Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Cost of Living in DC

Recently, the Center for Housing Policy released a study pinning the District as the sixth most expensive rental market in America, just behind New York's Suffolk County. DC is by no means a cheap to live in, ranking sixth overall in Forbes annual America's Most Expensive Cities list. Moreover, DC has a median home price of $285,000, making it 25th highest market to purchase a home. Similarly, the average price of rent in the District was for a two-bedroom apartment was reported at $1,494. To make matters even worse for homeowners is DC's increasingly high inflation rate. In June of 2008, the inflation rate was 5.74%, up from 3.06% only a year before. Clearly, living in DC requires a significant budgetary commitment, yet it still remains one of the best places for young professionals.

"Do It In the Dark!"

This past Saturday, at 8:30 p.m. around the world was Earth Hour.

According to its site, Earth Hour began in Sydney, Australia as a protest initiative against climate change; 2.2 million homes turned off their lights.

GW, along with more than a hundred countries around the world, participated in the Earth Hour initiative. GW's "Do It In the Dark" consisted of a multitude of different events, including a Japanese-themed rooftop party in 1959 E St, a Battle of the Bands in Marvin Center, and an "Are You Afraid of the Dark" watching party in Munson. Even HellWell turned off its lights for the hour!

And, in traditional GW style, there's always extra incentive. The university sponsored an "Earth Hour Contest," planning to reward the dorm with the most lights turned off during the hour with a pizza party during reading days.

GW claims "sustainability" as one of its strategic incentives, boasting multiple action plans and events.

If you're interested in how to get involved with the next Earth Hour, the Earth Hour site lists ways to participate.

Did you participate in Earth Hour? Did the university do enough to make it happen? Did you do it in the dark?

Name the Octopus!

Have you ever watched the National Zoo's Octo-Cam? It's leading star is the zoo's new giant Pacific octopus, which has become quite popular over the past couple of months. The Zoo now invites Octo-Cam watchers and zoo visitors to help name its "newest charismatic cephalopod." The winning name will be announced at 2 PM on April 7th on the Octo-Cam and later on the Zoo's official Facebook fan page and Twitter.

The Zoo states that it is tough picking a name for the octopus because of gender. While many Zoo staff believe the giant Pacific octopus is a male, only time will tell until the Zoo is positive.
"This particular octopus is very active and not at all camera-shy," said Alan Peters, curator of invertebrates at the National Zoo. "Naming an octopus is always a tough decision, but each f these names is unique and has a special meaning."
The names to choose from are Olympus, Ceph, Octavius and Vancouver. The reason for the Olympic related names are because the octopus arrived from a Canadian organization right before the Olympics. Ceph relates to the octopus' class it belongs to, Cephalopoda. And Octavius the Octopus "is more than just a pretty, alliterative name." Oct means eight, the number of arms an octopus has.

Meghan McCain Comes to Campus...Finally

After much turmoil and postponements due to weather, Meghan McCain, daughter of Senator John McCain and acclaimed blogger came to GW to speak in the Jack Morton Auditorium at the School of Media and Public Affairs.

As I have written previously, McCain was supposed to come and speak during campus Pride Week to talk about her pro-gay marriage and gay rights stances while still being an active Republican. The College Republicans had agree to be a co-sponsor of the event until they discovered her topics, at which point they withdrew funding. Last Thursday, when she finally did come McCain as met my protests of the Young American Foundation (YAF) across the street in Kogan Plaza.

McCain spent her time on Thursday discussing the importance of civil rights and gay rights in this country. She explained her positions as a Log Cabin Republican, a republican who still supports gay rights, and separated her views from those of her father's and mother's.

“I do [support marriage equality], got that George Washington Young Republicans?”
McCain first rose to prominence during the campaign when she played an active role blogging for her father. Since then, she has been incredibly active on Twitter, including discussing this event in detail. Many blogs got the majority of their information about the event and her feelings towards the controversy directly from her tweets. She is now a staff blogger for The Daily Beast.

