Saturday, January 31, 2009

What Should Chipotle/Qdoba Replace?

What is the worst part of J Street?
Which restaurant in J Street would you get rid of in order to have the delicious Chipotle or Qdoba?

Yaya's Kitchen?
Little Italy?
5th Ave Bagels & Deli?
Wow Wingery?
Or the buffet spot next to Little Italy that gets rotated a few times a year?

Vote in the Poll to the left of this post and let me know where you think Chipotle/Qdoba should go!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Qdoba vs Chipotle

Alright, since J Street is run by Sodexo, one of their National Brands is Qdoba Mexican Grill. It would probably be easier for GW to provide us with Qdoba over Chipotle. But should we settle for Qdoba?
Is it all or nothing?
Is Qdoba better than Chipotle?
Answer the poll on the left, and let me know what you think!
Discuss below!

GW Students Want Chipotle in J Street!

After discussing the idea of having a Chipotle in J Street with many students on campus, I decided to form an organized Facebook group to act as a catalyst for our plan.

Chipotle is one of the most popular restaurants in the country, and its popularity is still growing. It's better than YaYa's fake Chinese food, and the Kosher Deli that is hardly ever open. Chipotle would funnel in a lot more money to GW and students would actually enjoy eating in J Street.

I also created a Blog to act as an open forum for students who would like to see this amazing change happen to J Street.

We need everyone to jump on the bandwagon and help us make this change happen! As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Our Opinions Are "Awaiting Moderation" - Part 2

Last week I wrote a post concerning the GW Hatchet's blog commenting policy. The paramount concern: comments are subject to moderation when posted in response to stories appearing in the Hatchet's blog section. While I still believe that the moderation of comments hinder the integrity of a public forum, a recent email conversation with Eric Roper, the Editor in chief of the Hatchet, has settled some of my fears.

According to Roper, only editors and the Web Director have the authority to moderate comments. He added that in his tenure at the Hatchet he has never seen a comment edited in any way. In addition, as my reader Andrew pointed out, they did approve his comment rather quickly. Roper wrote that they accept criticism and even encourage it, which is the reason why they often post editorials and opinion pieces in the "blog" section.

For more justification as to why the Hatchet moderates their comments, Roper wrote the following:
Blogs are great because of their ability to foster discussion on a given issue. Occasionally, however, someone will post something profane or libelous about someone else, and we as an organization choose not to let those become part of our Web site. Just as we would not let anonymous and unchecked accusations into our paper, the same goes for our Web site. This also applies to mindless name calling -- which can reach critical mass during SA elections, for example.
I greatly appreciate Eric reading my post and replying with what I view as a thoughtful response. As I said before I still don't necessarily agree with their policy. Although admittedly some comment threads can get out of hand, each comment still contributes to the discussion, whether with merit or not.

Please express your opinions on this below! I promise they won't be moderated!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Good and Bad of Visiting Professors

While at GW, I've had full-time professors, adjunct professors, and visiting professors. I remember when I was applying here a few years ago that one of the many things that the admissions people talked about was how, because the school is located in the center of a fantastic city, we have the added benefit of getting visiting faculty from some of the best companies in all different fields.

But is that really the best thing? BusinessWeek, in their profile of the School of Business (located here) has a break down of faculty. Their report had this to say:
Full-time faculty : 67
Adjuncts and visiting faculty: 53
Permanent/tenured professors: 37

Almost half of the the professors in the School of Business, one of our most prestigious programs, are not full time faculty!

Visiting professors provide students with some of the best insight into their field of business possible. They are able to talk about subjects in detail that people not in their professions would be unable to speak of. And, they are also able to open doors to internships and jobs for the truly committed students.

That being said, our university needs to be more open to hiring full time staff. Part-time staff are, on the whole, forced to teach the same number of classes and provide the same resources to students as full-time faculty. This school is unfairly treating extremely well-qualified faculty, by preventing them from achieving full-time faculty status. And we are driving these professors away.

There is a reason why many visiting professors don't stay on as faculty members for more than a few terms. We are losing these valuable resources because are not giving them the credit (or money) they deserve.

Inaugural Festivities - Worth the cost?

