The week’s best and worst

Each week in The Forum, read Hatchet opinions editors’ takes on what stood out this week at GW and in D.C.

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The Office of Sustainability is drawing up plans to purchase more solar panels, which would provide heat and electricity for University buildings.

GW already uses some solar panels – and so far, they’ve saved the equivalent of energy use in 14 homes in one year. But this large expansion of the program is a reasonable and effective way to continue to pursue sustainable options within the confines of our urban location.

Mountains, trees and farmland surround many schools focusing on eco-friendliness. It might be easier to be a sustainable school if, for example, there’s a farm on campus to harvest organic vegetables to be sold at the cafeteria.

GW’s location in the District certainly puts us at a disadvantage, which is why it’s impressive to see that this year, GW landed in the No. 23 spot on the Sierra Club’s list of environmentally sustainable schools. And the University shows no signs of stopping their progress.

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The statistics are shocking: 3.2 percent of D.C. residents are HIV positive, according to the Centers for Disease Control. And that number only includes the people who are officially diagnosed. To put it in perspective, the epidemic level in the District is higher than some nations in Africa.

That’s why you would think students living in the nation’s capital would make sure they are safe and healthy by getting tested for the disease. But strangely, in the past year, Student Health Service has seen a dramatic 80 percent drop in the number of students who are getting tested – even though the procedure is now offered for free.

Students at GW have no excuse. An HIV test consists of a simple cheek swab, and the whole procedure does not take more than a few minutes. Not to mention that for students, the test is free.

The lack of participation in the clinic could stem from the off-campus location of the Student Health Service. The University should look to bring services like this one closer to campus – something Student Association President Julia Susuni outlined as one of her goals during her campaign.

But regardless of whether the walk to the clinic is five minutes or 15, students living in a high-risk area like the District should show up in droves for this test, not ignore it.


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