McCain tried to separate herself from stereotypical Republican talking heads and opinions. She tried to make her own views and personal beliefs the key, saying it is ok to be for gay rights and other Republican ideals at the same time.

P.S: On a personal note, I know it has been quite a while since I have posted due to some personal health problems and spring break. However, I am now on the mend and will be posting more frequently to make up for lost time.

Gelman Library Wasn't a [Major] Campaign Issue

I told myself that I was going to keep quite on all SA related issues for the rest of my time at GW. But, when my friend Ted Costigan asked me to appear on his radio show last night to comment on President-elect Jason Lifton's new promise to make the Gelman Library renovation his top priority, I broke the promise to myself. Wright10 criticized Lifton for this in his blog post, and I too question Lifton's decision to make the library his main initiative.

Having spent the entire month of February researching, brainstorming campaign issues, and prepping Lifton's opponent for the presidential debates, I know that the Gelman Library rennovation was never a major campaign issue. An alcohol amnesty policy was, campus safety was, reducing the rep tape at GW was, but the library wasn't. For that reason alone, I question why it would be his main initiative to this point.

Secondly, the details of how he plans to improve the library are pretty vague. The Hatchet article does mention the following:

Lifton said he plans to work with Ryan Last, founder of the Facebook fan page
"Get Gelman Going," which has gathered 1,163 fans, and the WRLC to explore the
possibility of relocating more books to an off-campus site to make room for more
study space.
However, the article also states that they already ship 20,000 books per year to the off site location. That's nothing new though, and it's not really an improvement that seems worth while.

Lastly, as the article also points out, the main issue with the library rennovation is the lack of funding for the project. It states that only $150,000 of the $5 million needed for the project had been raised in September. The issue is funding. In my opinion, it is not the job of the Student Association President to fundraise.

Stopping The Spam?

In accordance with the article, GW Students Stand Against Spam, written by Senioritis suggesting to get control over the GW spam is a novel idea!

Depending on the student, the repetitive Infomails that come through day in and day out will either be just two or three more emails to ignore and delete, or they will be useless emails, besides the closings and recent crimes, that clutter your inbox and blowup your phones for those of you who have Blackberries, iPhones, and other forms of smartphones. I remember over hearing one day when a person claimed that the Infomails are almost as annoying as the incessant Facebook notifications that come to our inboxes on a daily basis. Wouldn’t it be nice if students were given the option to opt out of receiving certain emails from the University? As senioritis points out,

“Outlined in their statement of principles is to separate emergency and time sensitive information from the “fluff”.

Well, this certainly does not seem to be the case. For those who are annoyed by inconsequential emails, you can follow the link and join the cause in hopes of pushing the GW administration to recognize that a policy change needs to be made.

Bike Time

The Districts Department of Transportation has announced it will be increasing the number of cycle lanes in the downtown area. This is a fantastic announcement for all those cyclists who have been dealing with aggressive drivers and dangerous crossings.

We have to hope this is just the start though. More cycle lanes are needed and the area around the GW campus is the perfect setting. Such a plan would encourage more cycling which is both a time saving and healthy hobby. Though we live in an urban city campus there is no reason why we cant encourage cycling. If you want to see DC from two wheels take a look at the bike routes that already exist.

Washington's Sakura

The Japanese have a deep emotional attachment to the spring season and, especially, the sakura—the cherry blossoms. For them, the beauty of cherry blossoms is its poignant reminder of the briefness of life—once the flowers reach their blooming peak, they start to fall down from the trees after a week. The flowers are also a messenger of new beginning—Japanese schools and businesses start their new year from April 1. Many people sit under the trees, accompanied by their friends, family, food and drinks. 

Even though you cannot open a beer bottle outside in D.C., as I went down for a stroll along the Tidal Baisin, yesterday, I found out that the people here were also celebrating the arrival of the new season.  
Few people, however, know that the idea to plant so many cherry blossom trees in Washington—and the money to pay for them—came from Dr. Jokichi Takamine. So here is a brief story of how the cherry trees came to Washington, D.C. 