To commemorate the Inauguration of this nation's 44th President, GW pulled out all the stops. To begin, the University put the campus on lock-down mode, hiring extra security and placing UPD on double shifts. Then came the Inaugural themed events around campus all weekend and the mass hysteria in prepping for the insanity on January 20th. But the most notable acts of The George Washington University were the Float in the Inaugural Parade and the GW Inaugural Ball. The money GW spent on the float was previously discussed in "Was GW Inaugural Float Worth Price Tag" and it was made pretty clear that the $88,000 was pretty ridiculous. Does our University really feel the need to spend money on such a unnecessary novelty? Yet, to add even more money into the Inauguration bill, The GW Inaugural Ball brought the University even further into the red. The GW Hatchet reported:
The event cost the University a total of $575,000, which includes renting the ballrooms, hiring security, providing a free coat check and coach bus transportation and absorbing some of the soft drink and water costs, said University spokeswoman Tracy Schario. Revenue from the ticket sales covered only two-thirds of the total cost, partially because the University did not expect virtually all of the tickets to be sold at the discounted Election Day price.
My rough calculations come up with GW losing a whopping $189,750 on its Inaugural Ball. So I ask some questions. Was it necessary to have 7 different Ballrooms? Where does the University make up for the lost funds? The Ball was a success for attendees. It capped off an unprecedented weekend with style and glamour. But was it worth it. Could the money have been spent somewhere else? Perhaps it could have been placed into the University's scholarship fund? I feel as if the ball was a bit overdone and the money could have gone to good use elsewhere. Here is a video of the Inaugural Ball. 


Stop hitting us up for money---that's what our tuition is for!

In case you didn't know, The George Washington University was ranked the second most expensive higher-learning instutition in the country for the 2008-2009 school year by Business Week.

When attending a University that has a $50,357 price-tag, I can't help but find an underfunded library disconcerting and a bit insulting. If our tuition dollars aren't sufficiently funding our library, one of every students primary tools, I have to wonder what it is funding.

In the Hatchet's Jan. 22 opinion, Mandatory library fee is not the solution, Patrick Ford argues,

"The nature of the library donation is unclear to most students and parents, who are left unsure about whether the donation is the library's source for most, all or only a fraction of its funds. This needs to be answered before any changes are made to the fee."

Thank you, Patrick. I am confused. I am confused as to why the school administration is hitting up poor college students for a $25-50 donation when they could use a much larger portion of our tutiuon money to fund the library. There must be funding in the budget that can be trimmed down, even just a little, and diverted to the library fund.

Student Association Executive Vice President Kyle Boyer's plan to add a $25 mandatory donation to our tuition makes absolutely no sense. His argument that student funding will reflect a responsible and committed student body is ludicrous. All that Boyle's plan would shows is that the University's allocation of tuition funds is irresponisble.

I'll leave you with one final thought. While GWU ranks number two on the list of most expensive colleges in the country, the university doesn't even make the Princeton Review's 2008 "Best College Libraries" list. Yet neither Harvard nor Princeton, universities with the first and second best libraries in the country, respectively, made Business Week's "25 Most Expensive Colleges."

What is going on?!?

It really doesn't make any sense at all.  Elite universities around the country, no, around the world, have been recording the lectures given at their universities for quite a while now.  And yet GW has no recording program whatsoever.  Or does it?  Trying to find out if GW had ever considered such a program, I did a google search.  Imagine my surprise when I found out that we DO have a recording program.  AND one of the classes that I took last semester was actually a part of it.  How come nobody in my class knew about it?!?  God knows.

Currently, the following classrooms have recording equipment installed and are "Colonial Cast" compatible:

  •  Duques 151
  •  Duques 152
  •  Duques 250
  •  Duques 251
  •  Funger 103
  •  Funger 108
  •  Government 101
  •  Governent 102
  •  Government 104
  •  Monroe B02
  •  Monroe 113
  •  Monroe 251
  •  Monroe 352
  •  Monroe 353
  •  MPA B07
  •  MPA 309
  •  MPA 310
  •  Phillips 110
  •  Rome 204
  •  Rome 459
  •  1957 E St, B12
  •  1957 E St, 111
  •  1957 E St, 113
  •  1957 E St, 211
  •  1957 E St, 213
For more information on how to get recordings of lectures in these classrooms, please click here.

