Class of 2012, I hate to break it to you, but you will never get to witness one of GW’s legendary laser light shows. My only concrete memory of Colonial Inauguration’s infamous headlining performance is the image of a cartoon hippo dancing around the words “George Washington University.” Still, as you will soon find out from upperclassmen, sitting through the five minute long show would have given you license to complain about any shortcomings of the University for the next four years, especially once you found out it cost about $70,000 a year.
It more than makes sense to get rid of this extravagance and administrators should be commended on finally seeing the light (pun intended). Still, a small part of me is a little sad to see one of the few defining GW experiences go.
We go to school in a vibrant, fast-paced city, and the average GW student has to schedule sleep in their Blackberry between classes, jobs, internships, homework, way too many extracurriculars and actually having a life. As much as Program Board, the Student Association, Class Council, Student and Academic Support Services and a myriad of other organizations try, it is very hard to make any event a staple at a school where the student body is always going 300 miles an hour.
Where other universities have homecoming games and spirit wars, GW students have spirited election debates. But admit it, that’s part of the reason you came here. Looking back on your four years here, your scrapbook will probably be very different from your friends who opted for large state schools.
This is not to say that you are missing out, however. Many non-urban schools find themselves geographically isolated and forced to create a world of their own. We, on the other hand, get to belong to the larger community that is Washington D.C. And unlike GW, the District sure does love its traditions.
For Halloween, the embassies on Embassy Row open their doors to trick-or-treaters (don’t worry, you’re not too old), while Dupont holds its annual Drag Race where cross dressing participants sprint down 17th street in high heels. In December, thousands make their way down Pennsylvania Ave. to see the National Christmas Tree and Menorah. There are few school fairs that can compete with the Cherry Blossom festival that comes around each spring. Also, if you decide to spend a summer in the District, nothing beats Fourth of July in the nation’s capital. And I don’t even have to mention the excitement of election season that each graduating class will get to experience at some point in its GW career.
The trick is to learn to take advantage of all of these events starting with freshman year, so that you don’t end up graduating without that coveted set of college memories. Take part in whatever school activities and fairs that appeal to you, but never forget that while you can call Foggy Bottom or Mount Vernon home, you are also a D.C. resident.
The writer, a junior majoring in psychology, is a Hatchet contributing opinions editor.
This article appeared in the June 13, 2008 issue of the Hatchet.