Dr. Takamine, born in Japan in 1854, lived and worked in New York for years. He was the first person in history to isolate a human hormone—adrenaline—and to use it for medical purposes. Today, in the U.S., we know it by the name epinephrine. Doctors use epinephrine when patients are in cardiac arrest or to stop hemorrhaging; to deal with shock and allergic reactions; and even to treat asthma and glaucoma.

The company that he founded, Sankyo Pharmaceuticals, today known as Daiichi Sankyo, is the fourth largest pharmaceutical company in Japan and the 22nd largest in the world.

Helen Herron Taft, after becoming First Lady in 1909, decided that she wanted to create a public area in Washington where everyone could enjoy the outdoors. She thought of the recently-developed Potomac Park area and decided to plant Japanese cherry blossom trees there. The US Army Engineers found some trees in Pennsylvania and planted them.

Shortly thereafter, Dr. Takamine came to Washington to attend a meeting. He heard about Mrs. Taft and the Japanese trees so, when he met her, he asked: “How are your trees coming along, and how would you like 2,000 of them?” 

For political reasons, Takamine knew that it would be inappropriate for him—as a private businessman—to be out in front on this. So the offer was put into official channels, and Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo made the gift.

When the trees arrived the next year, 1910, the trees were infested with a number of diseases and insects. The trees had to be burned so the infestation would not spread. Dr. Takamine was not concerned. He again stepped forward and offered to pay for a second shipment—this time not 2,000 trees, but 3,000.

Well-off financially and probably the most famous and respected Japanese in America at that time, Jokichi Takamine continued to do everything that he could to promote better understanding between the land of his birth and the land that had given him such great success.

Dr. Takamine died in 1922 and is buried in New York. His creation—epinephrine—continues to save hundreds of thousands of lives today. And the trees that he paid for continue to contribute to the great beauty of the Nation’s Capital.
The flowers are still in their gobuzaki—half-bloomed-state—but over the next week, the flowers will be in full bloom. The National Park Service predicts April 4 as this year’s peak bloom date.  

U Street Music Hall Opens

Prominent D.C. DJs, Will Eastman and Jesse Tittsworth, recently opened up a dance club on U Street, in the Cue Bar's old venue, located between 11th and 12th streets.

The idea to open the venue started out as a joke after a friend suggested the idea, according to the Washington Post. But Eastman says that "there wasn't an affordable, no-frills dance club in D.C." and so he jumped at the opportunity when a spot opened up on U Street.

The club's Facebook page says this about the venue:

No pretense, no dress code, no bullshit. Come to dance. Our wooden dance floor in huge and our sound system is bangin'.

The club is partly being run by Eric Hilton and Farid Ali, of Eighteenth Street Lounge, and was designed by Brian Miller, whose designed other D.C. favorites like Josephine in the past.

Though Eastman and Tittsworth will DJ every now and then, they will also host other notable national and international DJs to spin.

According to UrbanDaddy, the bar offers five domestic beers on tap, and grilled cheese or sausage to order. But the main point of the club is to, of course, dance.

See one of Eastman's more popular tunes, "Feelin'" below:

Saturday, March 27, 2010

4-Ride and Student Safety

There has been a lot of talk here on GWBlogspot recently about crime happening near and on-campus. Most of the discussion surrounds the endless infomails we get about crime and whether they accurately portray how often crimes are actually perpetrated on-campus. Obviously, it would be na├»ve to say crime never happens here. After all, our campus is in the middle of a city, and crime is going to happen. The conversation shouldn’t be about whether our infomails are doing a good job of telling us about crime, but how we can go about keeping these crimes from happening in the first place.

