Keith Osentoski: Getting involved teaches you what happens here

Something happens here.

As those three words are displayed on admission packets and recited during campus visits, you’ve been bombarded with this quintessential GW motto for quite a while. But now that you’re here at Colonial Inauguration – your college experience just weeks from beginning – you are likely left wondering, what exactly is it that happens here?

As GW students, you’ll pursue the answer to that question every day, but the only way to find out what really happens is to get involved on campus from day one.

Now, I didn’t come up with the motto. In fact, if I had any say in the matter, we would be called GDub State – and we would have a football team, too. I am not an authority on what was going on in the minds of the publicity folks who chose those three words to define the University. But what I am confident about is this: the ambiguity of the motto is intended.

There is so much to do here and there are so many unrivaled opportunities that you can’t encompass what it means to be a Colonial in a three-word phrase. Instead, it is completely up to you to make your GW experience yours.

GW is more than just a school in the nation’s capital. Making the best of our unique political and global vantage point is an important part of the GW experience, but the best way to make your first year unforgettable is to take up different activities here on campus.

Before you finalize your plans of subverting the Constitution and getting elected to Congress in 2020, check out the student organization fairs and take this year to really immerse yourself in student life. If you find yourself running between classes and student organization events, and then realize that you’ve barely spent any time in your room, you’re doing something right.

Go Greek and share the best four years of your life with one of over thirty Greek Life chapters on campus. If a social fraternity or sorority isn’t your thing, there are great multicultural and professional Greek organizations to check out, too.

Or join the Colonial Army and show your school pride at every home basketball game this season. Get involved with a political organization and help campaign for the election that’s right around the corner. These are just a few of literally thousands of ways to get involved and make your first year great.

Now, there will be some who advise you to do just the opposite of what I’m suggesting. They’ll encourage you to forget about campus and do whatever you can to build your resume and network in D.C. There is nothing wrong with professional development or taking advantage of the tremendous opportunities the District has. But that’s what makes GW great: here, you can have those opportunities without giving up campus life.

If you make your future career your sole focus, you will miss the tremendous college rites of passage that we only have the chance to experience once. Ask any rising junior and they will tell you this: College goes by far too fast. Your time is about to begin, so revel in these moments and have a lot of fun along the way.

So 2015, we are expecting you to arrive on campus this fall with the same energy that you are leaving with after your time at CI. We are expecting to see you rocking University Yard at Fall Fest or packing the Smith Center at Colonial Invasion and every home basketball game.

And remember, somewhere between the Stitch n’ Bitch club and the underwater hockey team, no matter what your interest may be, you can get involved. Then you will soon find out what happens here and, more importantly, be a part of it.

-The writer is a junior majoring in political communication, a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity and vice president of the Colonial Army.

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