Wednesday, April 30, 2008

RIAA Targets GW Students' Family Money with 123 Copyright Infringement Notices in a Week

GW normally receives a trickle of copyright infringement notices from the RIAA. But last week the school received 123 individual notices of songs and movies illegally downloaded, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported.

This comes on the heels of a subpeona earlier this school year of names of 19 students accused of copyright infringement. One of them spoke to The Hatchet about it.

Spikes in notices are happening across the country, but aren't matched by an actual increase in file sharing. Wired got it wrong when they posted that the RIAA was targeting Midwestern universities.

Instead, the RIAA is targeting the rich ones.

Why go after GW students? Is it really because we download more illegal music and movies than other schools? More likely it's this simple: students' families are most likely to have the money to settle outside of court.

It's costly for the RIAA to go through the court system and actually prosecute individuals for violations. With the average family income of GW students over $100,000, my hunch is the RIAA bets that families of GW students are more willing and able to fork over the dough to keep their children out of the legal system.

Lawyer's fees are expensive for the RIAA. If they can get a $3,000-$5,000 settlement for the investment of a postage stamp, that's a pretty damn good ROI.

Other schools mentioned as having increased spikes - Indiana University, University of Cincinnati, and University of Wisconsin-Madison - all have average family incomes over $100,000, as well. I doubt that's a coincidence.

Of all the school's named in various reports around the 'net, it's interesting to note that the most expensive university in the U.S., GW, has seen the greatest deluge of notices. Other schools only had increases in the teens.

Yet while the students' families may have, on average, more money to spend, processing all of these notices is taxing on the university. If the number of notices continues to rise, it will add hours of additional work each week for employees. Scott A. McVey, associate director of system and network support, said:
"When we're dealing with a hundred of these notices, it's a big hit."
As if we all needed another reason to hate the RIAA.

My suggestion? Download Coldplay's latest song. It's free, legal, and awesome.

The most challenging part of GW's acceptance process...

So recently, I had to fill out all my forms to officially switch from GW Employee to GW Student.  I'll admit, I'm totally stoked about taking classes at GW.  But I realized that in order to take classes, I have a challenging task ahead of me:  I have to prove that I've been vaccinated

I know, it doesn't seem hard. But I, like most GW students, am not from the DC area.  And, like most people, I had all my vaccines when I was a toddler, almost 20 years ago (um, wow, I feel old). So my vaccine records are all in storage somewhere in a pediatrician's office in Center City, Philadelphia.  Clearly, not accessible. 

Now, let me first say, that yes, I have been vaccinated against all the normal stuff: hepatitis, measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus and meningitis.  But getting proof is more challenging.  And thinking about vaccines, and pondering questions like, "Should I get a tetanus booster or a TDaP?" and "Should I worry about meningitis since I'm not living on campus but I do live with roommates?" has caused me to start wondering about the chances of an outbreak on a college campus. So of course, I turned to one of the most expansive sources of knowledge: Google.  And I'll admit, I was concerned after only about three minutes of search results:
Mumps: Childhood Disease Makes Comeback on College Campuses
A Mumps comeback in the U.S. in 2006 was alarming in its severity, and the disease may now take several years to completely eradicate, according to federal public health experts. Interestingly, the viral outbreak occurred despite the routine administration of a second dose of a mumps vaccine throughout the early 1990s. These findings were reported in a recent edition of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). Among other data presented in the article is the fact that 84% of people between 18 and 24 years of age who contracted Mumps during the outbreak had already been given the second recommended dose of MMR vaccine -- a dose that should have protected them from Mumps.
and from the American College Health Association:
Adolescents and young adults account for nearly 30 percent of all cases of meningitis in the United States. In addition, approximately 100 to 125 cases of meningococcal disease occur on college campuses each year, and five to 15 students will die as a result. Evidence shows approximately 70 to 80 percent of cases in the college age group are caused by serogroup C, Y, or W-135, which are potentially vaccine-preventable...The American College Health Association (ACHA) recommends all first-year students living in residence halls receive the meningococcal vaccine. The ACHA recommendations further state that other college students under 25 years of age may choose to receive meningococcal vaccination to reduce their risk for the disease.
So clearly, while it is a challenge to prove that I've been vaccinated, it's necessary.  With all the risky behavior that happens on college campuses, we need to at least protect ourselves from what we can: childhood diseases.  Thankfully, GW requires that students have necessary vaccines. 

Raise your hand if you're happy that cabs are switching from zones to meters!! (if not, raise your standards, HAHA)


So, I am sure you have all heard the news, but in case you have not...cabs are now switching to the meter!

In an article in the Washington Times, the situation is described in more detail. The good news is, that by June 1st all cabs must have a meter installed in their vehicles or they are at risk of a $1,000 ticket! The date was trying to get pushed back, but Mayor Fenty said that for cabs who don't have meters by June 1, will only be getting warnings:

"Now until June 1 is more than enough time to get the meters in," said Mr. Fenty, a Democrat.

As of May 1st, the cab fare will be $3 for the first sixth of a mile and 25 cents for every additional sixth of a mile. There will be a 25 cent charge for every minute stopped or travelling under 10 mph, and the fare will never go above $19. Sweet.

The meter system can work for the benefit of both wallets. The cab driver's when it is longer trip, and the customer's when it is a shorter one.

The reason for the change? Simple. As customers, we want to know exactly where our money is going:

"The residents of the District of Columbia have said they want clearly visible fares," Fenty said. "They want a sense that overcharging is not occurring, and they want a clearer relationship between a fare and the distance traveled."

As a New Yorker, I can understand this very well. I grew up in a city where we ran solely on meters, if there was traffic-it was your loss. When I came to D.C. I couldn't understand the zones. I still can't understand the zones as a matter of fact. This is mostly a commuter city, are people supposed to learn the zones ahead of time? As in, learn the zones and streets before you enter the city to insure you don't get ripped off? Absolutely not.

The drivers caught on to the fact that no one really knows the zones, and began to make up fares. I noticed this when traveling to and from Union Station, and the cost was $6 dollars more on the way back than it was on the way there. The key to not getting ripped off is to ask how many zones he drove passed and where. Tonight, I got ripped off yet again! It was $11 to go from 16th and L to 19th and F. I asked him how many zones we crossed and he said one. I then told him that the fare should be only $7.50-$8 for gas prices. I paid him $10 and left the cab. So, if the price of your cab fare seems oddly high, don't hesitate to speak up and say something!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Case for Armed UPD?

An incident this weekend at that other DC-located university that begins with "George" might help make a case for arming UPD. The Georgetown community is blaming lax security measures at dorms for an armed sexual assault, according to The Hoya.

Looks like a broken door and card swipe machine allowed the man to enter the building without a GOCard (read: GWorld).

DCist's report pretty much sums things up:
"At 3:40 a.m. on Saturday morning, an assailant described as a black male between 17 and 20 years old allegedly attacked a female student, forcing her off a public balcony and into a common room, where he threatened her with a gun and sexually assaulted her."
What do you think? Would armed campus police have prevented this? Or should we just ensure current security measures are followed out?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Priorities

After reading this article in The Hatchet, my only response was "who cares?"