While curbing crime in an urban area is no easy task, I propose that one thing we can do that will alleviate the problem is expand 4-Ride services. 4-Ride was, after all, designed with student safety in mind:

The George Washington University Escort Service -- a fleet of escort vans -- is designed to enhance safety and peace of mind for members of the GW community when they must walk alone after dark and are not near a Colonial Express shuttle bus stop.
But 4-Ride, as it exists right now, is inefficient and ineffective: I have heard (and experienced) horror stories involving waiting half an hour or more on a Saturday night for an escort car to arrive, and then not having enough seats for everyone in your group. 4-Ride needs to be more efficient so that students remain safe while travelling around campus and the surrounding area. If students are not confident that a 4-Ride car will show up in good time, they won’t use this preventative measure; ergo, 4-Ride needs to be improved in order to improve student safety.

My proposal is twofold:

First, the GW administration should add more cars to the fleet in order to cut down on wait time. Simply put, more cars can service more students.

Second, the area of service should be expanded. Right now, the furthest from campus 4-Ride will take you is around 21st and M, which puts you approximately nowhere near anything interesting. 4-Ride’s current area of service is so restrictive that people going off-campus are not at all inclined to use the service, especially if their wait time is longer than the time it would take to walk there themselves, thus putting themselves in danger (most people, psychologists tell us, will put convenience over safety). I’m not saying they should be taking us up to U Street or anything – that would be such a huge area of service so as to stretch the fleet too thin, eliminating the positive effects of adding cars to the fleet – but the area of service needs to increase by some amount in order to make the service more convenient for students.

It is a matter of both student convenience and, more importantly, student safety that we expand 4-Ride services. Please join this Facebook group and sign the petition urging the GW administration to tackle this issue.

GW Students Stand Against Spam

Last week something got started, a small, obscure facebook page called “Stop the Spam GW – Keep Your Inbox Clean.” The facebook page, and the accompanying website,, advocate changing the GW Email policy to reflect the current technological climate.

Stop the Spam GW is dedicated to keeping your inbox clean. Over the years we have noticed how many useless and unimportant emails with which GW has cluttered our inboxes. For too long, students face cluttered inboxes filled with unnecessary emails from GW, we want this to stop!
Outlined in their statement of principles is to separate emergency and time sensitive information from the “fluff” the basketball games, the study abroad fairs which while important, organizers claim do not belong in the same category as university closings.

Currently, all InfoMails contain a link at the bottom of the email to the GW Email policy, however a test of this link on March 27, 2010 results in a Page Not Found. A google search for the official document title noted at the bottom of InfoMail “The George Washington University mass e-mail policy and procedure” results in a page liking to the policy, which also results in a page not found.

Photo Credit 1
Photo Credit 2

Fixing Gelman: A Flawed Plan

It has become clear that SA President-elect Jason Lifton has no idea what is most important to GW students. He has states that his number one priority will be making improvements to Gelman Library. We have more pressing issues than wasting money on a few more desks. Let's fix dining, fix the ever-problematic residence halls, or continue to improve academic advising. Last time I checked, there's plenty of space to study in Gelman and since I'm writing this on a near-empty floor, I'm pretty sure I'm right. Even if Gelman isn't your kind of thing, Eckles is as close to an uninhabited building as you're likely to find in the District. Even then, where's the creativity in finding places to study. A library isn't the only option.

Lifton's solution to increasing study space is affront to academics. He wants to move more book to the current off-site facility to put in more desks or whatever he wants. University librarian Jack Siggins has said:
The demand by students for study seating in Gelman competes with the need to have stacks, so we constantly have to decide what books we can move to storage in order to make more room for seating
Having access to books is the whole point of a library. Unless the goal is to digitalize the books of the library (which I must say would be a more appropriate priority if one wants to fix Gelman), then removing books makes no sense. This will lead to a longer wait time to receive a book, which is never a good thing.

I presume that Jason as made Gelman a priority because the Facebook group, "Get Gelman Going" was created and had a large number of members. I wasn't ware that 1,187 students, a pretty small number in comparison to the total GW population, joining a Facebook group really mattered. Lifton taking it seriously turns good activism into idiot activism.

