Top Stories of the Fall 2016 Semester

Presidential politics, a new campus residence hall and the university’s entering freshman class ranked among GW Today’s most-read stories.

December 14, 2016

By Ruth Steinhardt

Fall 2016 was action-packed for the George Washington University, as an unprecedentedly diverse freshman class began their college careers and a roller-coaster presidential election brought excitement to the country’s most politically active campus, Below, George Washington Today looks back at some of the semester’s most popular stories.

1.     Bernie Sanders’ Book Tour includes a Stop at Lisner Auditorium
This semester saw several high-profile visitors to campus, including Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), a defining voice of the presidential race, was among the most popular.

2.     District House Opens for Move-In
Readers were eager for a first look at GW’s newest and largest residence hall, which welcomed almost 900 of its first residents in August.

3.     Student-Run Food Pantry to Open at GW
In the face of a national food security problem affecting college students around the country, GW opened the Store, a discreet unmanned food bank, on District House’s lowest level. The Store also was covered by national news outlets like The Washington Post.

4.     New Test-Optional Policy Helped Shape More Diverse Freshman Class
Among students who entered as freshmen in fall 2016—the first freshman class admitted under GW’s test-optional admissions policy—GW saw a 33 percent increase in students from underrepresented minority groups.

5.     Introducing the GW Class of 2020
Some of those new students, including political activists, burgeoning innovators and a long-distance sailor were profiled at the beginning of the year.

6.     GW Receives Martin Delaney Grant for HIV Cure Research
University researchers working on immunotherapeutic approaches to combating HIV received a five-year collaboratory grant from the National Institutes of Health. It was one of several major steps forward for university research this semester, including a $7.5 million grant to study child health and the opening of the Churchill Library and Center.

7.     Shock Dawns for College Democrats
The consequences of Donald Trump’s victory in November’s presidential election still reverberate on campus, with many students joining in large-scale protests. Administrators took the opportunity to reiterate university values including support for undocumented students. Outside of Washington, D.C., GW alumni like Democratic Sen.-elect Tammy Duckworth, M.A. ’92, triumphed in other races.

8.     GW Welcomes New Students With First Night Celebration
More than 2,500 students from more than 1,700 high schools in 49 states, the District of Columbia and 61 countries entered GW in the fall, and the university welcomed them with its traditional slate of events.

9.     Alumnus Receives Prestigious Rhodes Scholarship
Readers ate up the story of Josh Pickar, B.A. ’14, who was awarded a full scholarship to Oxford University to study global governance and diplomacy.

10.  The Nation’s Haunted Capital
GW Today participated in the campfire-tale tradition with a compendium of local legends like Abraham Lincoln’s ghost and the U.S. Capitol’s demon cat. It wasn’t the semester’s first moment of historical interest: In September, members of the GW Ballet club dressed up to recreate a 1961 photograph.

Student Life


Bernie Sanders: ‘The American People Are on Our Side’

November 17, 2016
Sen. Sanders talked about working with the Trump administration while promoting his new memoir “Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In” at GW.

Students Protest Divisive Rhetoric and Policies of the President-Elect

November 16, 2016
Hundreds of students marched to the White House chanting slogans before ending the demonstration in front of Rice Hall.

Behind the Scenes of District House

September 21, 2015
21st Street project is poised to become GW’s second-largest residence hall.