Outsourcing My Education

There aren’t many GW students who willingly get up at 8am on a Saturday to walk to Dupont Circle for an extra class. Yesterday, I was one of them.

After three semesters of attempting to learn a foreign language and fulfill an Elliot School requirement, I was giving up on GW’s language department. Instead, I am now entrusting my basic Spanish education to a local foreign language institute.

My experiences at the language institute differed greatly from my experiences at GW’s language department. Like many GW students, I often have trouble registering for a section. You watch Gweb, beg the professor to sign you in, or occasionally play the “I need this class to graduate on time” card. Many students find there aren’t enough sections, and end up having a semester-long (or two) gap in their language studies.

Many language classes, especially in Romance languages, are filled with students at different proficiency levels. For example, in my Spanish 1 class there were three types of students:
  • Students (like me) who had never taken Spanish before
  • Students who had minimal exposure to the language in high school
  • Students who had spent years learning Spanish and cheated on the placement exam so they could get an easy A.
When this happens, the progress of students in the class becomes skewed, and it makes learning in an introductory language class difficult.

Perhaps the most difficult part of taking a language is the inconsistent course requirements. Some classes have a lot of graded assignments while others don’t, and it often isn’t clear what you’re supposed to turn in. Students at the same level often learn different things, a fact that becomes problematic if you have a department-wide final.

A quick trip to reveals that experiences within the language program varies greatly.

You have the good:
Senora is the nicest woman I’ve ever met. In that semester I learned more Spanish than my whole education. She took her time to stop, correct you, and wasn't afraid to call on everyone. I actually felt like we were a tight knit group by the end of the class. She has the biggest heart and will go out of her way to help anyone. TAKE HER CLASS

The so-so:
She is an excellent professor, only pitfall is that u sometimes leave the class unsure about what is due. She’s not always clear…has a lot homework.

And the bad:
He is basically the worst teacher I've ever had. He can sometimes be nice, but he plays favorites like crazy. He never collects or grades assignments, or IF he does, it’s totally at random... I also learned absolutely nothing in the class. Waste.

My class at the institute was a refreshing change compared to my experiences at GW. I didn’t have any problem getting into the class, course expectations were made clear from the beginning of the class, and everyone in the class was basically at the same level. Aside from learning a lot, I also had fun during class and I’m looking forward to returning back next week.

In such a globalized world, learning another language is a growing asset. Being fluent in another language opens up numerous job possibilities, especially if you’re willing to live abroad. As a large university that emphasizes being prepared for the realities after graduation, GW needs to improve its foreign language program.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Go Greek

This Monday, Spring Fraternity Rush starts on campus, and all Freshmen and Sophomores should stop by some of the events being provided by GW's Social Fraternities.

There are almost as many misconceptions about the Rush process as there are about Greek Life as a whole.

Going to a Rush event is not a commitment to join a particular organization, but simply a chance to introduce yourself to the brothers at GW and to learn more about the different chapters. Going to several chapters' houses throughout the week, and even multiple events in one night, is encouraged. Every chapter is different, and before committing, it is good to introduce yourself to multiple organizations.

Fraternities provide a community at college that no other student organization or group can offer, and membership in a fraternity cultivates friendships that will last for the rest of your life. Fraternities offer unrivaled leadership opportunities, a chance to get involved in the local community and national philanthropies, and provide personal and business contacts that will last well beyond college. Thanks largely to the alumni networks provided by fraternities, Over a Quarter of Forbes Super 500 CEOs are Greek.

Greek Life enables GW students to lead balanced lives, providing intramural sporting events, an academic support system within chapters, in addition to all-Greek social events, mixers between fraternities and sororities, and a wide range of parties sponsored by individual chapters.

If you think Greek life might be for you, Rush. If you have questions about Greek life, Rush. Even if you're skeptical, Rush. The worst that can happen is that you'll make some new friends and eat some free food. Who knows, it may even change your life. It changed mine.

