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The First Step as a Colonial
June 18, 2012
GW holds Colonial Inauguration for incoming freshmen.
At the Colonial Inauguration kickoff celebration on June 14 at Lisner Auditorium, Steven Lerman, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, shared some wisdom with the incoming class of 2016.
Take a broad array of classes to learn how to look at a problem from different perspectives. Learn how to write well. Get to know faculty outside of the classroom. Find an internship and undergraduate research opportunities.
“If you do all that, you’ll look back at your four years here and say this experience changed my life,” said Dr. Lerman. “Your GW experience is vastly more than just the classroom.”
Colonial Inauguration (CI), held several times throughout the summer, serves as freshmen orientation to George Washington University. Put on by the Colonial Cabinet, a diverse group of 34 sophomores, juniors, and seniors, CI offers incoming students, parents, and siblings a vast array of activities introducing them to college life.
Director of Colonial Inauguration Steve Roche said that it is an experience for “the whole GW family.”
“At the end of CI, we hope students have built a strong academic connection with faculty and advisers, and that students and parents are more familiar with GW’s campus and community, the resources afforded them, and the opportunities that await them,” said Mr. Roche.
During the kickoff for the three-day CI session, Kathy Napper, associate vice president and dean of undergraduate admissions, thanked the incoming students for accepting GW’s admission offer and for becoming a Colonial.
“You’re a terrific bunch of students,” Dr. Napper said. “The average SAT score was 1950, making the class of 2016 one of the most competitive classes that we’ve ever had.”
The incoming freshmen class comes from 1,600 high schools, 46 states, 46 countries, D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
George Washington President Steven Knapp encouraged the incoming freshmen to take advantage of the opportunities that GW’s campus community and the nation’s capital have to offer. Dr. Knapp also urged students to introduce themselves when they see him and his wife, Diane Knapp, on campus walking their dog, Ruffles.
“You’re going to have a wonderful four years here, and it will be preparation for a fulfilling future and a rewarding career,” said Dr. Knapp.
Last week marked the first of four CI sessions this summer. There will be an additional CI held this fall for international and transfer students. Approximately 500 students attend each session.
During CI, students meet with advisers and faculty from their individual schools to learn about majors, study abroad opportunities, community service projects, and career and internship possibilities; tour their residence halls; visit with student organizations on campus; and practice registering for classes. Students also get a preview of college life during their stay in Thurston Hall.
Each incoming freshman is assigned to a small group and a member of the Colonial Cabinet and have many opportunities to get all their questions answered and discuss topics like academic opportunities, time management, healthy living, making responsible choices around drugs and alcohol, and how to deal with a roommate conflict.
“GW’s orientation is designed to help our new first-year students successfully transition from the more structured days of high school to a more independent, collegiate environment where they begin to set their own pace and start making choices that will last a lifetime,” said Peter Konwerski, associate vice president and dean of students. “At orientation, we present students with the tools to help them become more effective as they begin to juggle various decisions like what they hope to major in, who their circle of friends will be, where they hope to invest their energy and attention, and when they want to sleep, study, or get engaged in the life of the campus and community.”
In the evenings at CI, students can meet faculty members, watch a student performance showcase, enjoy Greek Life trivia night, check out a comedy show, attend a dance sponsored by the Multicultural Student Services Center, or enjoy a late-night party and snacks from D.C. food trucks. Colonial Cabinet members also take students to “CI in the City,” where freshmen get to experience the group’s favorite D.C. spots.
CI, led this year by GW students Chris Kim and Lauren Cattano also includes a variety of activities for parents and siblings. In addition to learning about their students’ specific school and major, parents hear from Rodney L. Johnson, executive director of parent services, about the importance of letting go and how to support their children during college. Siblings of incoming freshmen are entertained with a myriad of outings, including a riverboat ride on the Potomac and a visit to the National Zoo.
Back at the kickoff, Dr. Lerman encouraged students to attend the monthly “Pancakes with the Provost” event, held at his home on the Mount Vernon Campus starting in September.
“You’ll find GW to be a warm and welcoming community,” he said.
Ashwin Narla, GW’s Student Association president, also spoke at the kickoff and urged students to join one of GW’s more than 400 student organizations, join Greek life, or participate in community service.
“There’s something for you at this school. GW allows for so many engaging experiences on your journey,” he said. “It’s up to you to take advantage of it. Find what you love and pursue it.”