Who cares how many 'elite' students GW admits? (And who can even really define 'elite,' anyway?) Who cares what some magazine or newspaper ranks us? Who cares about the multitude of trivial measures of success and popularity that are floating around out there?

GW shouldn't be obsessed with any of these. The GW administration should be focusing on how to improve the University's academics and how to improve student quality of life.

GW students love to complain--about housing, about J Street, about class registration, about dozens of other issues that affect us every single day as students of this University. But the reason we complain is because there's real room for improvement--if we had an administration focused less on meeting the demands of somewhat-arbitrary ranking systems to attract new students and more on improving the lives of the students already here.

I'm graduating in a few weeks, and when I think back at my time at GW I don't think about our rankings. I don't think about our level of 'elite' student enrollment. I don't think about improvements in our average SAT/ACT score. I think about all the great times I had at this school, about the interesting classes I took and the fun I had being a college student at this University.

GW needs to focus on improving the lives of its students first and foremost. Improve dining options. Streamline class and housing registration. Improve academics. Build a better campus. Improve GW's academic and study facilities. GW needs to do what it can to make the lives of it's current students as exciting as possible, instead of focusing on ultimately arbitrary metrics.

So when I read an article like that, I can't help but think "who cares?" Because after four years at this university, the enrollment of so-called elite students is the farthest thing from my mind.

GW a tourist spot?

As if navigating the crowds of prospective students touring around campus all through April wasn't enough of a hassle, apparently The Washingtonian is advertising GW - specifically, the Hippodrome - as a family-friendly, super fun place to hang out this spring ion their article "Plan It: Four Days With the Kids in Washington, DC":

7:30 PM: End the Night With Family Fun

Head to the Foggy Bottom neighborhood and try your luck on the bowling lanes. The George Washington University’s Hippodrome, on the fifth floor of the Marvin Center (800 21st St., NW; 202-994-3866), features 12 bowling lanes, six pool tables, air hockey, and foosball. Billiards and air hockey cost $8 an hour per table; foosball is $6 an hour; and bowling is $5 a person per game plus $2 for shoe rental. The Hippodrome is open during the academic year only, from the end of August to mid-May.

While it's great that they're advertising the university, and that this will (in theory) bring in more revenue, is it such a great thing to have kids running around the fifth floor of the Marvin Center, taking up valuable bowling, air hockey and eating space? For that matter, would it even matter - do enough people use the fifth floor Marvin Center facilities that visiting families would cause problems?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

seeds day on capitol hill!




I have been active in the organization Seeds of Peace for the last 3 years. I believe its cause is one of the most important ones we face today-peace in the Middle East.

Seeds of Peace is an organization that runs a camp in Maine which brings in delegates from Jordan, Egypt, Palestine, United States, and Israel. These delegates are hand chosen and go through a long and rough process of interviews, essays, and other application processes to ensure that the camp receives only the brightest and greatest campers. Ranging from ages 14 through 17, these campers are stripped of their nationalities when they set foot onto camp grounds. Everyone is completely mixed up in bunks and meal tables and activity groups. The camp has normal daily activities except for two hour dialogue sessions where the campers have an opurtunity to discuss the issues going on in the Middle East. These sessions are known as their Coexistence Program:

"Led by a team of professional facilitators, the daily dialogue sessions constitute the core of the Seeds of Peace Summer Program. As an integral part of the overall camp experience, the dialogue sessions are designed to support the teenagers in building relationships based on honesty, understanding and respect. It is here that the youngsters are given an opportunity to link their new camp experience to the values and relationships that defined their world before Seeds of Peace. At the same time, these sessions provide the teens with a venue to express their thoughts and feelings about the conflict and the many ways in which it affects their lives. Creating a safe space, the facilitators allow for the development of a deeper understanding of and compassion for 'the other.' The dialogue sessions are designed to create opportunities for the youngsters to discuss the harder and more contentious issues and to learn the communication skills necessary to do so in a productive and meaningful way. In the process, the teenagers are encouraged to expand their capacity for critical reflection and deepen their understanding of each other and of the conflict. The youngsters thus develop a trusted peer group with whom they can recount painful memories, express pent up anger and frustration and search together for answers and new solutions to old problems."

Some may say this is crazy, and I would have to agree with them, but it is the most remarkable experience one could ever witness.

Even if you are not a camper, this is a fabulous organization to get involved in-especially those in SMPA with Policom majors! One of their main offices is located here in Washington, D.C. and they are always looking for people to help out with fundraising events and other things to help the organization flourish. I have helped out a bunch of times and they were all great a success.

This week, on Wednesday, Seeds of Peace is having a "Seeds Day" on Capitol Hill to honor their 15th Anniversary. The day is full of meetings with congressional staff members and a reception in the Longworth Building. Although you must be previously involved in Seeds to attend, it is just one of many that make this organization as well recognized and remarkable as it is! So please, feel free to get involved in any way you can-whether it is through interning or applying for a job in their office, applying to be a counselor at camp (which I HIGHLY reccomend!), or just donating a few dollars to improve the camp.

Here is a video of the session of camp I was on. We have to wear our seeds shirts every single day of camp. During meals, we would play a hand game called "bang, bang, clap" while we waited for the head staff member to recite the Seeds "before meal" thank you.

Open Thread

This is the first-ever open thread on GWblogspot.com. Feel free to write in the comments about anything that's on your mind.

To get the creative juices going, here's and oldie but goodie by David...

Friday, April 25, 2008

Not Too Happy About This Whole UPD Thing

As I was walking home last night at about 4 am...yea I know. I looked at the new Hatchet and I stopped dead in my tracks when I read...UPD Chief Supports Arming Police. I am not only scared but kind of annoyed.

When walking on GW campus I feel pretty safe without UPD being armed because I honestly do not feel this school needs guns. Number one, when a party hears UPD is coming every kid takes off running and the whole problem of noise is solved and UPD did not need to use any force.

The line in the article just sounds scary
International Association for Campus Law Enforcement Administrators states that "sworn law enforcement agency … should have access to a range of force options including lethal (firearms)."
Not only this, but I feel sometimes school police instead of using the correct actions of detaining a student in a way where nobody gets hurt, will just rely on the weapon, not so much to shoot someone, but just the act of drawing it and saying to stop is something no 18-21 year old should not have to experience.

This whole situation reminds me of that "little" thing where the student in Florida was tasered for trying to ask a question??

"Somebody please pinch me....": a response


Disclaimer: In the interest of helping GWblogspot to represent as many student viewpoints as possible I figured I would write a response to Max's blog decrying the appearance of an "influx" of religious activity on campus 2 weeks ago. I am not trying to convince anyone to claim a particular faith through this post. Rather, I wanted to present what I think is a valid perspective on some of the complaints of the post.