Having seen the pictures of the proposed renovations to the first floor of Gelman, "waste" seems to be an appropriate noun. Any renovations before other, more important issues will probably leave us with more problems. Just leave them to the next SA President. No doubt they will be fixed then.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Breaking News: State Radio to Headline Fountain Fling

Late last night, Program Board announced via their Twitter account that Boston-based pop/rock band State Radio would headline thing year's Fountain Fling to be held on the Mount Vernon campus on April 24th.

State Radio opened for The Dave Matthews Band in 2008.

They recently sold out 3 shows at Washington's 9:30 club.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


According to today's press release, President George W. Bush's white house press secretary Dana Perino is kicking off GW's own Graduate School of Political Management's 2010 Distinguished Speaker Series.

The series first installment will be held in the School of Media and Public Affairs building's Jack Morton Auditorium at 6:30 p.m. this coming Monday, March 22.

Perino is now a Fox News political commentator and Burston-Marsteller's chief issues counselor, said the press release.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman and GW alum Mary Schapiro will speak at the Law School Diploma Ceremony on May 16.

According to the press release,
GW Law School Dean Frederick Lawrence said of Schapiro:

"Her passion for public service and willingness to take on the challenges of
these economic times will undoubtedly inspire our graduating class."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Foggy Bottom is not Dangerous, Racial Profiling Is.

I’m very thankful that GWblogger64 has articulated his reaction to an article that I consider to be convincing, misleading, well-intentioned, and dangerous. Have a look at the article, and see if your reaction was similar to GWblogger64s:

Is it just me, or does it seem that the spur of criminal acts lately on and around campus are progressively getting worse? The recent thefts of the cell phones in GWU residential areas and the laptop from the Gelman Starbucks has struck me the most.

Here’s where the Hatchet staff—in the news or opinion sections—needs to step in and say: “No, none of this information suggests an escalating trend. These are just things you should be conscious of—in a Podunk-town mall or in a GW Starbucks.” That didn't happen. Here are my problems with this article:

  1. I looked at the Metropolitan Police website. In the area 207 mentioned in the article, there is no change between the 60-day period mentioned and the same period last year, although overall, all crimes have dropped by more than 40%. If you take a 1500 foot radius surrounding the library, you’ll find that crimes are down from last year, including categories related to robbery, by more than 50%. This area is much safer than the surrounding city, and even the relatively few crimes mentioned mostly occur along the outskirts of campus.
  2. The term suspicious is never defined, but Wheeler-Moore claims that they will be focusing on suspects, “[Many of them] are young black males between the ages of 13 all the way up to 20.” “Many of them” is an addition by the reporter. It would have been nice to have the context or the actual words, considering this is the closest we come to a definition of “suspicious” and “shifted-focus.”
  3. The reporter refers to University alerts, most of which are not investigated and have no conclusive suspects or witnesses aside from the alleged victim. I will remind you that students are required to file a report when they redeem most warranties for stolen property, and they are always asked to give a description of the suspect when appropriate.
  4. University alerts are just alerts, and they only represent a small fraction of university crime reports. This should never be used as an indication of overall safety. This might just mean that students are communicating with campus police rather than metro police, or it might mean that emails are being sent based on changing philosophies about what constitutes an immediate danger. None of these street cases are still listed on the advisory website (although there are plenty of snow warnings still up). The emails are better-safe-than-sorry precautions.
  5. Wheeler-Moore explains: “We’re having our officer’s stop [suspicious groups] and briefly speak with them and ask them for their information and what they're doing." Based on the description of suspects mentioned earlier, I see no significant difference between this and racial profiling.
  6. Most importantly: we are talking about what Lev Trubkovich, the GW senior interviewed, correctly labeled “crimes of opportunity.” Most of these “street robberies” involve a young man who quickly grabs a phone or piece of jewelry and runs. This happens everywhere and only represents a danger to our wallets. Also, these crimes can not be proven or prevented, except by our own careful vigilance. It’s ludicrous to claim that preemptive tactics will do anything but antagonize our neighbors.

