the Olympathon is to launch in the fall.

“We need to continue to build this in partnership with students and staff, to really see if it is feasible,” he said. “We want this to be a positive event for the entire University.”

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