On exit, seniors relive years as ‘Vernies’

Graduating seniors who lived on the Mount Vernon Campus freshman year boarded the Vern Express Tuesday to rekindle old friendships and say goodbye to the campus they once called home.

In a room furnished with portraits of former presidents of the Mount Vernon College for Women, the school GW acquired in 1996, students reminisced about their days on the campus situated a few miles away from the bustle of Foggy Bottom.

The event – which attracted a steady crowd of about 40 people – has been held annually for nearly 10 years, associate director of Mount Vernon Campus Life Jennifer Solt said.

Shelley Heller, associate provost of the Mount Vernon Campus, said living on the Vern is an irreplaceable experience.

“I think the whole point is that you could not do this in Thurston,” Heller said. “There is something about having lived together on Mount Vernon. It just really speaks to the uniqueness of the campus.”

Associate Vice President and Chief of Administration Fred Siegel, who formerly served as the dean of freshmen and administrator on the campus, said students will one day return to the Vern and find it has physically transformed.

“The more things change, the more things stay the same,” Siegel said, referring to construction projects that might remodel campus buildings. “But the sense of community will be the same.”

Students mingled among their former housemates while enjoying free food provided by Mount Vernon Campus Life.

Amanda Nazio, who lived in Somers Hall, said returning as a senior offered her an opportunity to relive her memories from freshman year and “come full circle.”

“We’re Vernies,” she said. “I think it creates more of a sense of community.”

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