GW Welcomes New Students With First Night Celebration

The class of 2020 gathered for move-in and fun on the Foggy Bottom campus Saturday.

Freshman Omarina Cabrera
The university kicked off Welcome Week Saturday evening with the annual First Night celebration, a two-week events series designed to introduce students to the GW community. (Logan Werlinger/ GW Today)
August 28, 2016

By Kristen Mitchell

Trunks of SUVs were packed high with boxes as tearful hugs with parents were exchanged and excited roommates met for the first time Saturday. Arriving from around the world, thousands of students are making the George Washington University their new home.

The class of 2020 is composed of more than 2,500 students from more than 1,700 high schools in 49 states and the District of Columbia and 61 countries. More than 300 transfer students are starting classes at GW this year from more than 200 universities and colleges.

President Steven Knapp and Provost Forrest Maltzman assisted with move-in day efforts at the Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon campuses, shaking hands with new students and meeting parents, including freshman Elizabeth Gabriel.

Ms. Gabriel, the daughter of two alumni, came to GW from New Jersey. While she unpacked in her room in Thurston Hall she said she is eager to experience life in the city and to meet new people.

“I’m excited, there are so many opportunities here,” Ms. Gabriel said.

Vincenzo Cardi, a senior in the School of Business, moved into GW’s newest residence hall, District House, Saturday morning, where he lives in an affinity group with other members of the Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity. Life in the newly opened residence hall will help him stay on track during his final year, he said.

“It’s going to be very conducive to be able to socialize with other people in the affinity,” he said, and noted the proximity to Gelman Library.

Following move-in, the university kicked off Welcome Week, a two-week event series designed to introduce students to the GW community, with the annual First Night celebration Saturday evening. Welcome Week will end with the annual Freshman Day of Service and Convocation on Sept. 10.

The Saturday night event was held on the Foggy Bottom campus this year. Activities were held on Kogan Plaza and Mid-Campus Quad, as well as in the 40,000 square feet of student community space now open in District House. Students enjoyed free pizza, cotton candy, music, performances by student performance organizations and a movie on Kogan Plaza.

While celebrating First Night freshman Omarina Cabrera said she is most excited about election night, making new friends and joining a sorority.

“When everyone talks about an only at GW moment, they talk about running to the White House on election night,” she said.

Madison Hall roommates David Resnick and Chang Luo said they are both looking forward to being independent and away from home and enjoying Washington, D.C.

“I wanted to be in the city,” Mr. Resnick said. “I’m six blocks away from the White House, this has advantages no other school has just because of the location.”

Welcome Week continues through Sept. 10 with events all around campus. Below are a few of the highlights:

Late Night at the Rec
Aug. 29, 9 p.m., Lerner Health and Wellness Center
There will be laser tag, volleyball, yoga, basketball and TRX Boot Camp, dive-in movies, chair massages and free food.

First Generation Connect
Aug. 31, 7 p.m., Science and Engineering Hall, Room B1167
This event is specifically catered toward undergraduate first-generation college students. It’s a chance to connect with offices and student organizations dedicated to helping students succeed.

Multicultural Student Services Center Block Party
Sept. 2, 4 p.m., Marvin Center, 3rd floor terrace
This 12th annual multicultural event gives new students the chance to meet members of prominent student organizations, connect with faculty and staff and enjoy cultural performances and music.

Free Paddleboat Race
Sept. 3, 10 a.m., Jefferson Memorial Tidal Basin
Spend Saturday morning outside and participate in a free paddleboat race around the Jefferson Memorial Tidal Basin. Registration is required.

EngageGW: Student Organizations and University Services Fair
Sept. 3, 1 p.m., Kogan Plaza
Learn about GW’s student organizations and the activities and opportunities to get involved.

Fall Fest 2016
Sept. 3, 4:30 p.m., University Yard
Join Program Board for the university’s annual Fall Fest on Saturday. Come early for live music, free food and games

Sustainability Open House
Sept. 6, Noon, Science and Engineering Hall Atrium
Learn about GW’s commitment to sustainability and meet people involved in sustainability efforts in the community.

GW New Venture Competition Kickoff
Sept. 7, 5:30 p.m., Funger Hall, Room 103
The Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship is holding the kickoff for its 2017 New Venture Competition. The kickoff will be an introduction to the annual business proposal competition. Tim Hwang, CEO and Founder of FiscalNote, is the guest speaker. Attendees are asked to register in advance.

Freshman Day of Service and Convocation
Sept. 10, 11 a.m., Charles E. Smith Center
Following the Convocation ceremony for the class of 2020 students depart on buses for services projects in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.