When almost 2,000 undergraduate seniors participate in Commencement on the National Mall Sunday they will leave behind their years at GW, but many will not be forgotten. The Hatchet spoke with faculty, staff and students to find 10 seniors who have made a lasting impression during their undergraduate years.
Maggie Desmond knows it sounds like a bad cliché, but after seeing Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” she realized there were so many ways she could improve our environment.
But the Wisconsin native didn’t just become a vegetarian, change her light bulbs and increase her recycling habits – she also started Green GW in 2006 to get others involved.
At first it was just an e-mail, encouraging friends to change their habits, but then it grew to be much more.
“(There was a) large amount of interest and a large amount of dedicated people,” she said about the student organization’s takeoff.
As a school in the nation’s capital, GW has an extra responsibility to be eco-friendly, Desmond said. The graduating senior now lives in a Green GW scholar’s house – equipped with an energy efficient toilet system, house bikes for transportation and posters on the wall telling visitors how they can help improve the environment.
“I feel like I live in a museum,” she said.
Desmond has been actively examining GW’s green efforts this year as a member of University President Steven Knapp’s task force on sustainability. She is one of two other students on the board, which will present its findings next month.
Though Desmond has also been a member of Colonial Cabinet, the women’s crew team and the ultimate frisbee team, she has reached out to communities beyond the GW campus as an international affairs major.
A student of the Chinese language, last summer Desmond took her skills to a rural province where she taught children English.
“It was really cool to be in front of kids,” she said.
Next year, Desmond will be working for Teach for America in Hawaii, a national initiative to bring recent college graduates into inner city classrooms. Desmond said she requested Hawaii on a whim, but is excited to spend the next two years there making a difference and giving back.
This article appeared in the May 12, 2008 issue of the Hatchet.