People drive defensively so others don’t smash their fenders, we should also handle ourselves in public defensively. Remember, we are the outsiders here—considering that a pitiful percentage of GW population is made up of DC students—so why should people be harassed in Foggy Bottom when they can go anywhere else in the city and look like your average resident? Let’s get some perspective: an army of people in red coats, skin-tight pants and riding boots was enough to make Paul Revere suspicious, so should we put the trendy female population of GW on watch?

An education is supposed to help us dismiss our assumptions and stereotypes. This has to continue outside of the classroom, and articles like this are a disservice to people like GWBlogger64, who should be made familiar with his new city rather than afraid of it.

What do we want?...HEALTH CARE!!

When do we want it? NOW!

I just got home to see this outside my apartment on 22nd street:

A group of labor unions is joining together today for a protest/rally organized by HCAN (Health Care for America, Now) to support a strong health care bill. The rally is taking place outside of the Ritz Carlton on 22nd street, where insurance companies are gathering for a meeting on how to kill health care reform. The message from HCAN is that they're here to arrest the insurance industry! I saw shirts for AFT (American Federation of Teachers), AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and SEIU (Service Employees Industry Union).

While labor is often a strong demographic for Democrats and progressive issues such as health care reform, this particular policy debate has been problematic in terms of gaining labor support. Obama's proposed "Cadillac Tax" on the most expensive health care plans would be a hard hit on some well negotiated labor health care plans. Labor is out here showing support for passing reform, and pressing the congress to make it as strong as possible.

If you don't have classes or midterms to study for, come up to 22nd and L and work on your rally cries!

Updated 2:31pm:Protest has cleared out but it was pretty rowdy. The protesters announced a citizens arrest on the insurance companies meeting inside. We had a pretty good view from above and our estimate was at least 800 people came out. They left a pretty powerful trail of rally signs and chalk drawings behind them:

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Diaries of A New Kid On The Block

Is it just me, or does it seem that the spur of criminal acts lately on and around campus are progressively getting worse? The recent thefts of the cell phones in GWU residential areas and the laptop from the Gelman Starbucks has struck me the most.

Being new to GWU’s campus, I am unfamiliar with the criminal activity that goes on. On the other hand, ever since I became a victim of theft via gunpoint my freshman year at my alma mater, crime and violence on any campus has always been a concern of mine.

Has the crime activity here on campus remained consistent, or has it gotten worse in recent times? Does anyone think that the spur of crimes lately are a result of the recent economic downturn, and if so, can anyone assume that it is only going to get worse? According to the Hatchet,

Six robberies have been reported in police service area 207 in the month of February, according to the Metropolitan Police Department's crime map Web site, compared to one in January and three in December. Many reported incidents have occurred within the vicinity of the Foggy Bottom Metro station, and MPD officers have repeatedly mentioned the public transit stop as a means robbers use to flee the area.Are there any suggestions that upper classmen can make to newer students unfamiliar to the campus in order to help keep themselves safer and less of a target?

Are there any suggestions that upper classmen can make to newer students unfamiliar to the campus in order to help keep themselves safer and less of a target?

Is there anything different that UPD can or should be doing in order to keep the criminal acts at bay?


New Kid on the Block

WRGW News-- a go-to GW news source?

We've discussed The Daily Colonial and The Hatchet, but besides getting critiqued on its election coverage, we haven't really pondered whether or not WRGW News is considered a go-to place for campus news.

Sure, many of us may not be big radio listeners and tune into our campus radio station, but why don't we consider WRGW News like we do The Daily Colonial or The Hatchet?

Their website, in blog form, seems to be updated daily, with maybe the exceptions of weekend posts. (Their last post was this past Friday).

But the real question is: what is WRGW News lacking in its appeal to our need for campus news?