I understand that the Pope's visit inconvenienced a lot of students and some could care less about whether he was here or not. That's a fine and valid opinion to hold. If you do not consider the Pope your spiritual leader it is indeed okay to have negative feelings about his visit. While some people from all faiths and walks of life were intrigued and excited about his visit, there is no problem with other people being unhappy with it. That is not an disagreement I had with this post.

I wanted to respond to the disatifaction with the GW Forum on Faith and Politics hosted by the GW College Democrats and College Republicans. I do not think that this event gives anymore credibility to those who consider themselves religious over those who do not. First of all, one of the organizers of the event was touting the appearance of the
"first-ever self-declared atheist Congressmen"
Pete Stark as one of the highlights of the evening. The guest list took into account those who held many different beliefs from both sides of the aisle.

The fact is that many people on either side of the aisle are motivated by their faith politically. I am a Democrat because I am a Christian not in spite of it. Granted being religious does not always lead people to the same political conclusions. However faith and politics need to be discussed together in the manner that the forum allowed for. It is important to understand how faith fits into politics in this country, to help us understand how to separate the positive effects of faith in politics from the negative.

For that matter, I do not think this event, judging from the list of panelists, was necessarily intended to show that faith does have a place in all politics. It was a discussion of the question of whether faith and politics should be connected, and it what manner they should be. If thats not coming from an educational perspective, I don' t know what is.

Silence about silence?

I've been pretty quiet today. I'm not generally a loud person, but today I've been especially quiet. Today, you see, is the Day of Silence, a day when students across the country are silent in remembrance of people who feel discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. This year, the Day of Silence honored Lawrence King, a 15-year-old California student who was killed because of his sexual orientation.

The mantra behind the Day of Silence says it all:
Please understand my reasons for not speaking today. I am participating in the Day of Silence, a national youth movement bringing attention to the silence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies. My deliberate silence echoes that silence, which is caused by anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment. I believe that ending the silence is the first step toward building awareness and making a commitment to address these injustices. Think about the voices you are not hearing today. What are you going to do to end the silence?

The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (the group that organizes the Day of Silence) found in 2005 that four out of five LGBT students had been verbally or physically harrassed at school. Over 75 percent had heard negative or offensive language used about sexuality.

I'm straight, but since my freshman year of high school I've participated in the Day of Silence. It's important to me that discrimination ends, and that people feel accepted and safe -- especially in a school environment. In college, I've still participated, but I've found it to be more difficult. For one thing, my class schedule is different, and so my silence during the day doesn't make as much of an impact. (The biggest difference it made today was that I got coffee at Au Bon Pain instead of Starbucks.) For another, I've found it hard to find a community of people participating with me. Allied in Pride, GW's LGBT group, seems to operate under the radar. The last event listed on their website is from April 1. You can't even join their Facebook group without being invited. Until I went looking, I didn't know that anyone else on GW's campus was participating in the Day of Silence. While I'm glad to know the event is taking place at GW, it would have been nice to see a little more publicity for it around campus.

Tonight at 8:30, Allied in Pride is hosting a Breaking the Silence event in Kogan. Even if you weren't silent today, consider going to see what it looks like when people come together to oppose discrimination.

Don't PASS OVER the Marvin Center this week, except maybe YaYa's

Passover is an important holiday during which Jews commemorate our exodus from Egypt and enslavement under the Pharaoh. I respect that, but it doesn’t mean I don't lose five pounds a year from this (semi) involuntary diet. Like Molly said before, this is generally a tough time to find food on campus. However, I was actually surprised to realize that one of the only places where I have been able to eat is the Marvin Center.

Granted the bread's not really an option, there still are plenty of meats, cheeses and salads to choose from at the salad bar.




But I'm not really healthy enough to preach about that. In more relevant news, I checked out the french fries at Chick-fil-A but they use peanut oil so those are off-limits (no "legumes," remember?) Luckily, Wendy's cooks their fries in vegetable oil so that's still ok. They do have some appetizing salad options too, but avoid the ones with chips in them.


I was going to report next on what you could eat at Yaya's Asian Kitchen, but they literally told me to stop taking pictures and seemed hostile so I left. I tried taking a picture of the menu but they stopped me from doing that too. I figured they wouldn't let me write the menu choices down (now that I've clearly planted myself on the Yaya staff's bad side) and I have a poor memory (ask my spanish teacher) so you're not going to hear about them from me.

Finding a summer job at GW? Good luck.

So walk anywhere on this campus and you’ll see
some yellow or green flyer that says “Summer Jobs” and it catches your eye every time because right after “final exams before exam week” you are thinking about summer plans. As a junior, going home for the summer isn’t on my radar and I want to stay in DC.

I responded to one of the signs in mid-Spring in an attempt to get an early start on the job search. They wanted me to knock door to door to try to save the environment. Sorry ask someone at Georgetown or one of those community colleges. I do not pay $50, 000 plus to walk around in the summer heat and bug people. I’ve put in my time – I want an almost real job!

So I tried Gwork. I will say that Gwork has a lot of great listings. Here is the problem with most of the good ones, like this listing for National Geographic.

There is no contact information! Several of them don’t have contact information and ask to apply only through email. Great! The culprit? The career center. It just so happens that they are conducting their own survey about their website.

You can also email them with comments at gwcarctr@gwu.edu. Let them know how you feel about this and don’t forget to mention the lack of contact info!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

GWorld Changes & Burritos

Since I am a lame duck in student government I thought it would be fun to throw some info out online. As mentioned in campus media today [University Plans major Overhaul of GWorld], our card will be going into surgery for a serious facelift. I am in need of feedback from students on what we want changed/unchanged with the GWorld Card.

But first, some random news not reported yet: for all you burrito loving Chipotle fans, please note that the equipment as of TODAY is finally working. You can now spend away at 3255 M in Georgetown or 1837 M in the Bottom.

More, bigger changes are on the way. A private outside consulting firm is currently conducting focus groups with students and staff to talk about our GWorld card. Some questions I need help answering are:

1 What functions would you like added to your card?
2 Would you go crazy if we needed two cards for all the added functions?
3 Should the design be different?
4 Do you want a card when you graduate to keep?

While it's important to move forward technologically, we should be sure to identify the priorities of students in going forward with reccomended changes and added functions. Any feedback you can throw out, on the topics above or others, will be very helpful.

Hatchet Crime Log: Underappreciated

We here at GW blogspot endeavor to keep the mainstream campus press (i.e. The Hatchet) in check, but we also give credit where credit is due.

I want to take a moment to say how much I love your crime log. Its awesome.... the first thing (sometimes the only thing) I read each week.

Its actually trashy gossip in a sense, but if there anything we've learned from the media at large lately, its that trash sells (and I for one am buying). While going through it weekly I do my best to put names, places and rumors together in hopes of figuring out if I know the guys who were throwing water balloons out their dorm window, the UPD officers that worked the Tonic champaign caper, or what couple was charged with lewd acts in a car on campus...