One education for the price of two

Dear Dad,

Last week you called to inform me that you just signed your last check to GW. "Congratulations," you said. "You've done a great job."

Thank you, I said, for having paid what is an exorbitant amount for my undergraduate education.

I failed to inform you that it wasn't your last check.

When I applied for graduation this week, I checked a box that bills you for an additional $100. It's a special graduation fee, of course. Did you really think GW would let me leave without coughing up a bit more dough?

Yeah, there is probably some explanation for the fee. "Processing" is always a good go-to, but my personal favorite is "it costs money to function." That explains it.

Kudos to the university if it's as good as their reasoning for study abroad fees. (In case you forgot, you paid tuition in the ballpark of $18,895, a $400 study abroad fee, and $4,893 for housing. Oh and the latter wasn't for my housing in South Africa; it was housing for some random GW student. You're such a generous guy.)

When I inquired as to the justification of these fees, some representative in the study abroad office said:

“Students who go to GW sign up for four years, so GW budgets for four years.”
Again, very enlightening information.

Anyway, I wanted to extend a thank you for the graduation fee, and a pre-emptive thank you for the next fee that is bound to head in your direction.

Love always,

Friday, January 23, 2009

Was GW Inaugural Float Worth Price Tag?

The GW Hatchet estimated last week that putting together the university's inaugural float would cost around $88,000 in total, roughly $3,000 more than was initially allotted in the school's budget.

The expectation was that the project's hefty fee would prove its worth by generating good press and attracting future students to the university. Unfortunately, the float was featured on Fox News only briefly and was not shown by CNN or MSNBC. 

Student Association President Vishal Aswani praised the float in last week's Hatchet and did not seem to sweat it's cost:
"I think this project is a success in a thousand different ways you can look at it," Aswani said. "For us to creep over the $85,000 mark does not make that much of a difference to us."
But when people did look at the float, they were genuinely confused.

The Washington Post's David Nakamura writes, "Not since Izzy of the Atlanta Olympics fame has a design been as hard to figure out as George Washington University's inaugural float." 

The GW Hatchet's editorial writer was similarly unimpressed:
The design has been called everything from messy to downright bizarre. It included many elements that were meant to represent different aspects of GW. However, the hodgepodge result was confusing not only for people unfamiliar with GW, but it also left students scratching their heads.
See the float's design here, complete with a detailed explanation of its many parts. (Note: the large balloon globe featured in the design concept ripped before the event and was replaced by the American flag. Tell that to the Daily Colonial!)

Watch video of the float and GW students participating in the parade below:

Was the float worth two years of your tuition? Express your opinion! 

Money well spent?

View Results
Create a Blog Poll

Our Opinions Are "Awaiting Moderation"

When an average person thinks of a blog, they most likely think of an amateurish, unfettered stream of conciseness that while entertaining, cannot be trusted as a legitimate news source. People that think this are missing the point. Unfortunately, our own GW Hatchet seems to underestimate the intellectual philosophy governing the blogosphere.

Blogs like DailyKos and TownHall allow users to write their own blog posts and contribute to the front page, albeit for a very short period of time. More traditional sites like allow users to comment freely on posts appearing in the blog section. Interaction between bloggers in this model allows for the creation of a democratic public discourse.

Linking an article appearing on the Internet, and commenting on its content can be considered forwarding the original thoughts of the author, much like what our professors make us do in academic research papers. In this regard, limiting such ability to contribute to this discourse impedes the very essence of blogs - a free public forum for thought, debate, and criticism. If entering a forum of the masses is not your gig, may I propose you step away from the keyboard.

The GW Hatchet is our "independent" student newspaper. That being said, I was disappointed to find that upon commenting on a blog post appearing at, my comment did not immediately become published. It was pending moderation.

According to the Hatchet's "Blog Commenting Policy:"
In an effort to keep blog comments as substantive and mature as possible, The GW Hatchet reserves the right to moderate comments, removing offensive or incendiary language prior to online publication, including but not limited to the following: profanity, racial/ethnic slurs, sexually explicit language, or anything which may be construed as derogatory to a person or group of persons. Therefore, users hereby acknowledge and agree that The GW Hatchet may edit their comments, re-wording or deleting any part or parts of their comments without prior notification of the author.
What is to say that they won't reject a comment that is overly critical of their story? Or in that regard, what is to say that they will not change parts of a comment to distort the original intent of the author? Of course, these are hypothetical questions.

