Friday, April 30, 2010

AU Gives Students SmarTrip-Enabled IDs - GW Should Follow

Last February, the Hatchet reported that American University was beginning to test a new student ID card that would give students access to the DC metro via SmarTrip.  This month, the Eagle - AU's student-run newspaper - is reporting that this successful program is being expanded to 300 AU students:
Housing and Dining will distribute 300 of these hybrid cards on a first-come, first-served basis. All non-graduating students are eligible to participate in the program.

SG has worked with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority since last June to provide a Metro discount for AU students. The pilot program will provide data on student ridership that is necessary to determine the cost of subsidizing a possible student discount. The pilot program will be in effect from April until October, according to SG President Andy MacCracken.

A 20-card pilot program has already taken place to make sure the cards work, he said.

“We’ve so far had a 100 percent success rate,” he said. “We’re moving forward with an expanded pilot program.”
So not only is AU testing a SmarTrip-student ID hybrid, but they're also considering funding a student metro discount for its students. 

I don't believe that this discount is necessary - even with the recent fare hikes, the metro is still much less expensive than taking a cab or riding the bus.  But enabling students to use their school ID cards as SmarTrip cards would make it much more convenient for students to access the metro.  And with GW currently revamping its GWorld cards to give it a tap-and-enter system similar to that used by SmarTrip cards, now is the time for GW to follow in AU's footsteps and give its students metro access on their GWorld cards.

We're not asking for a discount: we're just asking the school to take this opportunity to give students a way to easily access the metro without having to buy a separate metro card.

A Facebook group on this topic has gained 250 members in less than two weeks.  If you believe in this cause, please join us, and sign the petition expressing your support for a GWorld card with SmarTrip capabilities.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Like Free Stuff? How About Free Coffee During Finals?

There are a lot of long term, challenging activism proposals floating around out there. Just two days ago, we set out to make a simple and practical change for students during finals: free coffee. This year the Student Association was able to extend study hours in certain locations on campus, but let's take that one step further. The University should provide students with this necessary component during our stressful exam preparation.

Let the GW administration know what YOU think. Sign our petition to Executive SA President Julie Bindelglass and University Librarian Jack A. Siggins.

In a few days our fan page has soared past 50 members and well on our way to 100 members, help us get there! Become a fan today!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Green GW's Vehicles: Update 2

In yesterday's Hatchet, there was an article about GW's Climate Action Plan.

The plan won't be released until May 15th- but I'm curious to see what it will hold for the future of GW's transportation.

Meghan Chapple-Brown, the director of the Office of Sustainability, is reported as saying:

"If it weren't for our young leaders, we probably wouldn't see change happening as quickly as it does," Chapple-Brown said. "Our students here at GW have that potential for leadership; not only do they have that potential, but they are demonstrating that they know how to be leaders. Change has to do with painting a picture of the future we want to be a part of, and our young people can see that future much more clearly."

Here's to hoping she sticks by this statement, and Green's our Vehicles!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Green GW's Vehicles: Update

In my campaign to help Green GW's Vehicles, I began with writing letters to President Knapp and the Office of Sustainability.

Sophie Waskow, a staff member at the Office of Sustainability, responded to my letter in an email. In the email, she said:

While we recognize that transportation amounts to only 6% of our carbon footprint, we know that it is still an area that we need to and will address through our Climate Action Plan. We look forward to exploring options around biodiesel and please let me know if you would like to work together on this.

Based on information gathered from the American College & University President's Climate Commitment's carbon-footprint information on GW, and the EPA's estimation of the yearly carbon emission of cars- I found that 6% of GW's carbon footprint equals the yearly carbon emission of 1483 cars.

What do you think of this response? Do you think the school is taking the issue of transportation seriously? Or do you think this is a blanket-response email?

Reflections of a Senior

In one of my last posts I have decided to impart some wisdom onto those impressionable underclassmen out there in the blogosphere.

Don’t get too stressed over anything at GW, there are very few things here that are worth stressing over. Of course, your financial aid falling through, failing a class (or coming close to failing), and not getting housing are things that might seem like the end of the world, they are not. No matter how bad it gets with whatever it is there is always some other way, some alternative to whatever situation you are in that might prove a good solution if you just sit back and look. Too often GW students think that they are the masters of the universe and that everything out there bows before them and lead them towards some form of brash action; sorry to disappoint all of you but often you do more harm than good in the long term.