But its always such a bummer to get to the last line and read "The subjects were not affiliated with the University" (as was the case with the backseat romantics).

Kudos Amy D'Onofrio. Thanks for keeping us all informed about the often comedic actions of UPD, homeless folks, those pesky "unaffiliated" individuals and of course my friends and neighbors. Can you add a few more details in the future? Perhaps some pictures? Names? just kidding about the last one... well, kinda...

Suggestion: do an end of year 'best of the crime log' article. If you don't I just may.

DISCLAIMER: I realize the crime log also serves as an important public service and also don't mean to diminish any of the serious incidents that are reported.

Updated: fixed typo in title...

The Inconvenient Honors Program

Last year, when my friends and I first read about the "new and improved" honors prgram, we all had the same reaction: why would anyone want to be in the honors program now?

Apparently, we weren't the only ones who thought so. The Hatchet reports that the honors enrollment is down:
The new honors program attracted only 90 freshmen this fall and has not reached its annual enrollment target of 125 students since 2005. In the new honors program, students take interdisciplinary honors courses in place of general curriculum requirements during their freshman and sophomore years
The honors program has both significantly enhanced my experience at GW and been one of the most overrated aspects of it.

The greatest perk by far has been honors housing. It allowed all of us nerds to avoid Thurston freshman year and spend our late nights bonding in the hallways of Lafayette instead. That's where I met a good portion of my closest friends.

I've also loved the small classes that are full of familiar faces. It's a nice contrast to walking into a 120 person political science class where I don't recognize anyone. I've gotten to know some amazing professors because of the more intimate environment of a smaller class size. I got to indulge in some intellectual discourse. And a free honors program dinner is a free dinner.

However, making the honors program work with my schedule has always been the bane of my existance, and this is before the new program imposed more stringent requirements. Why? Because the honors program does not work with the different schools to make its courses count towards requirements.

Examples?
My honors course entitled 'Advanced Readings on the Middle East" does not count towards a Middle East Concentration in Elliott.
My Constitutional Privacy course could not count for my Political Science electives.

As a result, the topic of conversation between Juniors and Seniors in the honors program is how best to get around the honors requirements.

I didn't come to GW because I wanted a well rounded liberal arts education. I came here because I wanted to study politics and international affairs. I was attracted to the flexible GCRs in Elliott and honestly, if the current honors program had been in place, I probably would have dropped it as soon as I realized that it would mean additional math and science classes. In fact, if an incoming freshman asked me whether to join the honors program, I would probably tell them that it's not worth it anymore.

Guns at GW?

The Hatchet reports that the UPD chief is in favor of arming UPD officers:
University Police Department Chief Dolores Stafford recommended in a national safety report she co-authored that college police officers should carry firearms.
Next time a student tries to get into HelWell without a GWorld, perhaps UPD can just pull out a gun and threaten to shoot.

I understand that following a couple of school shooting tragedies, people are reevaluating college security policies:
The study found that during the 2004-2005 academic year, nearly 90 percent of universities that employed sworn officers armed them as well.

"The officer needs to be able to have the tools to defend themselves or a third party," Thrower said. He said that especially in the wake of campus shooting incidents like Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University, many college campuses are reevaluating their policies and are in the process of arming their police departments.

However, GW is a slightly different case. We have MPD, the Secret Service, and other security agents in the area. They are all extensively trained in the use of firearms . UPD deals mainly with students, and I have yet to hear about an incident on campus that required armed law enforcement officials.

Besides my natural liberal inclination to assume that arming people leads to more violence, there's the more practical question: "Guns or Butter?" Does GW really need to be spending money on arming UPD officers when there are Hatchet headlines like "Intelligent Students Decrease"? We're a university. Money should be going towards research, academics, student organizations, etc. Safety is a priority, but if the school wants to spend more money on safety, perhaps they should concentrate on the drunk students throwing things from windows.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"We're Pretty Happy with 83%": GW Housing Programs director cites a lack of inventory in not being able to satisfy student housing requests

As many know already, I aired my concerns about the iHousing process and talked a lot about the experience that I had and why I was dissatisfied. My concerns were heard and passed along and I actually got the chance to interview Seth Weinshel, whose department was the target of my (sometimes only semi-legitimate) criticisms. In any case, here is the interview!

Part 1: The iHousing process, 360° video tours of rooms, the Living@GW portal, GW Housing Programs & Residential Property Management and the costs of summer housing



Part 2: The possibility of a merit-based housing assignment system, the "80% satisfaction threshold", Potomac House, UPD and co-ed dorms

Is it Just Me, or is This WAY Too Scripted?

I like reading the whole sex column by Delilah because well sex can be funny, and hearing other people's problems makes me feel a little hopeful about my own love life. It's like watching Sex and the City and laughing cause some really embarrassing moment takes place and you thanks god it has never happened to you, and if it has at least you can relate.

However, this last article on "Punch-drunk lust" is out of a bad movie scene. I can actually see the actions rolling in my head before reading the next sentence because I really think it WAS in a movie. Especially the part about "greeting him with old movie embrace - the kind that involves dipping and back arching," but hers was sloppy and drunk...how did he not drop you??

The best line out of the whole thing goes
"Delilah … I think, I think I love you," Evergreen said.

Needless to say I was speechless and hoped that if I didn't say anything he would just keep going or figure I didn't hear him, but he was sloppy and insistent. "Delilah, I think I love you. Is that okay?"

This time though, I just pretended not to hear him and continued on.
So twice you continued to not to hear him and continue on??? I thought this Delilah is supposed to be this independent girl that loves getting it on etc. etc. Yet her first reaction isn't to turn to the guy and go "umm no that's not okay...BYE" Which honestly would be my first reaction. Sorry if I hurt his feelings by taking off, but "I love you" after casual conversations is a little too needy, and he needs to learn what those words mean.

Has the sex columnist ran out of good things to say??

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I dare the Colonialist -- put questions to the Hatchet

The Colonialist, a welcome and healthy part of the GW blog infrastructure, has been paying good attention to GWblogspot recently. They rightly pointed out James's catch:
GWBlogspot noticed something quite interesting about the most recent GWeekly email. Read their amazing catch, “John Ritter To Be Raised From The Dead, Perform At Fountain Day.”
And, of course, they gave themselves a pat on the back for leading (so far) in our poll on the left side of this blog. (Ahem, people, c'mon now...)

But aside from admiring themselves and chuckling at rather amusing event promo mess-ups, will they put their bully pulpit to work for the cause of transparency and accountability in the media, by helping us develop really good questions for our YouTube interview with Hatchet editor Jake Sherman? Colonialist readers, we welcome your questions. Just click here and put your questions in the comment section.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Calling All GWBlogspotters: What Are Your Questions for the Editor-In-Chief of The Hatchet?

No, this is not a drill.

We at GWBlogspot have scored an exclusive interview with Jake Sherman, Editor-In-Chief of The Hatchet.

And in the interest of accessible, open-source new media, you all have the chance to propose questions for us to ask Mr. Sherman.