Do I honestly think the Hatchet rejects comments without justification? Not necessarily. However, I do feel that it is bad practice to censor the thoughts and opinions of your readers. Especially when the publication is a "student" newspaper, one that is independent and charged with informing and projecting the opinions of the student body.

If the Hatchet is going to have a "blogs" section on their site, and if they're are going to continue to claim to be "our" newspaper, they should allow users to submit comments free from moderation.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I was turned away at the gate...

Reports from the Inauguration say that thousands were turned away at gates for Blue, Purple and Silver ticket holders. I can confirm that because I was one of them.

The morning of the Inauguration, with my Purple ticket in hand, I smashed myself into the overcrowded metro and marched towards the Capitol. Directed by the only Police Officer I could find to enter the tunnel on 2nd and D, my girlfriend and I - still with high spirits - walked past the tens of thousands of people already in line to meet some former campaign staffers I had worked with half way through the tunnel. This was 7am. Fast forward 4 hours. We made it out of the tunnel only to find our gate was closed.

From discussions with Inaugural Committee staff and volunteers, as well as those lucky enough to get in, the problem was overcrowding. The gates were mobbed early on by people without tickets, or by people holding tickets which were designated for other gates. There was little security or personnel available to remedy the situation and the people without tickets refused to move, making it impossible for those with tickets to move forward to the gate. In addition, people without tickets were able to work their way into Blue and Silver sections.

So for those ticket holders that fought the good fight only to be turned away at the gates, grab a drink, sit back and bask in the warmth of the indoors, and enjoy the Inaugural address of our 44th President, Barack Obama.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

So Many Events!

I have decided that there may just be too many inaugural events. The GW Inauguration Website details all of the events going on both around campus and around the city.

In fact, for the Twentieth alone, the website lists all of these events:

Inauguration and Parade Viewing
Jack Morton Auditorium, Media and Public Affairs Building, B-03
805 21st Street, NW

Cloyd Heck Marvin Center, J Street and Hippodrome
800 21st Street, NW

The Pub, Ames Building lower level
Mount Vernon Campus
2100 Foxhall Road, NW

Members of the GW community are invited to view the swearing-in ceremony and parade. No tickets required.

2:30 p.m.

GW Float Marches in 56th Presidential Inaugural Parade

GW's float will participate in the 56th Presidential Inaugural Parade, which begins at the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building, proceeds along Pennsylvania Avenue, and ends at the White House.

Deconstructing the GW Parade Float, Washington Post Blog
GW Marches in History With 1949 Parade Float, GW Hatchet
Parade Float at D.C. Mayor’s View Stand, YouTube

At this point, the dilemma becomes which events provide me with the best opportunity to see and be a part of history. Do I go to the inauguration itself, though I don't have a ticket, or do I watch it on TV in the comfort of one of the many locations broadcasting it? And do I take the time that would save me to hurry over to the parade route to see Obama up close and personal?

Rumor has it they are capping the attendence to the parade at some low number like 300,000, but I can't seem to find any proof of that. And if so, is it worth it to try to go after the inauguration itself?

On an unrelated note, one event I know I will never regret standing in the cold to see was the "We Are One" Concert. I have never seen such a large group of people in person before, and was moved by the sheer amount of patriotism there. There were no democrats or republicans, just people enjoying some (fantastic!) music. Hopefully we'll have many more of these events in the next four years!

Inauguration Fringe Benefits

One plus about inauguration (other than the extended weekend, the upcoming Ball, a new Democratic President, and today's unforgettable "We Are One" concert): pedicabs on campus.

Mixed among the crowds and the MPs with their Humvees hanging out in front of my humble abode, I've been noticing a lot of these guys (and girls) peddling about on campus.

Take note, all you Colonials planning to partake in the extended nightlife options this long weekend. They're cheaper than cabs, and, from my experience, generally make for a more fun mode of transportation than your run-of-the-mill taxicab. Plus, they may be able to take you down streets that will be closed to cabs.

