The class of 2017 discovers local GW connections at homegrown celebrations.
The newest crop of Colonials enjoyed a warm reception at the annual Summer Sendoffs hosted by students, alumni, parents and friends of George Washington University.
More than 1,700 members of the GW community attended sendoff celebrations, a university tradition that connects GW students with local classmates and alumni connections.
“It is great to be able to provide the incoming class and their families a chance to meet each other, as well as alumni, staff and current students, in a smaller setting close to their home,” Associate Director of Student-Alumni Programs Molly Kastendieck, M.Ed. '08, said.
The Summer Sendoff events, organized by the Office of Alumni Relations, had a strong turnout nationally and globally this year, with incoming students attending 50 events in 18 countries, including the U.S.
Nearly 200 students attended the celebration in Beijing, China, making it the largest sendoff for the second consecutive year.
GW’s expanding population of international students was also evident in the addition of sendoffs in Saudi Arabia and Dubai.
“The events, whether abroad or in the U.S., emphasize the network of support that students and parents have through different members of the GW community,” Ms. Kastendieck said.
The event not only offers new students a glimpse into the university community but also allows upperclassmen to reflect on their experiences.
“As a senior, it was crazy to think that three years had passed since I attended the New York City sendoff as an incoming student,” said Katherine Pena, a student in the School of Business.
“I instantly felt like a part of the GW family and it really planted the seeds for networking during my time at GW,” she added, noting that she was able to meet Michael Steelman, director of Alumni Career Services, where she now works.
Shane Ryan, a junior in the Elliot School of International Affairs, who attended the Boston sendoff on July 25 agreed, adding that the connections that incoming students make with current students are also invaluable.
“The highlight of the sendoff was reconnecting with students and parents I met during Colonial Inauguration,” Mr. Ryan said.
“I had the opportunity to talk to students about the value of participating in student and community organizations, specifically my own experience joining the service-learning University Writing course which helped me connect with a non-profit organization in D.C. and bring my experience back to the classroom.”
Buddy Lesavoy, B.A. ’80, M.B.A. ’82, J.D. ’87, hosted his sixth annual summer send off with his family in Allentown, Pa., on July 24.
He and his wife have three children, a son attending Duke University and two Colonials, son, Guy Lesavoy a senior in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences and daughter Haley Lesavoy, B.A.’12
“I always say that with five degrees between us, on average we are all Colonials,” he quipped.
Mr. Lesavoy is a member of the GW Alumni Association Board of Directors and said the event is a way to connect with other parents in the area that are sending their children away to school.
“It’s a great time to introduce ourselves to their families and let them know they have neighbors nearby that they can share their questions and concerns with. We try to be a resource to the students and parents,” he said.
Though his son Guy will graduate in the spring, Mr. Lesavoy is eager to continue supporting the relationship between alumni and current students. He encourages other alumni to do the same.
“We will, without hesitation, host another sendoff,” he said. “This event is a great way to stay involved with current students and the campus community.”
The George Washington University alumni community supports more than 250,000 alumni across the globe, hosting events and programs that strengthen the GW alumni community locally, nationally and globally.