So let's have at it. Go into the comments and show off your burning desire for the truth by proposing questions for us to ask Jake.

Like,
  1. How does a tip become a story--what's the process behind constructing a Hatchet article?
  2. How rigorous is the editorial process?
  3. Boxers or briefs?
  4. Who can be a Hatchet reporter, and what are the requirements to become one?

We're going to be recording the interview and putting it up here on GW Blogspot just as soon as we can. Until then, make sure to read The Hatchet and give us some good question ideas.

John Ritter to Be Raised from the Dead, Perform at Fountain Day

I would have shrugged off the latest GWeekly newsletter's mistake of naming John Ritter, the deceased actor, as the performer at Fountain Day if it wasn't the second time they'd done it.

Poor Josh Ritter (who is actually performing), I'm sure this happens to him all the time.

Ironically, the theme of Fountain Day is "Awareness" - like being aware that you get the name of the performer right?

This is Josh's video for "Girl in the War." Check it out, he's actually pretty good, even if he's not Jack Tripper from Three's Company.

Win $15,000 from CommercialPitch.com for a Creative Idea

There are some pretty bad commercials on TV. Between those Head-On ads, the SalesGenie.com ones from the Super Bowl, and every local car dealership with a Dealin' Dave screaming at you, there's a lot of crappy, crappy ads.

Think you can do better? I stumbled across a new contest open to college students and Grad students from CommercialPitch.com. Basically, you submit a pitch for a commercial, and the best one wins $15,000. When was the last time a school project paid you that much? Not to mention the resume fodder.

Other cool points:
  • There's money for second place and third place
  • You can submit your ideas in written, storyboard, or video format
It doesn't look like anyone from GW has entered, yet, probably because there are so few intelligent students here.

BUT, if you are one of GW's elite (and even if you aren't), you should click here to enter.

Commercials can start with a super simple idea like guys saying "WAAAZZZZUUP" and turn into a huge success. If you can write something more creative than "apply directly to the forehead", then click here to sign up to take you chance.

C'mon GW, I know someone here can do better than this:

Sunday, April 20, 2008

PIKES fireman's challenge...IS THIS WEEKEND!


Community service is extremely important at this school. While balancing our busy lives, we should always manage to find a little time in our day to give back to the community. Greeks make it easier to do this. Every fraternity and sorority on campus has their own philanthropy they raise money for. They do this by holding annual events each year to attract other members in the Greek system and regular students to get involved. This weekend, is Pike's Fireman's Challenge.

Pike's fireman's challenge is:

"the annual philanthropy event for the gentleman of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. Its goals seek to raise money for the D.C. Firefighter burn foundation. The event is one big competition between the 9 sororities on campus. It is a week of competition and team-building, full of skits, parties and challenge…"

The events taking place (if you are in the Greek system) are supposed to be tons of fun. Starting this Monday, there will be events such as Feed the Fireman's Competition (where each sorority prepares a dish with a certain budget and the gentleman of the Pike Fraternity choose the best one), Pike Spike (a Volleyball tournament between all of the sororities), a huge party to raise money at the door, Skit Night, and finally...the CHALLENGE! A day full of fun water events, games, music, and food!

As a member of the Greek system, I strongly encourage all other Greeks to participate as much as they possibly can and help out their philanthropy!

For those of you who are not in the Greek system, you can still help out by donating money. My sorority will be walking around campus this week with a plastic fire extinguisher bank...so don't hesitate to stop us and put your small change in! Every penny counts!

For more information about their philanthropy, please click here.

Here are some videos of the past years skit nights:

How to keep kosher for passover when you are @ school....


As most of you may already know, it is Passover! The Jewish holiday commemorating the Jews who escaped Egypt and were freed from slavery. It begins on the 15th day of Nisan (the first month of the Jewish calendar). It is celebrated for 8 days. This means, that for 8 days the Jewish people cannot eat a grain product that is fermented or the substance that can cause fermentation. So, now that I am back in school after being home for the sedar (traditional gathering of family and friends for a dinner/feast to re-tell the story of the Jews escaping Egypt from a Haggadah), what am I supposed to eat?

With no bread, no crackers, no french fries, no candy (corn syrup counts!), no sushi/rice...what is there to eat around here? This is a very important "question" of Passover!

For starters, go to the grocery store and pick up a few boxes of matzah---as gross as it may taste, you are going to need to crunch and put cream cheese on SOMETHING! I usually have Matzah Brei for breakfast at home, but since I don't have a kitchen at school that option gets scrapped. Instead I bought cream cheese and butter to spread. I also suggest buying kosher for passover potatoe chips. They satisfy your salt cravings and are crunchy at the same time. For those of you lucky sophomores and up students who have kitchens, not only is Matzah Brei an option for you, but also my personal favorite, Matzah Pizza!! To get the recipe for Matzah Pizza, click here.

Passover is a good time to begin that diet you have been putting off. It is a great week to start getting back into the routine of eating lots of fruits, veggies, eggs, fish, and meat...things that are very easy to avoid when you are away from home. Solid places to order from around here are: Pita Pit (for salads), Gallery (salads), Brown Bag (salads), Sizzex (salads, fruits, veggies, chicken), and any restaurant around D.C for just chicken. An even better alternative is the GW Hillel.They welcome you with open doors. According to their website:

"Let all who are hungry come and eat."

Oh, and incase you were wondering-being it is 4/20 and all-according to this article, Marijuana smoking is NOT kosher for Passover!!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Do You Like Coffee a...Latte?

Do you like coffee a...latte? (bad pun INTENDED)

In under a minute, you can GREATLY help me with my marketing final project. Please take my quick, 10 multiple choice survey here.

It takes almost no time, and I will love you forever (sort of).

Thanks in advance!

Oh, and, in case you were worried, all results are completely confidential and we will be using only the numbers in our presentation.

Click here to take it.

Thanks to tonx for the photo.

BARACKY!!

After watching the debate, I really thought it was extremely non informative. Hillary loves making plugs about her website instead of just talking about them, and Barack was defending what he said the other half of the time. The debate had little to nothing to do with the issues and really focused on lets attack each other for an hour and it will be annoying...yes it was.

However, my one relief was that this video was so appropriate not just pertaining to Barack and Hillary always battling it out, but because of the location of the debate!

At this time when it is really nice out and you do not want to go to class or do work, waste some time on this...

Down with GCRs...

I got an email from CCAS the other day that opened, "The Columbian College General Curriculum Committee is seeking student opinions regarding reform of the college’s General Curriculum Requirements (GCR)." Normally I just delete such emails, but this time I thought, 'great! I can share my opinion on (read: hatred of) the current GCR regime'.

The survey started with pretty standard multiple choice questions, but when text boxes were an option I wrote over and over that there are too many GCRs required and they, ironically, get in the way of becoming more well rounded and educated in things I actually care about. Instead, they force me to 'check the box' by showing up to baby classes where I learn nothing. The Hatchet's Claire Autruong correctly asserted in this Thursday's issue,

It's worth remembering that most GW students come from high schools that have already stressed the importance of a well-rounded education as the first basic step in the college admissions game. For many, college is a place where they want to take control of their own educations and specialize in an area that will ideally become the core of their future, or at least represent their true interests. The current GCRs restrict students' abilities to exceed the bare-minimum requirements in their major and to pick up second majors and minors.

