Corcoran students living in Mitchell Hall look to make their mark

Updated: Sept. 19, 2014 at 12:01 p.m.

The first Corcoran student elected to the Residence Hall Association wants to use his position to make a permanent mark on Mitchell Hall.

Sophomore Patrick Quinn, a fine arts major, transferred to the Corcoran School of Art + Design after one year at his local community college. Now a resident in Mitchell Hall along with 34 other Corcoran students, the new member of the student-led residence hall lobby is looking to ensure the spirit of his community doesn’t disappear in its merger with GW.

“We’re here now. GW has bought us and brought our school in, but it doesn’t mean we’re going to go quietly as some faceless part of the community,” Quinn said. “We’re an active entity. I want the student body to recognize that we have a strong sense of identity and community.”

Corcoran students take up most of the seventh floor of the building. The students, mostly freshmen and sophomores, leave their doors open and linger in groups in the hallways until early morning hours on a regular basis, studying, chatting and playing music.

Resident advisors have hung up a blank poster for the residents to scribble on, and some faces and figures sketched in marker dot the top half. Quinn said the poster is a nice start, but he’d like to create a legacy for Corcoran students living in the hall, whether it’s an art exhibit in the lobby or an event for all students to paint a mural on a blank wall in the building.

“I’d like to see some sort of statement in Mitchell that the Corcoran kids are here so our presence could be known,” Quinn said.

Residence Hall Association President Ari Massefski said a student-painted mural was possible, pointing to the lounge space wall in the basement of Fulbright Hall as an example. Students decorated the wall during the 2004-2005 academic year, covering half of it with hand prints and the other with a likeness of the hall next to GW icons, including a hippo and a floating GWorld.

Before he looks to find a space for art, Quinn said he hopes to first deal with what he called a more pressing issue: mold in students’ vents.

Freshman Darla Cook said she was nauseous for the first few days of school because of the musty smell in her room. Cook has not yet submitted a FixIt request for the issue.

“You pretty much got smacked in the face with a wall of mildew. It’s going in your lungs, so it’s going to cause health issues,” Cook said.

Neighbors have echoed Cook’s complaints, Quinn said, and he plans to follow up with FixIt, which has come to address at least one other student’s concerns about a damp, sunken ceiling.

Students said the single-room community has some drawbacks compared to the building where the Corcoran used to house their students at 2424 Pennsylvania Ave. Last year, students paid $10,900 for an apartment with one or two roommates and wall-to-wall carpeting, a full private bathroom and a kitchen with appliances. Mitchell costs $10,830 a year for communal bathrooms and a bedroom that has a sink.

But residents said there are also advantages to the new location: the 19th Street hall is much closer to their downtown campus, and students who live on GW’s campus went through GW’s freshman orientation in addition to the Corcoran’s.

Freshman Mary Arnold, a fine arts and art education dual major, said her biggest takeaway from CI was GW’s diversity efforts. She said she was apprehensive at first about a liberal arts college absorbing the arts school.

“It’s definitely reassuring to know GW is a much more tolerant and open university compared to many others,” Arnold said. “That’s good coming from an art student perspective, because, confirming the stereotype, most art students are generally more open-minded when it comes to tolerance and co-existence.”

Mitchell’s RHA hall council President Amanda Feldman is one of the four GW students living on the seventh floor, and said she hopes to use her position to encourage GW-Corcoran student connections, with events like a movie night.

For now, Cook said just living in the same building and running into new people in the hall has helped her make friends with GW students.

“We live together and socialize and really get to know each other, not just for the majors we’re here to complete, but the people that we are,” she said.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly referred to resident advisors as “House Staff.” GW changed the title of undergraduate student residence hall supervisors to “resident advisors” this academic year. We regret this error.

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