Students Get Creative for 37th Chalk-In

GW students relaxed in the sun to mark the final stretch before exams.

Students filled Kogan Plaza for the annual Chalk-In prior to final exams. (Logan Werlinger/GW Today)
May 03, 2017

By Kristen Mitchell

Junior Jack Venezia was faced with a difficult decision on Kogan Plaza Tuesday afternoon. He only had one shade of blue, and if he drew the sky of his chalk landscape scene it might be difficult to tell it apart from the water. With a brick walkway canvas and chalk as his tools, his color pallet was limited.

Mr. Venezia, who is majoring in psychology, was drawing a familiar scene and doing his best not to think about his upcoming final exams at the 37th annual Chalk-In, an annual George Washington University event designed to give students a chance to relax before the end of the spring semester.

After a busy semester, he channeled those anxious feelings into a Zen reminder of home and family trips to a New Jersey lakeside.

“It has two little hills, and the sun sets between them in the summer,” he said. “My sister draws it all the time, so that’s where I got the idea”

Mr. Venezia comes to the Chalk-In every year to relax and de-stress at the end of a busy semester. He has two more final exams before summer break and said he’s confident he’ll do well.

“I’m not too concerned about them,” he said. “I have until next week, so I have time to kill.”

Students crowded Kogan Plaza Tuesday to indulge in ice cream and beverages, listen to music from WRGW, play yard games and kick back in the sun with friends. Boxes of chalk were scattered throughout the plaza to encourage students to show off their creative sides. The event is sponsored by the Colonial Health Center and GW Program Board.

Emily Kane, a program coordinator in the Colonial Health Center, said that Chalk-In is an important GW tradition.

“It’s a way that we’re able to celebrate the end of the academic year and give students a break before they really start studying hard for finals,” she said. “It’s also a tradition that connects us to our larger GW community through a shared experience had by students, both past and present, for 37 years.”

Senior Shelly Sharma said coming to the Chalk-In is nostalgic. She will graduate in a few weeks and said she will miss being able to see her friends whenever she wants. She could end up anywhere in the country after May, she said.

“It’s more important than anything to see everyone, to spend time with the underclassmen and my friends,” she said.


The tranquil animals of a Petting Zoo sponsored by GW Class Council  helped to relieve tension as final exams approach. (Logan Werlinger/Gw Today)

A few blocks away, students stood in line eager for a chance to pet animals at a mobile petting zoo, an event sponsored by GW Class Council. Between petting rabbits, sophomore Paige James said she had been waiting for this day all week.

“I just want to take them all home with me. This needs to happen every week,” she said. “It’s been a very stressful few weeks so I’m just enjoying this.”

Ms. James, who is majoring in international affairs, said she has five finals this semester and has been trying to keep them out of her mind.

“It’ll be over soon,” she said.

Students gathered around pens of ducks, rabbits, guinea pigs and admired a dwarf miniature horse, alpaca, a teacup pig and African nubian goat. For sophomore Pablo Wenhammar, the lone polish top hat chicken was the star of the show.

“Seeing small, soft animals definitely takes my mind off things,” he said. “At least for an hour and a half, it’s definitely helping.”

GW students looking to de-stress next week can check out “Buff and Blue Happy Hour” in Eckles Library from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on May 7 and in Gelman Library from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on May 8. The Colonial Health Center will host “Breakfast Break” again in Gelman Library from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. on May 8 and May 9 where students can grab a granola bar, fruit, and a cup of coffee to help them start their day.

The Colonial Health Center will also offer free chair massages to GW students on May 9 and May 10. Students should keep on eye on the Colonial Health Center Twitter account to sign up for an appointment.

Students can also take a break from studying from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. May 6 at George Washington President Steven Knapp’s farewell celebration at the Charles E. Smith Center. There will be free food and a performance by special musical guest Dr. Knapp.

There are also additional resources available for students looking for study tips and guidance on managing stress.



Student Life


Final Exam Study Management from Glenn Egelman

April 28, 2017
The Colonial Health Center associate dean gives advice to students preparing for final exams and highlights GW resources.