They also vitally detract from the quality of the classroom community. As history professor and department chair Tyler Anbinder told The Hatchet in October, "There are students who don't like history. I don't want them in my class, as much as I think all people should take history." Ten minutes in a vast lecture hall filled with fidgeting, apathetic students in an introductory biology course for non-majors is all it takes for a casual observer to conclude the same - students and professors are not better-served by the environment in compulsory courses.

Some of the best classes I've taken at GW are the few that
fulfill no requirements I've been able to squeeze in. That is, taken strictly to further my knowledge of a topic (like SMPA 194).

Its much easier for CCAS to say they produce well rounded students when they can point to a list of GCRs that cover every major disipline. Its much harder for them to make an empirical case for the same by saying 'we let students have free run of the place and let them take whatever interests them', even if the latter is the right thing to do.

I hope something comes of this research...

Friday, April 18, 2008

His Popiness

Not everyone was excited about the Pope's visit this week to DC. But me, I like to take advantage of GW's downtown DC location and see world leaders with a following of about 1 billion worldwide at once-in-a-lifetime events. I'm an insufferable sheep like that.

So I gathered with about 10,000 other people of various faiths, some of who had traveled as far as California, to watch him roll down Pennsylvania on dubs sicker than those in any Big Tymers video.

Here's a slideshow of the pics I managed to snap. Not a lot of great ones of the Pope himself. A lesson to any budding photogs, make sure you use the BSS (best shot selection) feature of your Nikon digital cameras if you're shooting a one-time event like this.

Dorm Sweet Dorm: Make your room feel like home

I think I spend more time in Kathryn’ Pagoni’s room than I spend in my own. Because she is Italian and a great cook? Probably. But also because even we infinitely untouchable college students experience such mortal feelings as homesickness, and Kathryn’s room just has a homey feel. And it’s not just Kathryn. Students across campus have found ways to personalize their rooms and create a space they and (for better or for worse) others want to hangout in.
I surveyed Kathryn’s room for tips on how she made her room her own. First, I noticed Kathryn’s drapes (they look even better in person). The bookstore usually has a few selections but you can find them cheaper at Target (yay for the new Metro accessible Target!)
While you can’t toss your old furniture in the basement if you don’t like it (not that I know this from personal experience….) you can add small, functional pieces which usually cost a lot less than you’d expect. I highly recommend Craig’s List for this because people will generally give you their stuff for free if you pick it up (I’ll admit that part can be tricky, so get your parents to help).

Little touches like paintings, framed photos, beads over the door, or even a wall-spanning fabric hanging also add some much needed color.

Buy useful stuff. I really like this coffee pot/toaster oven because it makes breakfast easy enough to make that you might just do it, and nothing feels more like home than eating.

I recognize this is very much a girl’s room and some of the suggestions wouldn’t really suit a guy’s dorm the same way. What do you guys do? Comment here, or email me at eberger5@gwu.edu if you’d like me to help you show off your room.

UPDATE: Here are some room decorating tips from Kathryn (and an excuse for me to conduct an interview):

4,000+ Cool Pictures of GW

If you haven't heard of Flickr, it's a photo-sharing site that - pretty obviously - allows users to upload photos and share them with the world.

One of the cool features is that you can tag photos with descriptions so others can easily find them.

Check out this slideshow of over 4,000 pictures tagged "GWU." Or this one of photos tagged "George Washington University."

It's a great source for pictures for blog posts and the like (just make sure you have the photographer's permission first).

Thanks to alex-s for this sweet shot of a snowy Gelman.

The Pope's visit blocks the way to 2020 K


Several friends of mine were peeved at his Holiness on Wednesday when his motorcade blocked access to GW's building on K street. Those caught on the other side of Pennsylvania Ave were unable to find an easy way back to campus.

It bothered me too, having to take that alternate route to get to a class right across the street from my building. However I realized it is things like this that set our school apart from all other colleges. How many people get to witness a world religious leader's historic visit to our country? How many people get to blame being late to class on his visit?

In praise of The Hatchet?! Yes.

Note: The opinions expressed in this post are those of the writer, and are not necessarily those of GWBlogSpot.

In the three months since I've been posting at GWBlogSpot, I've seen a lot of great posts that are both insightful and interesting - for example, Max's posts on the GW Housing Department, James's in-depth coverage behind the scenes of Karl Rove's visit to campus, and even a post on EBK's reaction to winning The Hatchet's April Fool's edition bracket.

I've also seen a number of posts critiquing The Hatchet's coverage (one of which is linked above), which is all fine and good, as are the anonymous comments in support of The Hatchet (perhaps staffers for the paper?).

But based on these comments, and comments from other blogs and people I've talked to, it seems that GWBlogSpot has picked up a reputation for being a Hatchet-bashing blog, which, in my opinion, couldn't be farther from the truth.

Yes, we frequently talk about The Hatchet, and yes, we frequently point out its perceived flaws, but no, we do not (or at least I do not) pick fights with The Hatchet for the sake of picking fights. And to prove that we/I don't solely hate The Hatchet, I'm going to the other side.

That's right: I'm going to write a post in praise of The Hatchet's coverage.

Specifically, the other day I came across The Hatchet's News Blog's live blogging posting on the Papal Mass at Nationals Stadium from last week. Although I question the necessity of doing the post as a live blog, given the fact that coverage started at 6 a.m., it is still very interesting to read about what went on "behind the scenes" before the mass. Reporter Andrew Ramonas's ability to connect the mass back to GW by talking about Brand Kroeger and Sergio Gor was also a great aspect of the post. I also appreciated the decision not to live blog during the Papal Mass, which (although its kind of a given that one wouldn't blog throughout a church service, let alone a Papal Mass), I still thought was respectful.

So thanks to The Hatchet for their insightful coverage. And for the regular GWBlogSpot readers, don't worry, I'll be back to critiquing The Hatchet next week. ;-)

Bring on the soul-crushing desk jobs!

I called my parents last night, because, like many GW students, I'm apparently incapable of functioning without doing so. Between decrying the Democratic debate on Wednesday night and snarking over the garlic battle on Iron Chef, we brought up what's going to happen after I graduate. The current plan is for me to go home and volunteer for a political campaign. That's right, unpaid and living at home. I am the embodiment of the worst generation ever!

Wait a minute. In all seriousness, our generation talks to our parents more than any other. (We also, according to a story I read a few months back, consider our parents our heroes.) But in general, we're the epitome of "good kids." The CDC just released a report showing that pregnancies for women under 25 (including teenagers) are at a historic low. And an article I read at the dentist's office a few months ago (yes, I even go to the dentist! Look what a good kid I am!) said a member of our generation does fewer drugs, is less likely to drink underage, and in general doesn't screw up. Go us, right?

