More than 100 members of the GW community gathered on the Mount Vernon Campus quad to honor service award recipients at the Office of Community Service Celebration of Service.
The barbeque and awards ceremony was the culmination of the Michelle Obama Service Challenge, recognizing members of the GW community who received President Obama’s Volunteer Service Award for the completion of 100 service hours throughout the course of the year. Nearly 390 students, faculty and staff completed enough service hours to receive the award.
“I never doubted that we’d make it,” University President Steven Knapp told the crowd. “But I have to say that I was surprised that we did it a full month early, and that we continue to accumulate hours ever since then.”
The event also recognized winners of the Office of Community Service Excellence in Service Awards.
Former Student Association President Julie Bindelglass addressed the crowd, praising the accomplishments of those who have served the GW and D.C. community.
“Over the past several months, we have accomplished an incredible goal set forth for us by First Lady, Michelle Obama,” Bindelglass said. “We have achieved over 100,000 hours of community service, and it just keeps coming.”
Current SA President Jason Lifton said the service challenge was a learning experience for the GW community.
“This challenge was a great opportunity for our community to learn from each other,” Lifton said. “You have shown us what it means to be true leaders.”
One student who received Obama’s Service Award said the tracking of service hours and recognition as part of the Obama service challenge was long overdue.
“I think that GW is finally trying to recognize all of its service,” said junior Liz Waltz, who logged 186 service hours this year. “There was never any doubt that we would be able to complete the challenge, and we came pretty close last year, but none of it was ever logged.”
Knapp said the challenge was only the beginning of the building of a culture of service at GW, and that there will be even more ways in the future for students, faculty, and staff to volunteer.
“This is part of our blood, it’s part of our DNA,” Knapp said. “It’s going to be something we are forever committed to and we will find plenty of opportunities next year to continue the George Washington University’s great tradition of service.”