University President Steven Knapp stressed during the Freshman Convocation Monday that the class of 2012 should have an active role in the nation’s capital and participate in environmentally friendly activities.
Members of the incoming freshman class filled almost every seat in the Smith Center and were welcomed by 35 administrators, deans and professors at the annual ceremony.
“You are entering a historic institution and you are doing so at an extraordinary moment in history,” Knapp said.
“Whichever party wins, the next president of the United States will be moving into a house three blocks from the eastern edge of our Foggy Bottom campus,” he added.
Knapp said the freshmen should not only take their “front row seat at the theater of history,” but also participate as players in the events of the city.
Sustainability was another major theme in Knapp’s speech.
The University’s top official, who is entering his second school year, said he focused on improving green activities on campus last year and he hopes that the University will be able to equip students “with the tools to make them leaders in addressing one of the most urgent issues of our generation.”
Donald Lehman, executive vice president of academic affairs, told the new students that academics prepare students for “full and purposeful lives.”
The freshmen were seated by residence hall and wore brightly colored T-shirts which listed their residence hall and theme house on the back. As convocation came to a close, each section of freshmen was asked to stand up and cheer.
The public policy house at Thurston Hall shouted the loudest, University Marshal Jill Kasle told the crowd.
Malaika Benjamin, a freshman, said she enjoyed the some of the event’s new features.
“I really liked the ending where all of the houses stood up,” Benjamin said. “It was really cool and I liked the color idea.”
Freshman Sikemi Epemolu said she got a lot from the convocation event and is now even more excited to begin her years on Foggy Bottom.
“I learned we have a lot of opportunities at GW,” Epemolu said. “I liked singing the school song because I knew it and I felt a lot of school spirit.”