It has almost everything one could ask for: a savvy streamlined website, embedded videos (their latest an interview with Student Association President-Elect Jason Lifton), and a varying range of coverage (latest posts cover everything from metro delays to an opera performance at the Kennedy Center).

So then we must ask why WRGW News hasn't been discussed as a news source; is it because it isn't considered a main player in the game? Or has it just simply been overlooked by this blog's contributors?

The Daily Colonial?

Senioritis said he is a non-Hatchet reader, but my habits are much different. I would go as far as to say that I am a Hatchet-nerd, receiving their email-updates and checking the website frequently between Monday and Thursday. It is my experience that many students at GW do the same. Because of my appreciation for the Hatchet, I started contributing to its Opinions section last month.*

Then what is the “Daily Colonial?” As a junior, I only just heard about it because a friend began doing photography for them. After checking out their website, they explain that the online paper was founded in 2004 to fill the need for daily information.

Doesn't the Hatchet already do the same thing? The Hatchet may only be printed twice a week, but they update news daily.

The paper also boasts being linked to USA Today. A fun fact, maybe, but that still doesn’t prove its journalistic standards.

Upon closer inspection, the daily paper seems to actually be turning out fewer articles than their rival.

Don't get me wrong--I'm glad there is more than one news outlet on campus, even if some are more popular than others. But, if the Daily Colonial wants to gain more readership, it should try to bring something different to the table, and fill the "niche" it says it does.

* Disclaimer: Although I do contribute to the Hatchet's opinions page, I am in no way am speaking on behalf of the Hatchet.

What's the Real News?

This semester I became a Hatchet reader. While reading, I have been asked if many people actually read the Hatchet. I usually say yes, but after the past few issues, I am more inclined to say no. Building off of Senioritis' post, The Hatchet has more work to do than just add more details to its stories. How about add some pertinent stories that concern the undergraduate population? Especially those revolving around the Student Association, who should have an impact on students.

This week's issue featured another form of social media to stalk people. They reported the Student Association's recruitment of GoodCrush, "a public online forum where users can write messages to their crushes in the hopes of discovering mutual attraction." The S.A. brought GoodCrush to GW, to allow students to reach their crushes without having to face embarrassment of rejection.

I use the word impact lightly when describing the S.A.'s importance. Most Hatchet reports merely report penalties from the JEC or the winner of the election. But what is the S.A. doing for us? An article like GoodCrush just makes the Student Association even less important in students' lives. Why should students care about what the S.A. does when the Hatchet shows a ridiculous announcement made.

In light of recent elections, I'll cut the Hatchet some slack when it comes to highlighting candidates, but throughout the year, there has been minimal information on the accomplishments made. The new constitution? That's a big deal, maybe not to most students, but Hatchet writers need to write to them, and make them understand why it is important.

Hatchet: please let us know what the Student Association is actually accomplishing this year. It might actually make students take the organization more seriously in the first place.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Hatchet, maybe add some details

I am not an avid Hatchet reader, in fact “non-Hatchet reader” would be a better description, but out of necessity for this blog post, I ventured over to the Hatchet website and found an article which exemplified why I choose not to read campus news. Justin Kits’s March 4, 2010 article “Proposal could strip research profs of vote” lacked analysis and demonstrated a lack of understanding of the topic which was then passed onto the reader.

First, if there is an institution that the GW community cares less about than the Student Association it is the Faculty Senate.

Next, the article takes a very wordy approach to saying something very simple, that the resolution would bring the School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS) in line with the rest of GW schools.

In non-GW Medical Center programs, research faculty are not allowed to vote on certain governance issues. But many faculty members in the SPHHS - which is a part of the medical center - are research-based, so stripping them of the ability to vote would take the rights from a significant number of faculty members.

If my above understanding is a misinterpretation of the problem, then the author did a poor job explaining it; and if I am correct then the author spent a lot of time explaining it in order to fill space.