Democrats- Republicans are not the enemy. Republicans- Democrats are not the enemy.

You have been babied here; fixit comes in and (sometimes) repairs your running toilet, replaces a light bulb, or unclogs a leaky drain. Learn to do some of these things yourself, go out and buy a basic tool kit with a hammer, pliers, and a screwdriver, a roll of duct tape, and can of WD-40, tools in hand you will be fine. If something breaks you can fix it, and if you cannot do it with those basic tools look online for what you need and make a project out of it. You and you roommates will have fun.

Take a class outside your comfort zone; take Modern Yiddish Literary Classics in Translation, Modern Dance, or Japanese Swordsmanship. You will learn more about you than you will about the topic (not that you will not learn a lot about dance). You will also get to meet a lot of interesting people.

That’s it, I am on my way out the door facing unemployment, homelessness, and a degree in History (what do I do with that?) but on May 16 we “walk” at university commencement, hear Michelle Obama and her attempt to inspire us after giving us one last prerequisite for her appearance, and then….

Photo Credit 1

College Students Addicted to Social Media, Says Study

A study out of the University of Maryland says that college students are addicted to social media and use the same diction as drug addicts to describe their withdrawal from it.

200 students were asked to abstain from social media, including Facebook, Twitter, texting, and online instant messaging for 24 hours. At the end of the experiment, the students wrote blogs reported feeling anxious, panicked, angry, and antsy throughout the day. The also claimed to have felt disconnected from their friends, and reported feelings of longing and loneliness. The study essentially found that students suffer a high level of anxiety after only a few hours of being separated from social media, and an unhealthy level of anxiety after 24 hours of being without the technology.

The study looked deeper and also determined that students expressed feeling ignorant of popular culture and things such as television shows and news items, suggesting that college-age students rely on social media for the bulk of their information now.

Do you think you are addicted to social media? Would you be able to go 24 hours without Twitter, Facebook, texting, instant messaging, blogs, and YouTube?

Caps Lose in Game 5

The Washington Capitals lost to the Montreal Canadiens, 2-1 in Game 5 on Friday.

The Caps currently lead the seven-game series, 3-2. The Caps are a first seed team, while the Canadiens are an eight seed team.

Couch Boudreau was vocal in his disappointment of the team after the loss. The DCist reports him saying:
We have Game 5 in our building, and we play like crap for the first ten minutes, and the game's over.
The Canadiens scored the two goals within the first seven minutes of the game.

The NHL playoffs are still in conference quarterfinals, the first of four rounds, with the last being for the Stanley Cup.

Game 6 is set for Monday, April 26 at 7pm, and will be played in Montreal.

Some highlights from Friday's game if you missed it:

Saturday, April 24, 2010

2010 PIKE Fireman's Challenge

Today was GW fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE)'s annual philanthropy event, Fireman's Challenge. The event is held each year in University Yard with each sorority competing to pull their weight in various competitions.

Fireman's Challenge caps off a week of events to raise awareness for the philanthropy, D.C. Firefighter's Burn Foundation.

The donation deadline has been extended to midnight tonight, so as of yet, no sorority has been announced the 2010 winner of PIKE's Fireman's Challenge. Last year, more than $20,000 dollars was raised, and this year, more than $40,000 has been raised, and the money is continuing to pour in.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

SMPA website, hacked? [Update]

According to SMPA Communications Director Samara Sit, "nothing on the SMPA website was compromised" by the hacking last night.

Sit posted a comment earlier this afternoon where she said that they were aware of the problem and that they had been working to solve it.

As Sit said, the only change occurred in the text Google displays after doing the search, and this problem has also affected other universities lately.

[Breaking news] SMPA website, hacked last night?

About half an hour ago, a classmate showed me what she came up with when she typed SMPA in Google last night.
Does this mean that the site was somehow hacked?

Check this other shot:

The first one was taken with a Mac. The second one from a PC. Apparently, Mac users are the only ones getting the add about viagra with this search.

Hmm... But aren't Macs supposed to be safer?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Define "Rolls Over"

I would like to take the opportunity to respond to a post written on The GW Patriot by former SA Senator/EVP candidate Logan Dobson entitled "SA Senate Rolls Over on Executive Appointments." Let me take a second to address a few points, seeing as I was actually in attendance and actually know what took place and why.

The meeting lasted approximately an hour. Almost none of the cabinet appointees faced any questioning at all, much less serious questioning. Every single one of them passed.

