Revamped DC Bound program will emphasize leadership

Media Credit: Alyssa Bogosian | Hatchet Photographer

When students visit the Lincoln Memorial during DC Bound this summer, they'll be encouraged to think about more than just their Instagram account. Officials are trying to make the program more focused on leadership skills this year.

Updated: March 7, 2016 at 8:39 a.m.

An iconic summer program for freshmen is getting a facelift this year.

DC Bound, a program for freshmen to explore D.C. and meet each other before school starts, will now focus on teaching incoming students leadership skills while still showing them tourist attractions.

Associate Dean of Students Tim Miller, who created the original version of the program about a decade ago, said the changes will bring it in line with GW’s strategic plan.

“We’re probably still going to go to the Lincoln, but instead of just, ‘Hey, isn’t this view great?’ we might talk about Abraham Lincoln for a couple of minutes while we’re on the steps,” Miller said.

He said the changes will not be extreme, and are just the latest adjustments to the program. He said officials in the Center for Student Engagement will work with former guides over the summer to make the changes.

“If we keep doing the same program every year, then I think we’re not adjusting to our students and not adjusting to their needs,” he said.

The Colonial Inauguration website now advertises a program called Leadership Exploration and Development GW instead of DC Bound, and describes LEAD GW as a program designed to help students start their journey as leaders at GW.

“During the three days before move-in you will have deep conversations, practice your leadership skills and explore D.C.’s history in civic leadership with current GW students as your guides,” the website said.

Miller added that it’s important that some fun aspects of the program still exist, like learning how to use the Metro and visiting museums. Now, he and past guides are finding ways to work leadership elements into the activities that already make up the program.

“You can’t sort of shove crazy leadership stuff down their throat on day one,” Miller said. “It’s more about showing them their leadership potential, what they’ll be able to accomplish here and then after they graduate.”

The DC Bound program is led by returning students and currently takes place over three days before school starts. Leaders accompany students to multiple optional destinations, such as the National Portrait Gallery and the National Mall.

Caroline Anapol, a former DC Bound leader, said a larger, more comprehensive program would benefit students. She said that combining elements of CI and DC Bound into one program would help students become oriented with both campus and the city more effectively.

Anapol also said the extra costs required to attend DC Bound can deter students from attending. In past years, the program has cost about $200. The website does not yet list the price of LEAD GW.

“DC Bound is not an all-inclusive program,” she said. “You have to pay an extra amount, meaning only a very small percentage of the freshman class attend.”

Jordan Mullaney, a freshman who participated in DC Bound last summer said the program shouldn’t focus on topics already covered at CI.

“Most of what we learned at DC Bound had already been taught at CI,” Mullaney said. “Our time and money would have been better spent with a heavier emphasis on hands-on city life and building relationships.”

Jacqueline Thomsen and Jeanine Marie contributed reporting.

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