Incoming freshmen may not remember how to find the Marvin Center by the time school starts on Aug. 31, but the performances, advice, and inescapable cheeriness Colonial Cabinet members give at Colonial Inauguration are often unforgettable.
There is no typical day for a Colonial Cabinet member, but each day is long; members must sometimes be up by 6 a.m., and activities can last until 3 a.m. Before CI orientations begin, cabinet members spend hours practicing elaborate skits and dance routines and reach out to new students and parents with e-mails and phone calls.
Once students arrive, cabinet members spend most of their days with students, relentlessly cheering and singing the GW Fight Song, going on midnight ice cream trips and monument tours, and giving advice in small-group discussions.
“[Cabinet members] will participate in many events during CI .they will introduce themselves to the incoming class, dance and sing, participate in student or parent skits, conduct small groups, and take students out into the city,” said Jen Sansone, one of the directors of Colonial Inauguration Headquarters.
Cabinet members undergo a competitive and rigorous multi-step application process and extensive training for months before part of the freshman class has even received tance letters.
Students interested in applying to Colonial Cabinet submit written applications after attending an information session. All applicants are interviewed in groups, and some are selected for individual interviews by CIHQ staff. Final decisions are announced shortly before Thanksgiving break.
To prepare for the multi-faceted role of a Colonial Cabinet member, students begin training in January and continue into May. For their hours of preparation and work at during CI, cabinet members receive stipends of $3,100.
“A typical day for me is lengthy and intensive, but at the same time also very exciting and rewarding,” said cabinet member Matt Carlson.
Carlson said his fellow Cabinet members and his love for GW get him through the long hours. The entire cabinet is required to live together in the summer. This year, they reside at 2109 F Street.
“Even when our work day ends, we all go back to our residence hall and continue to bond and interact with each other,” Carlson said.
He noted that usual daily activities include listening to lectures from various University departments about their role for the students, memorizing and running lines for skits, and rehearsing the opening dance.
“What also keeps me going is the fact that everything we do is for the incoming freshman class of 2013. I remember how incredible my CI experience was and how much it energized me even more about coming here in the fall,” Carlson said. “I receive so much support from my fellow Cabinet members and I love GW so much. I am beyond thrilled to be able to help welcome new students and show them what is in store for them here at The George Washington University.”
This article appeared in the June 11, 2009 issue of the Hatchet.