This is fucking pathetic.

Fact: The meeting was approximately an hour long
Fiction: Almost none of the cabinet faced any questions at all, much less serious questioning

The reality is that all of the candidates were either qualified or demonstrated a passion for their respective chairmanship positions that these positions need. I can remember at least 3 examples where nominees were drilled with questions about the things they wanted to change about the SA: The nominees for VP Public Affairs, Teddy Dooley, a nominee for JCFS, and Eddie Warton, the SA Rep to the Marvin Center Governing Board.

In each case, the issues raised weren't about their "qualifications", but about their proposals policies they wanted to address. In each specific case, it was because of plans that each nominee had that the Senate-Elect felt were probably too ambitious or vague, such as "improving J Street" or "significantly increasing the quality of advising". Being an over-ambitious Freshman is hardly a reason to have your nomination to the Executive Cabinet blocked.

For each of these nominees, people raised questions about how the nominees planned to implement these proposals, and tried to steer them toward narrowing their focus or centering on things that students really care about, such as focusing on a better program for allocating student space in the Marvin Center instead of the standard "improving J Street". In each case, I felt that the nominees that were questioned were much better prepared after the meeting than before it, and I have confidence that they will do a good job, and I plan to hold their feet to the fire and publicly embarrass them for reneging on their promises if they don't.

I'm not saying that there were people nominated who were unqualified. But I am saying that the senate-elect had no way of knowing that. They could all be fine nominees, or they could all be terrible and run the organization in to the ground. The senate-elect couldn't care less.

I also have a problem with your use of the term "unqualified". No More Tools, remember? "Qualified" should never be the first adjective that the SA should look for in its leaders. Ambition, creativity, and passion are three that are much more important than finding "qualified" candidates. The senate-elect did read over their bios and listened to their platforms. What more did you expect the Senate to do to show that we cared? Ask unnecessary questions of people that clearly have their shit together and everyone planned on supporting, just for the sake of asking questions?

Being an SA senator is not a hard job. If you're not willing to put in an hour reading candidate's information and asking them a goddam question at the senate meeting, you're not doing your job. What happened tonight was an unacceptable lapse in responsibility on the part of the senate-elect.

"Lapse in responsibility", just because the nominees were all approved and people didn't waste time asking questions of people that they already planned on supporting and that had strong platforms already?

Out of 8 candidates for Vice Presidential positions, only ONE of them was asked a question. And it was the candidate for VPPA, one of the more useless of the VP positions.

That, to me, is unacceptable.

So, your problem isn't with the nominees themselves, but with the Senate not asking them enough questions? Even people who were clearly good choices for the positions?

Again, while these people all seem like solid choices to me, some of them will inevitably become complacent next year, at which point the Senate should absolutely go after them for not follow through on the things that they promised. However, to act like the Senate didn't do it's job because they didn't ask enough questions for your liking is a little ridiculous.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Senior Turmoil


The big day is approaching! Not only has senioritis set in, but the question and fear of what we are doing and where we are going after we graduate, as Senioritis has mentioned, is looming.

From a personal standpoint, is anyone else dealing with the emotional challenge of finding a new place to live? Is Craigslist your new best friend? Are you in any kind of debt from school loans or credit cards? It is true, many of us do want to stay In D.C. after we graduate, however, with the recession many of us are unable to find jobs even though D.C. supposedly has one of the lowest unemployment rates. How can we find places to live if we have bad or mediocre credit scores and/or no current proof of employment?

Yes, for many of us, our parents are helping us out- many of us don’t want to move back home after college. Graduating from college and entering the work force is an awkward stage for recent graduates. We are now stepping into the real world where everything is changing. No more spring break trips to Cancun, and sleeping in until 10 minutes before your class. Also, for many of us, we still aren’t exactly sure what we want to do with our lives; we are sort of in limbo. Many suggest that the perfect solution is to go to graduate school if you are still unsure of your direction and cant find a job, however, this is another very fiscally challenging endeavor and many of us will already have loans to pay off from undergrad. After paying between $60,000-$100,000 to earn a degree, opportunity still isn’t knocking. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were some sort of solution or assistance out there for people like us? Just food for thought…

Don't Forget Your Senior Class Gift!

With graduation just around the corner, most seniors are ready to move on and leave GW behind them. However, it's important to remember the great experiences and opportunities that were available to us students during our time here. Those experiences were all possible because students and alumni before us saw the value in giving back to GW and wanted to continue that for years to come. As all of you seniors make the transition to alumni, remember that it's your turn to give back. That all starts with giving your Senior Class Gift.