Maybe not so much. We might not get in regular trouble, but it looks like we're about to get into trouble of a more insidious kind. All that clean living seems to have given us unrealistic expectations about our future, which our parents are left dealing with. Yesterday's New York Times had a story on Preparing Your Child For The Cold Cruel World.
"What I want most for my children is for them to find themselves in their work," said Elizabeth Lluch, the editor in chief of the WS Publishing Group in San Diego. "I want them to find work that makes them feel good about themselves, helps them define who they are, and helps them find peace within themselves." Work, she added, "is not about making a bunch of money, but finding a little niche for oneself in a world that is very fast-paced, busy and impersonal."

Molly Bingham, who lectures and writes about choosing a career, advises parents to "ask their kids ‘What do you do that you love so much that you lose track of time?’ " That passion (the word comes up constantly in conversations about children and work nowadays) should form the core of any future career search, Ms. Bingham said.

...

"Do you have any advice for me?" one reader asked in an e-mail message. She described her daughter, who will be graduating from college next month, as paralyzed by the fear that whatever job she takes would not be her passion and would therefore be wrong. "How can I help her find her life’s calling?" the mother wondered.

I'm graduating from college in a month, and I can categorically state that I am not worried that whatever job I take will not "be my passion." I'm more worried about a job for me existing in the first place. Yes, the plan is for me to go back home, but that's not what I want to do. And you know what? That's not what my parents want me to do either. "Have you thought about the Peace Corps?" my dad asked, unintentionally echoing Basil's post. "Everyone I know who's done it has found it really life-changing."

That's great. And I know there are people who find things like that really rewarding -- hell, I find helping others really rewarding. But I also find other things rewarding. Like having enough money to buy groceries. And not living with my parents. Yes, ideally I'd like a job that's fun and rewarding and helps me save the universe. But right now, I'll take the most boring, soul-crushing job imaginable, provided that it pays and I can do it. No, it won't be fun. It probably won't be fair, either. But it's not about paying your dues to The Man or selling out. It's about being a mature adult.

This problem of young people looking for jobs that are emotionally fulfilling rather than fiscally responsible is nothing new, of course. What's new is our parents' willingness to put up with it. In that spirit, here's a song from a soon-to-be-closing musical, about how you shouldn't care about any of that stuff, man, just do what makes you happy! Who cares if you're starving and can't pay for hot water? You're making a statement! (Katie Couric shuts up and the singing starts at about 2:05 in.)



And hey, there's always taking down the system from the inside.

Posting like a drunken sailor (in that I am doing so freely (not that I am doing it carelessly (maybe I'm still a bit unclear on the etymology)))

Normally I leave the LOLHATCHETBASHING to my peers and focus on things more universally recognized as awesome. like cranes (no duh). But after reading Andrew's post and the Hatchet article with the a headline that may or may not be real English (seriously, cannot tell) I thought I would follow up and talk about data. I had this whole idea about talking about how many National Merit kids GW used to have. How many they have now. How well they do in class. Their overall GPA. What they go on to. How other admitted students rank. The generally lower "caliber" (used super loosely) of kids applying to ED1 and 2. I was going to ask if nationwide acceptance into the organization was down. I was going to ask if we had gone from 20 to 19 and been taken off the list. I had a bunch of questions that certainly would have illuminated the debate, solved the problem, and brought free chili to someone other than Bill Cosby at Ben's.

Then I got distracted.

Reading the Hatchet article whose headline insinuates that the mean height for intelligent people is decreasing I got trapped in a quote from GW professor Margaret Soltan
Margaret Soltan, an English professor who blogs on higher education, said the University is failing to attract, or failing to keep, the best students who apply to GW."If GW has (the money), it should certainly spend like a drunken sailor on scholarships for our best students," Soltan said.
I'm not even sure that the metaphor is necessarily appropriate (doesn't a drunken sailor spend money foolishly? I don't think it is that they're willing to spend. I think it's that they do so frivolously) but it remains AWESOME (like cranes (no duh)). Hoping to continue in having my mind blown by slightly askew analogies I went to her blog University Diaries. Conclusion: Margaret Soltan. You're my jam.

The site slaps you in the face with a) a horrifyingly abrasive layout b) a lot of DeLillo mentions and c) a picture of James Joyce. Why? Not sure. But it rules.

While I have never actually met Soltan I knew of her due to our shared love of Don DeLillo (Woman loves DeLillo) but I didn't know she was unspeakably cool. Despite the hilarious amount of content on the site it is all really, really strong. It rapidly jumps between insightful, vicious, and hilarious. It's the Wonkette of acablogging (that is most likely not a real term). The site essentially serves as a critique on university life, her personal life, and teaching. It flows between commentary on things occurring at other schools and trends she has spotted at GW (like, for instance the fact that we're getting dumber by the day). It actually serves as a really interesting and unique commentary on higher education from a person who is uniquely qualified to give one. Its strength seems to be that it can be read for the humor, the commentary on upper education, or for the killer book recommendations. The best part (and that part that I'm scared to death about should she find this error ridden post) is the Gary Lutz tinged attack on syntax that is Scathing Online Schoolmarm. In SOS Soltan essentially tells journalists that they cannot write, inserting commentary and grammar advice (again with the stab your eyes out bad aesthetic) in articles from recent from papers.

Really, what it is is that Soltan is about 500X smarter than me and her blog is way better than random acts of cupcake... I'm just not sure about her use of drunken sailor.

"Intelligent Students Decrease"- I disagree

Thursday's Hatchet article which claims that fewer "intelligent" students are choosing GW, contains a deeply flawed argument for their statement. Like Andrew, I feel that the number of National Merit Scholars that GW enrolls has little to do with the measurement of highly intelligent students that come to our campus. The article claims:
While record-high numbers of academically prestigious freshmen are enrolling at Ivy League colleges, fewer smart students are choosing to attend GW, according to a report presented at last Friday's Faculty Senate meeting...GW was not among the 98 colleges and universities with at least 20 National Merit Scholars among the classes they admitted last spring.
I disagree with the premise of the article. The number of National Merit Scholars enrolled by GW does not necessarily relate to the academic talent of those who attend GW. Qualifying for the first round of the National Merit Scholarship is based on one thing-test scores- which aren't an accurate measure of intelligence for every person (ex- people who do not test "well"). What might be a better measure of the number of "highly intelligent" students that GW enrolls would be the number of students who were accepted to more highly ranked schools but chose to attend GW.
I have spoken to several students who turned down offers from schools such as Washington University in St. Louis, Northwestern, University of Virginia, and Emory to come to GW. Certainly students admitted to these level of schools (all of these schools are ranked in the top 25 ) could be considered "highly intelligent." Admission into these schools is based on a combination of factor, so student who gives a less than stellar performance in one area are not automatically counted out of the admissions pool. Furthermore, why does the lack of enrollment of National Merit Scholars mean that GW students are any less intelligent on the whole?

