Monday, May 17, 2010

Beverage/Fast Food Industry Bands Together to Fight DC Soda Tax

TThe DC City-Council is currently considering placing a tax on soda, a tax to the tune of 1 cent per oz. So a 20 ounce Sprite will now cost $1.89 as opposed to $1.69 at my local 711. The revenues from the tax will be put toward a program to serve more fresh fruit and vegetables in school lunches in DC public schools. I think this tax is a good idea. Not only is a childhood obesity a enormous problem in this country, school lunches and soda, are two of the largest contributing factors. This plan will lessen one and increase the other. It's not only for kids, I drink way too much soda as it is. If this doesn't get me to cut down I will suffer the consequences, less money, but feel better that it is working to improve health and society.

The food and beverage industry strongly disagree. This would hurt soft drink sales in the district. I was about to say "drastically" but I learned never underestimate America's addiction to unhealthy food and drinks. So lets just go with "hurt sales." The group the formed No DC Beverage Tax has launched an ad campaign in both new and traditional media outlets against the tax. They claim now is not the time for new taxes and that this will have
the greatest impact on those who can least afford it – hard-working, low- and middle-income families, elderly residents and those living on fixed incomes.
The first thing I'd like to ask is what does this group feel is the right time for a unhealthy food or beverage tax? Do they think we should wait until everyone has Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease or just the people who cant afford healthcare? This tax is burdensome, yes, but necessary.

Soft drink companies have had vending machines with sugary drinks in schools for years, now it is time to pay society back for that.

GWU Monumental Celebration Draws Low Crowd

Every year GWU hosts a large and often lavish party for its graduating class called Monumental Celebration. It is held in Union Station, is black-tie, and for students, families and friends. In 2008 there were 2,000 people there, this year only 900. Why? Tickets are $45 for students and $55 for guests and there is a cash bar! With attendance going down like this, why does GW continue to charge so much?

I think its an excellent idea to have a big party everyone can go to, to meet each others friends and families. My parents asked to meet everyone. However, GW gives you 6 tickets to graduation so they expect you to have that many people in town. One student = $45. Plus 6 x $55 = $330. Grand total = $375 for an event with a cash bar on graduation weekend. Also, since students will want to go out without parents afterwards most likely, spending almost 400 bucks on a cocktail hour seems unimaginable.

In the midst of a recession, I don't think it was right for GW to charge to so much. Give people a place to go and dress up but foot the bill! GW students pay for every single thing they do and they pay a lot. It is not out of line for GW to make its "Monumental Celebration" something a little more affordable. I did not go because of its price and the fact that my friends were not going, because of its price. Its a cycle that GW caused and will cause the event to fail again if GW does not fix this.

First Lady Speaks at GWU 2010 Commencement

Yesterday on the National Mall in front of the Capitol over 25,000 people attended the George Washington University Commencement ceremony. With over 2,500 different kind of students graduating it was quite a scene.

While the focal point was obviously the students, it was Mrs. Obama's challenge and speech that is garnering so much news attention. Earlier this year, Obama challenged the GW community to log 100,000 of DC-based community service, in return she would speak at commencement. The GW community logged over 160,000 hours, and as she said she "is a woman of her word." She spoke, at great length, about the praise she received from the recipients of the service as well as studying abroad and broadening horizons.

GWU required students to show up for Secret Service security screening at 7:30 AM. Lets just say certain students were a bit rowdy as sleep had apparently not been a priority the night before but the event went off seamlessly. By the end the chattering and moving around definitely increased as students had been there for going on 5 hours but the excitement was in the air. Even after graduating the day or two before students were still thrilled to be there and see Mrs. Obama speak.

As a proud member of the GWU Columbian College of Arts and Sciences 2010 graduating class, I can say I enjoyed commencement, especially Mrs. Obama's speech and am glad I don't ever have to do it again!

On a more personal note, if you go to the last picture of the GW Hatchet slideshow, my face is partially blocked but I am the guy in the center in black sunglasses.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Zero Year Reunion!