And now, for your ominous viewing pleasure:

Remembering Your Manners

As I type thousands of people are returning from We Are One, the Lincoln Memorial Concert that featured everyone from Beyonce to Bruce Springsteen. But instead of being a joyous celebration, for many people it turned into a testy and heated few hours.

People yelled, accusations were made, there were a few fights, and numerous individuals seemed to have forgotten their manners.

Given that inauguration is a large public event, there is bound to be security and traffic personnel. Rudely speaking to such personnel and not following their directions not only detracts from security measures but also fosters a negative atmosphere. Many personnel are volunteering their time, and are entitled to the decency and respect that they deserve.

Understand that this weekend’s events are going to be crowded and small spaces will be full of people. As a participant do everybody a favor and don’t get bad-tempered if people accidentally bump into you. If you’re sitting on a blanket don’t be surprised if people inadvertently step on it.

For those of you who try to bypass people who have camped out, please walk carefully. Yes, you have a right to participate in inauguration, but you don’t have the authority to trample over everyone. “Excuse me” and “sorry” need to be a part of your vocabulary.

Once you’ve reach your chosen spot act politely. Long hours of standing in cold weather are part of the inaugural experience, so it’s not an excuse to be grumpy. Use the extra time to bond with your fellow crowd members. Cattiness and name-calling aren’t acceptable social norms, and inauguration weekend is no exception. Yelling and shoving is not a part of the inaugural tradition, and participants should aim to keep it that way.

This country is facing some dire times, and for a brief weekend we have the chance to renew the nation’s spirit. In honor of this opportunity, try to remember your manners.

Getting to the National Mall on Tuesday

If you don't have an inauguration ticket and you are planning to walk to the National Mall on Tuesday morning, here is some information that may be of help to you:

  • The following access points have been identified as pedestrian-only routes to the National Mall:
    • E Street, NE from Massachusetts Avenue, NE to 3rd Street, NW
    • 7th Street, SW from D Street, SW to Independence Avenue, SW
    • 19th Street, NW from K Street, NW to DuPont Circle, NW
    • 3rd Street Tunnel (I-395) from New York Avenue, NW to SE/SW Freeway
    • Arlington Memorial Bridge from Virginia, around Lincoln Circle to Independence Avenue, SW
    • East Capitol Street, NE to North Carolina, SE to New Jersey Avenue, SE to I Street, SE
  • The following access points have been identified as pedestrian-only routes to the Inaugural Parade:
    • 6th Street, NW from K Street, NW to P Street, NW
    • 13th Street, NW from K Street, NW to Logan Circle, NW
    • East Capitol Street, NE to Massachusetts Avenue, NE
    • Arlington Memorial Bridge from Virginia, around Lincoln Circle to Henry Bacon Drive, NW

Also, there will be 2 bike valet stations for anyone considering that method of transportation.

Concert at capacity

The GW Hatchet is reporting that concert volunteers began turning people away from the mall entrances, saying the concert was at capacity. From my window, I have seen a steady flow of people coming out of the Foggy Bottom/GWU Metro station since about 11:00am.

If the concert was at capacity, with more people arriving today and tomorrow for the swearing in, estimates of 2 to 3 million visitors may have been low.

Corporate coffee beans, and other endorsements that suck

On January 12, The GW Hatchet made what, at first glance, seemed like an honorable attempt to encourage students to get caffeinated somewhere other than the Gelman Starbucks. But instead of suggesting locally owned coffee joints or DC establishments, reporter Tess Malone opted to point readers toward other corporate chains.

My problem with these alternatives isn’t about quality -- I actually don’t mind the coffee at any of them. What bothers me is that The Hatchet had a chance to connect students with our community by promoting good coffee at smaller, locally owned shops.

So where does she suggest I go for an off-campus coffee fix? Either Illy (think Italy), Cariboo (the one that looks like a ski lodge), Casey’s (the more local chain that sort of looks like a ski lodge), and finally Tryst (a real local joint, and a personal favorite of mine.)

Kudos to Malone for noting Tryst, which is actually my go-to coffee house in Adams Morgan when I want to lay out on a sofa and do some reading. The others, however, are too corporate for my taste.

