Creating a Community of Colonials

The 2011 Colonial Cabinet is preparing to welcome GW’s newest students at this summer’s Colonial Inauguration.
April 25, 2011

Incoming members of the class of 2015 and transfer and international students will have some of GW’s best and brightest welcoming them when they attend one of four Colonial Inaugurations (CI) sessions held in June, July and August.

The 2011 Colonial Cabinet, a diverse group of 34 students, will be on hand to help induct more than 5,000 new undergraduate students and parents into the Colonial community. 

“This year’s cabinet is a fantastic group of individuals that I'm really honored to be working with and who really embody the diversity and experiences that GW offers,” said Director of Colonial Inauguration Steve Roche. “They are a funny, energetic, academically talented and knowledgeable group that I know will have a lasting impact on the class of 2015 and their families.”

A tradition since GW’s award-winning summer orientation program was created in 1990, the Colonial Cabinet is a group of some of GW’s most well-rounded students who serve as “the face” of Colonial Inauguration, helping to support CI staff and acclimating new students to campus life.

More than 200 students apply each year for the coveted 34 to 36 spots on Colonial Cabinet. CI staff starts accepting applications in September and meets candidates for two rounds of interviews before selecting members.

Mr. Roche, B.A. ’06, M.A. ’08, said successful candidates are “academically engaged, mature, well spoken and responsible”—but, most importantly, “themselves.”

“What makes the group so unique is that there is not one checklist of qualities that make a cabinet member,” he said. “We always encourage applicants to be themselves and not what they ‘think’ a cabinet member is, because cabinet members are real, authentic students that truly represent the student body here at GW.”

For Grace Warrick, a senior studying international affairs, being a member of Colonial Cabinet was a chance to “give back to the university” for her “incredibly positive” years on campus.

“As a rising senior, I have the advantage of three years of perspective on the university. But at the same time, having just studied abroad in China for two semesters, I feel equipped to put myself back in a freshman's shoes and help them deal with their own version of ‘culture shock’ and the numerous adjustment issues they may face in their first year of college,” she said. “Already, interactions with incoming freshmen over the phone and email have reminded me how much I look forward to sharing their excitement at CI over the summer.”

Junior Ashwin Narla, who recently participated in GW’s Alternative Spring Break trip to New Orleans, said he’s happy to call himself a Colonial and hopes “to pass on my pride for my school to the incoming class of 2015.”

Junior Chris Kim, an economics and political science and a member of GW’s hip hop dance crew Capital Funk, said the opportunity to be a mentor and guide to new students will be “truly fulfilling.”

“I remember that coming in as a freshman, the vast opportunities available were intimidating in a way I can’t quite describe,” he said. “The thing I'm looking forward to most at CI is meeting enthusiastic freshman who are so eager to meet new people and begin their college years.”

A 2003 Colonial Cabinet member as a sophomore, Mr. Roche said his own CI experience as an incoming freshman in 2002 made him “excited and comfortable” with GW—feelings he attributed to the Colonial Cabinet.

“Their one-on-one connections with students, and energy got me pumped to come to GW and really take advantage of all that GW offers, but at the same time learn essential skills like time management, living with a roommate and how to navigate D.C.,” he said. “Most importantly, Colonial Cabinet gave me a student’s perspective on GW and helped me realize the extraordinary community I was joining.”

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