And the celebrating that every one is done with classes why night celebrate one more night this week? Join the rest of the senior class at Nick's Riverside Grille on the Georgetown waterfront for a fun filled night.

If you have not given your senior class gift, shame on you! But if not, be sure to stop by the Senior Class Gift table to give your give and receive two free drinks on us! Congratulations to all graduating seniors!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Program Board has been contacted...

Taylor Swift for Fall Fest 2010! has more than 750 GW supporters! And more than 200 have signed the petition to have Taylor perform at Fall Fest!

Tim Miller (Director of Student Activities Center), Wesley Callahan (Program Board Executive Chair), and Daniel Reef (Program Board Concert Chair) have all been contacted about the effort and asked for an official response to the campaign.

Have you voiced your support yet? Sign the petition!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

We Want Taylor!!

Support for Taylor Swift for the 2010 Fall Fest concert at GW has reached more than 300 supporters on Facebook!

Colonials definitely want to see her up on stage!

Do you?
Sign the petition, and the closer you'll be to singing "Fearless" on University Yard!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

We voice support, not opposition

"We want SmarTrip on our GWorld Cards" was launched shortly after the University announced the release of a new GWorld. According to an anonymous comment made on our blogpost on Monday, this may mean that we are protesting without giving the administration enough time to accommodate change. The blogger posted:

Why is everyone assuming the administration is completely ignoring the possibility of SmarTrip integration?

None of our official campaign statements have accused GWU of ignoring the possibility of incorporating SmarTrip technology. Rather, we made our proposal after the university first announced the new GWorld because we sensed that the university was already considering this possibility. We therefore felt that the time was ripe to gather support for this initiative within the GWU community.

If the administration is considering implementing our proposal, the time to show our support is now. Let's encourage them to transform dialogue into reality.

Please join our cause, and sign the petition to express your support for a SmarTrip technology on GWorld.

Taylor Swift for Fall Fest 2010!

Let's get Taylor Swift for Fall Fest 2010! Tell Program Board to get started on this now! E-mail them at GWPB@GWU.EDU demanding we start working on getting Taylor Swift for this year's Fall Fest!

Join the movement on Facebook!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

FCC Reverses Position, Will Protect Net Neutrality

After signaling on Monday that they would take a weaker position on the issue of net neutrality than they had held in the past, the FCC again reversed course and said it would indeed protect equal access to Internet content, but only after some nudging from Google.

After backlash from Congress, legal experts, and the public, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the FCC will unveil the details of its plans to protect net neutrality in the face of a Supreme Court decision that seemed to tie the hands of the FCC in regulating Internet Service Providers. After suggestions from Google's legal team as to how the FCC could work around the Court's decision by reclassifying the services offered by broadband carriers under a new legal framework, the FCC will reportedly reaffirm its support for net neutrality at an event on Thursday.

Net Neutrality is the concept that Internet service providers should not be able to discriminate between providing equal access to different online content. It means that you'll be able to use your bandwidth as you want, and that you won't face any obstructions in data transference when you download the latest Lady Gaga song from iTunes, steam the newest Glee episode on Hulu, or read that breaking news article on

Give us More Study Abroad Options

As those of you who have tried to Study Abroad at GW know, the process is incredibly rigid. GW has their own Study Abroad programs, but they will rarely grant exemptions for people to do programs that aren't sanctioned by the University.

The University's Mission Statement contains the following statement:
To promote the process of lifelong learning from both global and integrative
perspectives, the University provides a stimulating intellectual environment for its
diverse students and faculty.

How can the University truly claim that they are "providing a stimulating intellectual environment" when they are intentionally stifling the opportunities that so many students aren't allowed to pursue when looking to study overseas?

One of the programs from the people that have expressed similar outrage at GW's policy took part in Semester at Sea. Check out one of their Professor's of Engineering from The University of Virginia talk about his views on the program (the YouTube channel prevents embedded videos, but check out the link.)

The idea that other schools of comparable quality, such as the University of Virginia, who sponsors the Semester at Seas program, deem these programs to be intellectually beneficial should be enough for our school to support them. Aside from that, the University should be listening to students on issues like this. We are their consumers, and we are the ones that have paid a lot of money to come here to learn. At a University that prides itself on its globally reaching programs and in the globalized world we live in today, there is no question that we should be able to more effectively petition the University to acknowledge these accredited programs.