My problem with these alternatives isn’t about quality -- I actually don’t mind the coffee at any of them. I just feel that as university students in a college town, we should contribute to what local spots haven’t yet been been overrun by big names. Moreover, our relationship with our neighbors in Foggy Bottom and other areas hasn’t exactly been ideal over the past several years, so we should try to pro-actively improve relations while we can.

So here are my suggestions:

Capitol Grounds
Pennsylvania and 21st

Decent coffee, tasty food, and friendly service. Make sure to check out the breakfast menu, it’s pretty good.

Aroma Cafe
Pennsylvania and 24th

Small shop, good coffee, and excellent salads and sandwiches.

GW Deli
G and 21st

Essential drinks, snacks and meals. Enough said.

And what about the dude who sells java in front of Kogan?

He offers good prices and a wide array of coffees and teas.

So if you get a chance to visit some of the more local coffee spots in and around Foggy Bottom, you won’t be sorry. The drinks and food will be delicious, and you’ll also be contributing to a stronger relationship between the GW community and local vendors.

Should I Stay? Should I Go?

The dilemma should I stay or should I go usually confronts GWU students as their alarm clock alerts them their 8:00am class is starting in minutes. For the Inaugural weekend, this question instead becomes a decision concerning schlepping to the National Mall at 4am with 2 million of your closest friends, or staying inside and watching the historic speech on your TV. If you choose to go, you have a few choices about getting to the mall - although all choices will be far from pleasant.

Metro: For those students lucky enough to have tickets to the swearing in ceremony, each seated and standing section is color coded and has designated metro stations. An important note is that you can only enter at the security gate designated for your ticket.
  • Orange Ticket Holders: Take Metro to Capitol South (Orange or Blue Line) Enter screening point at C Street, SE.
  • Blue Ticket Holders: Take Metro to Federal Center, SW (Orange or Blue Line) Enter screening point at Washington.
  • Purple Ticket Holders: Take Metro to Judiciary Square (Red Line) Enter screening point at First Street, NW and Louisiana Avenue, NW.
  • Yellow Ticket Holders: Take Metro to Union Station (Red Line) Enter screening point at Upper Senate Park between New Jersey Avenue, NW and Delaware Avenue, NE.
  • Silver Ticket Holders: Take Metro to Federal Center, SW (Orange or Blue Line) Enter screening point at Independence Avenue, SW at Third Street, SW.
The rumor is that you should allow 1 hour travel time while taking the metro. Keep in mind that certain metro stations (mostly on the Orange/Blue Line) are exit only from 4:00am to 10:30am on Inauguration day. You can find more information about exit/entrance only stations here.

Walking: If you don't have a ticket, it may be a good idea to walk to the mall. The Silver ticket section is behind the reflection pool. Behind the Silver section is where the general public will amass. This means that the Federal Center metro station (closest to the general public standing area) will be a nightmare. I would recommend walking straight down 23rd which will put you by the Lincoln memorial. That being said, prepared for huge crowds and a slow walk.

No matter how you choose to get to the ceremony (or if you decide to go at all) get ready for long lines, bundle up, and leave early.

To go, or not to go...that is the question.

As inauguration day nears and excitement grows, I am beginning to question whether or not I will come to regret my plans for Jan. 20. As a first-time voter and passionate supporter of President-elect Barack Obama in last year’s election, I feel that I have a real stake in this week’s celebration.
And I'm not the only one who is considering whether or not to brave the cold and the masses.
"Downtown is annoying enough on normal days--enter millions of tourists who aren't acclimated in a city that relies heavily on public tranportation. Right now the cons greatly outweigh the pros," Lucas Woods, a high school teacher and Silver Spring resident, said. "I may regret it sometime down the line, but I'll remember watching it on television warm in my apartment."

But with the city in a state of emergency and an obligation to work, it seems unlikely that I will find myself in a spot along the parade route.
I admit that after spending four years in the heart of the nation’s capitol, the prospect of missing my opportunity to witness one of the greatest moments in history is a bit disheartening. This is where my checklist of consolations comes in.