This year the senior class overwhelming voted to designate their gift to the Gelman Library Renovation Fund. The two members of the Luther Rice Society match each gift made by students, and that match is donated to the Renovation Fund.

Students have the option to give to any part of the University they would like (their school, student org, fraternity or sorority, etc.). After spending four years at GW, there is something that kept students here and something that made your time at GW worthwhile. That something may be different for everyone, but it was made possible because of students and alumni that gave back. Let's make this year's campaign the most successful yet! To find out more information, check out the 2010 Senior Class Gift Campaign's Web site.

*You can also make your gift at Senior Night at Third Edition on Wednesday night, April 28th.

Arts Around the City

With the arrival of spring, an abundant amount of art exhibits are set to open in and around the District. Through May 1st, the Cultural Development Corporation is sponsoring a multi-venue exhibit entitled "Pop-up," in which various artists and architects where given the challenge to transform a single 10 x 10 room to reflect one of five distinct themes: live, work, play, create or connect. Tickets can be found here. For those interested in film, the Hirshhorn is hosting a viewing of Michael Snow's avant-garde structural film Wavelength on Thursday at 8 PM. For those too busy to visit a museum can still view the public exhibit by artist Peter Krsko, spanning the entire District, called Give Me a Vote. The project, which is currently being installed in various locals around the city, aims to bring awareness to voting rights in Washington, DC.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

School of Business Sees Drop in Number of Applicants

The George Washington University School of Business saw a 3 percent decrease in the number of applicants to its undergraduate program in 2009, going against the overall University trend of a 6 percent increase over 2008. The School of Business was the only school to see a decrease in the number of applicants.

Administrators at the University were quick to blame the decrease not on the quality of the School (it recently jumped 15 spots in the Business Week rankings), but on the recent economic crisis having dulled the glamour of careers in finance, business. The negative shadow cast on the finance and banking industries, as well as the prospects of making an easy fortune having been blunted by the failure of banks and increasing government regulation has made the majors of finance, accounting, and business administration less attractive to high school graduates. In fact, nationwide, applications to universities' business programs is down nearly 20 percent.

2010 Politics Online Conference

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the 2010 Politics Online Conference being put together by the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management and Politics Magazine.

As a GW student I couldn't really afford a ticket or really make the sessions I wanted because of class requirements but that is why I am highly recommending others to check this out. This is a gathering of some of the best online organizers and digital political strategists in DC and the country. Both top people from the left and right will be there. Representatives from consulting firms, PR firms, social media sites, and non profits will be there to speak about organizing and utilizing the internet. From places like Blue State Digital, Engage DC, Eidelman PR, Facebook, Sunlight Foundation, Google, Microsoft, DCCC, and many many more. This is an amazing gathering of a variety of people who deal with different aspects of politics online.

The future of technology and politics.

My Most Recommended Sessions: (Based on people I know, have seen speak before, or topics that will be the most relevant in upcoming elections:
Keynote: Secrets of Key People: (John King Moderator and David Almacy, Bush's Internet director will have some good insights on its past and the future)

Breakout Session #1 Did You Really Just Poke Me? How Can Social Media Help Get the Message Out, Attract New People, Increase Fundraising and Build the Base? Key People: (Peter Corbett of iStrategyLabs will be speaking. He and Frank Gruber are organizing Digital Capital Week in June with use generated sessions on PR, politics, and the Internet)

Cloud Computing?
How Cloud Computing Can Lower Your Costs (and Increase Your Risks) (This features speakers from Google and Microsoft. While it may be too tech heavy for some, cloud computing is here and is the future of online organizing)

10 Things Everyone Needs to Have on Their Website (and Where Everything Should Go) (Features 2 speakers from Blue State Digital. Also, too many times I see Democrats and progressive organizations making mistakes on web design and features) New Media is Valueless! Return On Investment and Working with Analytics Data (Convincing the unconvinced)

Special Keynote Conversation: Architecture of a Successful Political Message (Pere Snyder of the Republican focused digital PR firm New Media Strategies is an innovator in using digital strategies for public affairs)

I wish I could go to every single panel not just these but apparently at GW class attendance is required to pass and graduate. Anyone who can take time off tomorrow or Tuesday in the DC area should definitely be here. Cross Posted at DailyKos

It's that time of year again...