If you want to join our Facebook group, check it out here.

Monday, May 3, 2010

GW Students for GWorld x SmarTrip

After two weeks, more than 250 people have joined our Facebook group "We want SmarTrip on our GWorld Cards!" and we are continuing to gain support from many students.

More than its mere quantitative progress, however, our group project members would like to share some of the comments that we received from the students who signed the petition. 

Many students, as we had anticipated, showed their support for better convenience and accessibility that this initiative could bring in. 
Save me the hassle, time and cash. I think it would be so easy and efficient and a great selling point for the school to tell parents and kids.
Given that GW is so immersed in DC, so many locales are best accessed by metro. As a result, I think it would be very effective to have SmarTrip integrated into GWorld.  
It would make economical sense because of the smartrip plan, along with making our lives much easier by having everything all on one card instead of having to deal with multiple flimsy and easily lost metro tickets.
At the same time, GW students have commented on American University's recent project to include SmarTrip on their student ID cards.
Our location is way more convenient for the Metro than American; let's be more convenient than American when it comes to SmarTrip! 
If American University can do it, why can't GW?
Please join our cause, and sign the petition to express your support for a GWorld card with a SmarTrip capability.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

"I Want To Know!" Update

The "I Want To Know" Campaign launched in early April with a Facebook group to gather students' opinions on whether schools in the University should create optional list servs to let other students know about prominent speakers on campus. The campaign was met with some criticism after its breaking news blog post, but there have been some positive responses to make this campaign a reality.

After discovering the University calendar alert system, a survey was created to gather knowledge on whether students knew of its existence or utilized it. The survey was sent to all Facebook members, now at 100(!), as well as various classes, so far collecting 65 responses. E-mails have been sent to the Business School, Elliot School of International Affairs and SMPA with only two list-serv administrators replying.

The SMPA informed "I Want To Know" that they are working to create a list-serv like this for next fall. At the moment, they are unsure how they will notify students of its existence, but "I Want To Know" is pressing for a once-a-semester university-wide email. The Elliot School said it already has a sign-up option in place and was curious if that was the campaign's goal. "I Want To Know" responded that it wishes for Elliot to also email the students to let them know of this option and currently waits for another response. A couple e-mails to the Columbian School and GWSB have not received responses.

"I Want To Know" also contacted the Alumni Association president, who believed alumni would also like to find out when they can attend prominent speakers. However, no contacts were ever given to promote the cause. The campaign will continue for the next couple weeks, hoping to gain more Facebook supporters, survey responses and the promise of an optional sign-up list serv for each school. Join now!

A Little More Senior Reflection

This week was the snow make-up week and I attended four out of the seven classes I had. Monday was a no-brainer; Thursday I had an exam and a presentation; but Friday was different. Friday was my last day. My last day ever to go to a class. Did I pay attention? Not really. Did I play on my computer? Kind of. Did I sit with my friends and revel in the fact that we were finished with our undergraduate lives? Yes.

What do I do now? Sure, I have another exam and three papers left to write. However, I'm talking about the bigger picture. I, like Senioritis, face unemployment and homelessness (alright, a bit of an exaggeration with my internship and sublet), and freak out when I think about graduating. We're kind of on our own, but after finishing classes yesterday, I am finally starting to look forward to it.

While GW student may complain (a lot) about the University and its shortfalls (housing, Fix-It, food, partying and school spirit), we have been given way more opportunities. As I visited state universities and envied their fun, I wondered if I could re-do college I would change my choice. Today? No. At the beginning of the semester all of my classes discussed our current internships and future aspirations, and it's astounding how privileged and connected we are. There is no doubt that GW students have it made.

We stormed the White House after Obama's election. We attended Inauguration. We work for the Hill and their press. We hang out on the Mall and the Lincoln Memorial is in on our backyard. We might not be in a hurry to get out to the real world, but we're ready.