  • First, between my lack of an inauguration ticket and the crushing 2 million people that will be fighting for a glimpse of our President-elect, chances are I would leave the event somewhere between unsatisfied and disappointed.
  • Second, I am just getting healthy after a week of poor health. It’s not just going to be cold, folks. Temperature predictions are bitter thanks to an Alberta Clipper, which is a fast-moving Canadian storm system that can cause temperatures to drop by 30 degrees in as little as 10 hours, that is expected to sweep down from central Canada on Monday.
    Even “warming stations” close to the swearing-in on Capitol Hill will be providing televisions for people to watch the event.

This weekend I went to the American History museum and watched actors perform the likenesses of great American figures. For example, one actor dressed as Martin Luther King Jr. performed a stirring rendition of the late Civil Rights Leader’s “I Have a Dream Speech.” It was a way to participate in the celebration without necessarily being at the National Mall on Tuesday.
Despite my inevitable lack of attendance on Tuesday, I can’t say I feel as though I won’t be a part of Mr. Obama’s historic inauguration. I will be in the newsroom watching it and recording it for future generations—or out on the street documenting the reactions of others experiencing such a momentous event. I’m just as excited as any other patriot here in D.C. and I look forward to celebrating in my own way.

GW Professor's Daughter To Deliver Inaugural Poem

The Hatchet writes:
Elizabeth Alexander will recite an original poem at Barack Obama's inauguration on Jan. 20, becoming only the fourth person in modern history to be awarded the honor of reading at a presidential swearing-in ceremony. When her mother, Adele Alexander, learned her daughter would be following in the footsteps of famous poets like Robert Frost, Maya Angelou and Miller Williams, she was ecstatic.
Last semester I took Hist. 101 Civil Rights and Black Power with Professor Adele Alexander and couldn't be happier for her. Congrats, Professor.

Colonial Spirit ???????

I grew up in Los Angeles where nobody cares that the Rams left in 1994 and people are happy that the Raiders closely followed suit and left our city in 1995. In my hometown, football means Trojans vs. Bruins and everyone is invested in the college game. I grew up with a Bruins mother and a Trojans father. However, my mother's father was adamant in making sure I was a UCLA Bruin and not a (dirty) Trojan. For as long as I can remember, UCLA has held a spot close to my heart. I remember watching the UCLA v USC basketball games at Pauly Pavilion, I will never forget the UCLA v Stanford football game in 2006 where Drew Olson threw three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter for UCLA to remain unbeaten, and the uncontested, undoubtedly, and unprecedented best day of my life was seeing UCLA's 13-9 win over USC at the Rose Bowl to knock the Trojans out of the National Championship. 

I did not go to UCLA because I wanted to leave Los Angeles and experience something new. Flash-forward to January 2009. I am a George Washington University colonial and proud of it. But, when I talk to my friends at UCLA, USC, UNC, Syracuse, UC Berkeley, University of Kansas, and even University of Washington (whose football team went 0-12 this season), they have such pride in their respective Universities. I love GW, but my passion does not come close to theirs. I have concluded, and I would love someone to challenge me on this, that this is a result of the lack of school spirit revolving around our athletic program. GW Mens Basketball, which is arguably the school's most popular team, fails to fill the Smith Center for its home games and, on average, does not even hit half of its full capacity. "Gameday" is advertised around campus with flyers and banners but I have become accustomed to walk by them. Back in December of 2008, I wanted to go to a Womens Basketball game versus the Tennessee Lady Vols. I did not make it to the game for several reasons, but the most pressing reason was that I could not convince any of my close friends to attend the game with me. BUT I only wanted to go to the game to see Pat Summitt, future Hall-of-Fame coach. I had no desire to watch the GW team. 

On students are asked to disclose some stereotypes about GW. One student wrote ... 
GW: extremely pre-professional, career-oriented. Faculty/services: unhelpful, extremely bureaucratic. GW Students: very wealthy, little school spirit/enthusiasm.
 and when asked if those stereotypes are correct, the student replies ... 
For the most part, yes.
I do not have a solution in mind at this point, but I am going to try to go to every basketball home game until the end of the season, and if I figure anything out, I will let you know.