The end of spring semester.

I, for one, can taste Summer in the air, but with only final-assingnments left to check off the syllabus, it's normal to find it hard to motivate yourself.

I will admit even I had a bit too much fun this weekend, getting carried away with the warm weather, DC United's College Night, and other adventures. And now, it's Sunday afternoon and I have a pile of homework to accomplish.

What to do? How can we find motivation for school work when we're more concerned with getting in out last DC-fun before summers at home?

Lucky for you (and me), I've compiled a list of the four most important things to remember when confronting finals:
  1. Don't wait until the last minute to start an assignment. Feeling overwhelmed by an assignment is miserable. Tackle them in little pieces and it won't seem so unmanageable.
  2. Vary your study-spaces. Getting bored of your surroundings can make you lose your focus because of the familiarity. Try a new coffee shop, like Peregrine Espresso in Eastern Market, or even just a new floor in Gelman.
  3. Find a study buddy! Spending a sleepless night in the library doesn't seem so terrible when you know a friend is going through it too. Just make sure you actually get work done, and don't just gossip all night!
  4. Make a new playlist. Similar to my theory on study spaces, listening to songs you know all the words to while studying can be a distraction. Try these music blogs for some new music recommendations-- It's a Rap, Living Ears, PoptartsSuckToasted, Pretty Much Amazing-- or else use websites like Pandora or Fratmusic to vary it up.

Below is Sam Adam's, "I Hate College," a response to Asher Roth's hit, I Love College. I feel that its pretty fitting.

Listen To Us GWorld Office!

Recently a friend of mine was complaining about the lack of fresh food options near or on GW campus. He said, "Everywhere you turn there is fast food." As a graduating senior, I hardly use GWorld anymore, but I would still like to try and make an impact concerning food options offered at GW. Students are tired of the "same, old thing" and an excellent addition to the breakfast and lunch options offered on GWorld is K Street Bagel, located at 2000 K Street, right next to the K Street classrooms. Their bagels and meats are always hot and fresh, and for a reasonable price.

While the GWorld office does not care what students want, it is time for us to let them know what we WANT to eat, not what they decide we should have. Although it is quite a process to get a restaurant or grocery store on GWorld because it is the decision of the owner and the school, we should try to get the GWorld office to consider reaching out K Street Bagel. K Street Bagel has a plethora of students who get lunch or breakfast weekly, and their business could expand by allowing those with food funds limited to GWorld to actually pay with their GWorld.

I wish to reach out to students and find out what they want, and then bring it to the GWorld office. Show the GWorld office that YOU want them to consider bringing K Street Bagel to GWorld! Look out for a petition coming soon!

Buzzing 4 Change

My fraternity brother and I spent some of our Sunday afternoon in Kogan Plaza at for a student organization called Buzzing 4 Change. Buzzing 4 Change is a student run organization that runs events in which students cut their hair and donate money to Locks of Love for cancer research. This Sunday, over 40 students got their heads buzzed including 2 women. Students filtered through all dsy donating money, getting heads buzzed, listening to a DJ and enjoying free food. So many students were volunteering their heads to raise money for cancer research that, lets just say there was quite a bit of hair whipping around on this windy Sunday.

Since 2003, Buzzing 4 Change has raised over $85,000 for children fighting cancer, and that is before this years total was calculated. This is a great organization, with some very dedicated volunteers working towards an amazing cause. I highly suggest donating and supporting this great event next time around.

The event was co-sponsored by a variety of on campus student organizations and establishments including SA, Hillel, JSA, Phi Sigma Sigma, and Tonic Restaurant.

Homeless After Graduation?

Many GW seniors are doing what university seniors across the country are doing right now, looking for jobs and a place to live after graduation, as a GW senior I am no exception. I know I am staying in D.C. for a little while after graduation to finish off a lease in an off-campus apartment but after that I need to go look for something new. For all the education we get at GW there is nothing in picking an apartment, you have a few choices for on-campus living and if you receive financial aid which includes housing you do not even have the opportunity to move off campus.

If you are looking for something in the D.C. area after graduation you can spend weekends looking at apartments that meet whatever criteria you decided on. For students who are moving elsewhere, either for a job or to continue their education the task is even harder since they are not able to spend part of their time visiting apartment buildings.