This article is online, and Hatchet editors failed to provide any links to readers where they can either read the resolution, or obtain futher information from the SPHHS and the Faculty Senate, information I found with a simple Google Search.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Journalists Love Journalists

If there's one event that will always be covered in the media, it will be the ones which glorify of their own profession. In Thursday's edition of The GW Hatchet, a story was reported on an event at the Elliott School of International Affairs which occurred Monday night. Three war correspondents from major newspapers (two from the Washington Post, one form the New York Times) described the difficulty of reporting from war zones.

During the period of time between editions of the Hatchet, Monday to Wednesday, six Elliott School-sponsored events occured:

1. Workers Without Borders? Culture, Migration, and the Political Limits to Globalization

3. Film: God Grew Tired of Us

4. Invisible Children: Film and Discussion of the Conflict in Northern Uganda

5. Forecasting and Tracking Precursors to Violence in Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and the North Caucasus: What We Knew, When We Knew It, and Why It Matters

Not to mention that there were many other events at other schools within GW. Of all of these events, the Hatchet covered only two, the talk with the Iraqi Ambassador and the talk with the war correspondents. It is understandable to cover the talk with Ambassador Sumaida'ie, as it is not every day that Ambassadors speak here. But there were four other events to cover, and the Hatchet just happens to choose the one about journalists. The article did not even make the top 10 Most Popular articles, so it is apparent that nobody cares. We all know they love to write about themselves, but maybe if they spent a little more time covering other important events and less time glorifying their profession, we might actually take their publication seriously.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Breaking News: GW Hatchet Names New Editor-In-Chief

Tonight, the editorial board of The GW Hatchet named current Assistant News Editor Lauren French, as the new editor-in-chief for the 2010-2011 academic year. Check back for more details.

Monday, March 1, 2010

GW Considers Increasing Size of Virginia Campus

George Washington University Executive Vice President and Treasurer Lou Katz stated that the school is currently deliberating expanding the size of its Virginia campus, hoping to transfer many of the administrative offices outside of the District. Earlier in 2009, the university moved the tax and financial aid offices to the Ashburn, Virginia campus, and hope to continue the trend in 2010. Katz outlined the reason behind the move, explaining:
We will continue to move more of the administrative functions out of Foggy Bottom and onto the Virginia campus... It also allows us more freedom for how we move people around campus. The goal of this is to create more research space, more educational space and more administrative space out there.
Although Katz is seems optimistic that the move will occur, the Board of Trustees has yet to debate the matter. The GW Hatchet expounds on the issue:
Katz said the University is not certain it will purchase the building, saying that GW is gathering additional information on the property before they make any recommendation to the Board of Trustees. The board must approve all financial decisions the University makes.
George Washington owns four buildings on the Virginia campus, which, according to the Hatchet, has increased by 25 percent in size within the calendar year.

Food Rage!

In the opinion section of the Hatchet there is an article on GW food supplier, Sodexo. The article was highlighting the poor quality and overpriced food that occupied J Street, and stating that when the University's contract with Sodexo runs out then there should be a change in supplier.

I completely agree with the article in the sense that there is a problem with J Street and the Sodexo outlets there. They are all over priced and food seems both unhealthy and of a poor quality. However the solution the article emphasizes is a change in the supplier, pointing out Aramark as an option, something which seems crazy.

After successfully highlighting the key problem at J Street, Peter Horan fails to point out a solution to that problem:

"The real outrage is that this Sodexo food court is disguised as a benefit to students, and included in everybody's bill! Each freshman must pay $1,400 per year to the program, while sophomores are required to pay $500. Based on GW's enrollment, that guarantees Sodexo revenues of roughly $4,750,000 at minimum! The one power consumers possess is where they choose to spend their money, but at GW, we don't seem to have that luxury."

The system in place at the moment, and the solution given by the article, have and will always create a monopoly where students are given no choice where and how they spend their money. As an international student, I never expected to see such blatant market authoritarianism in the so called 'land of the free'. If an example was need about how a so called 'free market system' can be exploited, look no further than the 10 year contact between Sodexo and GW.