Setting their sites

It used to be that students wanting to spread the word about something had to use a corkboard and a thumbtack. Swap those out for an Internet browser and a URL, and you’ve got a world in which students can ignite a flame with the flicker of a loading Web page. Now more than ever, GW students are choosing to relay their messages through blogs, Internet-based businesses and online publications. The Hatchet has highlighted four such ventures and how they use the World Wide Web to reach the GW community and beyond.

Sua Sponte,

When it comes to the legal blog he co-writes with six GW Law School classmates, Hamilton Fish says it is simply an enjoyable pet project to work on during the “very little time [they have] for leisure activities.”

The blog’s name is Latin for “of one’s own accord” and gears to attract other law students and professionals with relevant links, essays, rants, and class-related discussions. Since going live in January 2008, Fish estimates that Sua Sponte gets “500 to 600 hits a day, depending on how prolific we are with posting.”

The blog also serves as a popular forum for GW Law School-related debate. Fish said that earlier this year it became a “hotbed of posting and commenting activity,” after annual law school rankings were released.

Foggy Bottom Books,

Inspiration for this student-run online bookstore came from co-founders Thomas Colbert, Gabe Yessin, and Sibel Mufti’s realization that many GW students are apprehensive about purchasing textbooks from online sellers.

“[We] felt that there was a need for a reliable company here on campus that is less expensive than the GW bookstore, as well as more convenient and hassle-free,” said Colbert.

Having opened for business on Aug. 7, Foggy Bottom Books is slowly gaining momentum with a small clientele base of GW students, and offers textbooks in all academic disciplines, including survey and upper-level classes. The ordering process takes just one week and concludes with a personal delivery to the student’s residence hall. As the business grows, Colbert hopes to shorten the wait time to just 48 hours and expand the service to other campuses.

The Politicizer,

With an ideologically diverse range of coverage, The Politicizer explores current affairs from the point of view of young, politically active Americans. Launched in May 2009, it is the brainchild of editor-in-chief and GW sophomore Conor Rogers.

“This is about re-framing the conversation and giving our generation its own soapbox to speak from,” Rogers said in an e-mail.

In addition to Rogers, six of The Politicizer’s 16 writers and editors are GW students who update the site daily with stories that often fuel debate among readers.

“We’re looking to spark a new conversation about what it means to be young and political,” Rogers said.

Eat the District,

Eat the District stirs up all the ingredients that go into a pleasurable dining experience: the venue, the service and, of course, the flavors. When senior Scott Underwood created the blog in February 2009, he hoped that students and young professionals could look to it for fresh dining options.

“I love to eat, love to find new restaurants, and just wanted a nice forum to share my experiences,” he said.

Along with two other GW students, Underwood profiles his favorite haunts as well as newer venues he discovers along the way. The team makes a point of introducing students to convenient options off campus.

In addition to its regular reviews, Eat the District produces special series on topics like coffee shops and cigars.

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