GW does provide some resources for students who live off campus, there is the Office of Off-Campus Student Affairs which offers a guide on "Finding Your New Home", and students can ask older friends about where they live, but there is no institutional framework for moving students off campus so they can find a real apartment if they choose. Instead of forcing upperclassman who are dependent on their financial aid packages to live on-campus, why not transfer that into a credit which they can use for any apartment of their choice (provided they show proof). Students would get the valuable real-world experience which GW boasts giving its students, and on-campus housing would be available to more underclassman.

Given how things work at GW, does anyone think this will ever happen?

Green Spaces

GW officials have announced that the 'green space' behind Guthridge, South and Strong residence halls will be completed to a certain extent by finals. Though it will not be completely finished for students to enjoy this summer, it is a symbol of the green credentials of GW.

John Ralls, special adviser for community and outreach in the Office of the Executive Vice President and Treasurer, said in an interview with the Hatchet:

"The project will green the area, both by providing open green space and sustainable features,"

For me personally, I love the fact that we can live in a city campus but still have open green areas to hang out in. For people who have been walking through Kogan the last few weeks of nice weather, it is obvious that people enjoy the option of getting outside and enjoying the sun. This new 'green space' will increase these options, maybe even dragging people away from playing on their computers in their dorms!

For the First Time, The GW Patriot Speaks the Truth

While browsing through the various news sites and blogs about the GW and DC community, I came across an article on The GW Patriot. The main point the author, Dan Keylin, is trying to make is the ridiculousness of the activism campaigns. I know that no good will come of criticizing the very assignment in which I participated, but I feel I must also speak the truth. And I know I am not alone in my thoughts. As well, I am expressing my agreement with the Patriot's article, which bashes the very site I'm writing this for.

The second paragraph of the article pretty much sums up every thought I've had while running my activism campaign.
He makes his students create ridiculous activist-oriented facebook groups begging GW students to join so they can get an 'A' in the class. Some of the groups created include: "Free Bikes for GW Students," "Help us Get GWireless in City Hall," and "Let Me Swim." If "Professor" Green's intention to make students do humiliating assignments and annoy 99% of GW, he's succeeded. How is making facebook groups and begging students to sign a petition dependent on someone receiving an 'A' at a school like GW? That sounds pretty junior college to me, and I'm sure it's pretty demeaning to the dignity of the students in the class, who I'm sure are capable of much more useful and legitimate academic activities.
While there are facts wrong in the piece, such as saying that Adam Green works for, I have no problem with the opinions expressed.

I know most of my fellow students in the Internet and Politics class are still actively engaged in their campaigns. I am not. I ended mine last week, as nothing will ever come of changing dining through student activism. We do not have a large number of emails from which we can reach out and convince students to take part in a movement. We cannot test emails to see which work, and certainly not to see which raise the most money. I'd be willing to bet that the PCCC has failed in more than a few of its campaigns. When that happened, they just moved on to the next one. We don't have that kind of luxury. One or two unlucky breaks, and the best we can do in the class is 'average.' Even if we did gather support, forming a large student base doesn't matter at GW. Does anyone think that a couple thousand students voicing their desire for change will pressure an administrator to do anything? This university is so restricted by red tape that the bureaucratic problems of the federal government pale in comparison.

I guarantee that not a single one of the current activism campaigns will reach its ultimate goal.

Change at GW is a pipe dream.

You Might Not Graduate

As the academic year winds down, everybody is busy with papers and finals and understandably are not focused on what happens next year. And while it may seem far away the Fall 2010 Semester is closer than you think (and Summer 2010 is even closer) and everybody needs to know if they are working towards their graduation requirements, and checking that is harder than you might think.

In the Columbian College, if you had a balance sheet printed as a sophomore you cannot EVER get another one printed, they just scribble on the old one and it becomes hard to understand. You need a C- in all 100 level class required for you major (in some cases, not all, and there are departmental requirements which might supersede this one). The GW Bulliten outlines the requirements for each department, but sometimes requirements change and you do not know what you need since only the requirements for the newer students are listed and YOUR contract is for the requirements when you declared you major (in some cases students are urged to use the new requirements if it is possible).

What does this mean for you, the student? There is no uniform list of requirements, there is no easy way to access what you have done and what you need to do when things keep changing and you cannot access a copy of the older requirements.

There are people trying to change this. Students are rallying in a facebook group and online at Know What It Takes To Graduate to get the back editions of the bulletin printed so that every student at the University knows their requirements, this website and facebook group have a simple, and inexpensive solution to the problem

  • GW Administrators will publish the next edition of the GW Bulletin with annotations of all changes made within the last 7 years
  • post all Bulletin’s from the last 7 years online in PDF format.

