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A Reunion to Remember
October 04, 2010
Thousands of alumni returned to campus for GW’s annual weekend dedicated to graduates.
Alumni on campus last weekend saw a live outdoor concert, attended an open house at GW President Steven Knapp’s home, watched GW athletes perform, saw an art exhibit of works by alumnus John Safer and enjoyed Taste of GW, which featured food from restaurants owned by alumni.
The dozens of events on campus over the four-daylong celebration were headlined by a special performance by the Grammy Award-nominated Barenaked Ladies Friday night on University Yard.
On stage, Barenaked Ladies cracked jokes about George Washington’s support of a Washington-based national capital so his children would get in-state tuition and thanked the audience for minding their wooden teeth. But in an interview with GW Today before they performed on University Yard in front of about 1,000 alumni and students, the band got serious talking about the importance of sustainability.
Jim Creeggan (bass) and Tyler Stewart (drums) talked about their partnership with an organization called Reverb, which strives to improve rock concerts’ environmental footprints.
“Essentially you arrive in buses, idle all day with generators running and there is a ton of power for lighting and a lot of waste like plastic cups,” said Mr. Stewart, who notes that the band makes sure concert buffets feature biodegradable or reusable cutlery and that its fans often volunteer to take recyclables to local deposits after concerts.
“It’s still the rock and roll business, so it takes a lot to put on a big show,” he said, “but we are doing what we can.”
The concert on Friday night was not the only event at Alumni Weekend that drew upon the university’s emphasis on sustainability. Alumni and their guests were invited to tour the green community garden and honeybee hives on the Mount Vernon Campus.
The weekend’s myriad other activities included lectures and discussions on women and politics, contemporary food writing, famous trials, global security, autism and medical education in the developing world, and the fourth annual Ramsey Student Investment Fund Conference.
Thursday night’s Alumni Achievement Awards ceremony recognized seven of the most accomplished GW graduates with its highest honor for alumni.
Women and politics was the topic of a Sunday morning brunch and discussion featuring Eleanor Clift, contributing editor for Newsweek, and Norah O’Donnell, chief Washington correspondent for MSNBC. The panel was moderated by Ellen Malcolm, M.B.A. ’84, founder and president of EMILY’s List, a national organization dedicated to electing pro-choice Democratic women to office. Dr. Knapp called the panel a prime example of how GW is engaging the world from the nation’s capital.
James Walker, B.A. ’07, marketing chair for the GW Black Alumni Association, says he was particularly inspired by the Black Alumni IMPACT Awards, which drew five decades of alumni and honored three alumni: Joseph Rogers Jr., B.A. ’99, Daniel Fagbuyi, B.A. ’95, and Vincent Gray, B.A. ’64. “We had a great time networking, sharing stories and connecting with current students,” he said.
“It was great to be back on campus, catching up with old friends and making new ones over the weekend,” said Mr. Walker. “For many of us, it felt like we were not only catching up with each other, but also with the university. Many things have changed, even in the short time that has passed since I was a student, and I look forward to seeing what lies ahead.”
Shannon Mouton, MVC B.A. ’90, most enjoyed the open house at the F Street House, home of GW President Steven Knapp and his wife Diane.
“This was the best alumni weekend ever,” said Ms. Mouton, a member of the Alumni Association board. “Every event was done the GW way—with style, class and fun.”
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