"Aerobics Girl" from GWTV tells all!!!



Junior Melinda Pearl doesn't mind if you make fun of her show, MelindAerobics, which inexplicably airs on GWTV whenever you have insomnia. She's just happy to have viewers... and she probably has more than are willing to admit they watch. It's a bizarre show to stumble upon--not every channel can get away with making an entire show out of a peppy college student doing aerobics in her dorm room.

(Note: GWTV programming is available on their facebook page. I hear MelindAerobics will be available soon... I'll post it here as soon as it is!)

GWBlgspt: So... Why is MelindAerobics always on when I can't sleep?

MP: All of our stuff on GWTV runs on a loop. Since we don't get money from the university, it makes it hard for us to have an actual T.V. schedule. We can't program things so we know exactly when something comes on. It just keeps running on a loop until we take it off the air. But it is an actual GWTV show and we do have different episodes and seasons. We are currently in our second season.

GWBlgspt: Do you get recognized around campus because of the show?

MP: People recognize me as the "aerobics girl" on the street, in class, in clubs, ALL THE TIME. It's pretty funny to me and I take it as a huge compliment and I'm so happy to see/hear that people actually watch! I don't care if they watch to do it or to make-fun of it, I'm just happy we have viewers! I'm not lying but one girl actually stopped me on the street last year and told me I changed her life - that she used to be lazy and never went to the gym but with MelindAerobics she works out in her room and loves working out now and feels so much healthier. I was so excited I gave her a hug and almost cried! I told her that was the biggest compliment anyone could ever give me and I will never forget it.

GWBlgspt: Late one recent Saturday night, I was with a group of people, and for some reason your show came up, and almost everyone seemed to know what it was. We turned on the TV, and sure enough you were on. So we tried to mimic you and made fools out of ourselves, but it was a good time. How do you feel about having this kind of effect on people?

MP: Your story is really funny and makes me really happy. I'm glad I have this kind of effect on people. I'm proud that I've produced something that people can have fun doing, laugh about and even secretly watch if they are embarrassed that they are a "closeted aerobics fan." I hope people keep watching and keep working out with me - I'm really passionate about health and fitness and if I can make exercise fun, worthwhile and something college students can get excited about doing, than I'm thrilled.

GWBlgspt: Why aerobics?

MP: I like aerobics because I think it's a fun and effective workout. The idea behind aerobics is to be strong, healthy, and fit, not to be super skinny like so many people misperceive exercise to be. Honestly, I workout every day because I love it and it's my job but so many people don't have time to go to the gym, college kids are busy. So I thought, what better way to keep people active than to have an easy-to-follow, effective workout on TV that they can do on their own time without even leaving their room.

Thanks for the interview, Melinda! Melinda is an Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) certified group fitness instructor, and her show airs on GWTV.... whenever you find yourself lying awake at night.

Ok, Czech Readers...Identify Yourselves.

Andrew's post mentioning that his friend from Prague writes on his Facebook wall with suggestions about what he should write about on GWblogspot got me thinking. 3 thoughts, in particular.

1)It's great that just a few months after our (amazingly awesome) official ribbon cutting, there's actually an expectation by the greater GW community that this blog will be discussing certain issues. I've heard from numerous campus leaders that they read the blog, but for some reason a random GW friend in Prague really hit the point home for me. Then again, I suppose it's only logical.

2) Andrew's friend should totally join GWblogspot's new Facebook group.

3) I wonder how many other people abroad read our blog. A simple look at Google analytics ((c) David) revealed 51 countries! And ironically, after thousands and thousands of views in the United States, guess which country was number 2. The Czech Republic, home of Prague. More below.

Geographic layout of GWblogspot readership













Our esteemed Czech readers















So, we apparently have had 48 visits from Prague and 1 from a place called Hradex Kralove -- which is just inherently cool. Either some traveling soul was off on an excursion from Prague and just NEEDED to check GWblogspot while in Hradex Kralove...Or, we had some really confused visitor. (One who is not Xavier.)

But I can't just end this post with geographic analysis and some mild expressions of joy. No. I need to call someone out.

And who better to call out than the Czechs! So Czech readers, I'm calling on you to identify yourselves!

If it's just Andrew's friend checking 49 times, well...you seriously win some award. (Do you like Google card holders? They're a HUGE hit in class.)

But if there are other Czech readers out there (heck, I'll even extend it to others in non-Czech countries) it would be great to hear how you started reading GWblogspot, and what you think of it.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

What about all us non econ majors?

I'm always pleasantly surprised when I glance through a Hatchet article and think "Wow, I should actually read this article."

As a senior trying to figure out how I'm going to pay for grad school in the next couple of years, the article entitled "GW Preps for Loan Scare" easily caught my eye.

I'm not sure that the two weeks of finance that we covered in my econ classes were enough to understand the article:
The subprime mortgage crisis, which tore through the financial markets over the last year, has reached student loans. Officials at GW are wary, but confident that students here will be able to find loans to cover the University's sky-high tuition...

Student loans issued by brokers have traditionally been resold to investors on bond markets, since brokers rarely have the funds to cover the loan themselves. But the collapse of the market for home mortgages last year made such debt a pariah for investors, and student loans are the latest victim.
Eh?

By the end of the article, Bob Dylan lyrics popped into my head: "Something is happening here, but you dont know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?"

I consider myself relatively ready for the "real" world, but if i can't follow a Hatchet article, perhaps I'm not as ready as I think.

And just thinking about the current price of GW that many students have to finance through loans, I'm sure I'm not the only one who was alarmed.

Study Abroad. More staff. More results?

Thank goodness for a competent person on the job. Well done Nicole Capp. I’m thrilled to hear that the study abroad office will be adding more people to its staff.

"When you study abroad, it's a one-time thing - if something goes wrong, no one bothers to fix it. But I talked to other students, and we all would like a more competent Office of Study Abroad." Said sophomore Mackenzie Drutowski.

Exactly! As I sat in a high rise on Passeig de Gracia overlooking Plaza Catalunya, the number one tourist spot in Barcelona, I thought “Wow, I’m lucky to be here. But I wish I could check my email.” I was paying triple what my peers in the program were paying and the flaky snail speed internet isn’t what I signed up for.

I voiced my concerns in IES Barcelona Student Council and to a study abroad officer in person. Result? Clearly, I was not very effective. Look at this conversation with my friend who is in the IES Barcelona program this semester.

Christine: hahah yes
me: and the internet works? big shocker
Christine: I KNOW!
seriously
its weird that its working right now
it won’t be for long
IES sucks
me: it sucks cause like there is nothing we could do except complain about the internet, they fixed sometimes and then the new class comes in, knows nothing and still the problem exists
me: u there?
me: ???

End of conversation

So why don’t they listen? Does study abroad care what people think? Or are they done with you once they have the thousands of extra dollars that they profited off you? Why don’t we ask them? Email them at studyabr@gwu.edu or email Parent Services parents@gwu.edu. When they get angry parents calling, stuff gets done!