Great News from the 4-Ride Front

I have good news for those of us who believe 4-Ride needs to be improved: WRGW News did an interview recently with incoming SA President Jason Lifton, who had this to say about inefficiencies in 4-Ride services:
Lifton also discussed methods for improving campus security, addressing inefficiencies in 4-Ride and general safety concerns around campus.

“I think that the simple solution for long wait time is more 4-Ride vans,” Lifton said in response to many students who have reported waiting upwards of 45 minutes for a 4-Ride van to pick them up. “That said, I’m not sure about the feasibility of that immediately.”
This is good news not only because he agrees that there are efficiency issues with 4-Ride, but also because he offers, coincidentally, a solution also offered on the "Sick of Waiting Around for 4-Ride" Facebook group, one of two campaigns created by GW students who have expressed frustration with the way 4-Ride currently runs.

What he says about the solution's immediate feasability is an important point: vans aren't cheap, and it will take a lot to convince the administration to utilize funds for this purpose.  But change, as we have so often been told, isn't easy: it will take a lot to show the GW administration that there is an overwhelming demand for an expansion of 4-Ride services.

Want to join in the effort?  Sign the petition and join the Facebook group - don't forget to invite all your friends!  We will be presenting the petition to President Knapp once we acquire a sufficient number of signatures.

With your help, we can ensure that future GW students will have an efficient and expansive 4-Ride fleet to keep them safe.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Students care

“Why do you care about this issue?” is one of the questions students have to fill in when signing the online petition to get Gwireless in City Hall.

It's hard to tell how much people care about an issue just by the amount of people that join a facebook group. Did they join because they were friends with the creator? Because she or he begged them to? Do they care only slightly about the problem, or do they care deeply? There are probably all 4 types of people in our groups.

“Help us get Gwireless in City Hall” now has 113 members, some of whom I know; some of whom I've never heard of.

But the numbers aside, there are people who really do care and need a solution to this problem.

Diana Sanchez, who currently lives in City Hall, remarked:

Because Gwireless is key to getting homework accomplished. With roommates around, sometimes you can't both work in the same room, but we're forced to since we only have internet access in the living room. It was an annoying and ridiculous problem to have all the year, and even if I don't reap the rewards of this petition, hopefully others will.

Bradley King, a future resident, shared a similar concern.

Wifi is a major part of my academic due process when it comes to assignments and projects. The fact my future dorm may lack this concerns me deeply, wrote King.

All in all, there are students who care and find the lack of a Gwireless connection that reaches all the floors in City Hall a real problem. Those are the students these facebook groups address.

The fact that these groups were created with the initial goal of getting an A in a class doesn't undermine the legitimacy of our causes. The fact that we are all campaigning at the same time may be counter productive for us, and the fact that we all use this platform may annoy some readers, as some of the comments on my last blogpost suggest. But we are still addressing real problems at GWU. And there are students who do care about them.

It's not about glitter, or numbers in a group. It's about the people with real concerns and testimonies, and the people who empathize and click “join” or sign up.

ABP Overcharged GWorld... Surprised?

This week, The Hatchet reported that the Au Bon Pain in the Shops at 2000 Penn overcharged students by more than $7,000 dollars on their GWorld cards.

The story said that the overcharges occured between January 2 and March 15, and that GW University officials believe it was unintentional.

According to the article,
Ed Frechette, senior vice president of marketing for Au Bon Pain, said earlier this month that the overcharging was the result of an interface issue with BbOne, the system provider for GWorld cards.

"The problem was that GWorld card swipes resulted in erroneous 'transmission failed' notices," Frechette said. Cashiers at the franchise swiped the cards a second time after seeing this notice, only to later find "the first swipe did, in fact, go through, thus the duplicative charges," he said.
Do students really take the responsibility of looking at the totals being charged to their cards? Or do they just swipe and go? We must learn financial responsibility. Kudos to those students who filed reports with the university police about the overcharging.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

GW Students Meet Google

Tonight, our class went to Google's DC headquarters. More details coming, but here is a great class picture -- courtesy of Johanna Shelton, Senior Policy Counsel & Legislative Strategist for Google:

Ahem, it's with sadness and embarrassment that I point out that the above picture was taken with Google's new Nexus One phone. Here is the picture from my iPhone:

Anyone want to buy a used iPhone?