Wave High—GW Community Participates in Moniker Engagement Activity at Men’s Basketball Game

Fans selected pennants with their preferred moniker option, demonstrating the spirit of moniker madness at various points through Saturday’s game.

March 6, 2023

Moniker Madness

Members of the GW community present during the men's basketball game Saturday at the Charles E. Smith Center wave pennants with their preferred moniker choice during a first-half timeout. (William Atkins/GW Today)

Moniker Madness met March Madness on Saturday inside the Charles E. Smith Center, as a highly energetic crowd taking in the George Washington University men’s basketball game against Virginia Commonwealth University had a chance to show their support for which of the final 10 moniker options they prefer.

Fans selected a pennant with their preferred choice upon entry and enthusiastically waved it throughout the game. Two first half timeouts—once at the 11:37 mark and the other at 3:51—were specifically designated for fans to wave their pennants. During the first one, Rihanna’s “What’s My Name” blared over the speaker system in the arena.

Considering there was nearly a capacity crowd on hand for Saturday’s game between GW and the Atlantic-10 leaders VCU, it made for quite a scene of fans—especially students in the George’s Army section—waving their choice in unison.

“It was incredible to see our community so engaged in the selection of a new moniker,” said Vice President for Communications and Marketing Ellen Moran. “Our basketball fans gave us a lot of valuable feedback as we continue our work toward a moniker that best represents the spirit of GW.”

On Feb. 15, GW released the 10 moniker options that were shared for feedback: Ambassadors, Blue Fog, Catalysts, Fireworks, Independents, Monumentals, Revolutionaries, Sentinels, Squad and Truth. Saturday’s event was the first in-person moniker activity with the entire GW community.

Attendees picked their pennant for a variety of reasons. Senior international affairs major Haja Jalloh, for instance, selected Ambassadors because she was working as an ambassador for GW Seniors, which had a desk at the game encouraging their classmates to be philanthropic.

Junior business major Isabela Ribeiro and senior environmental science major Audrey Litto walked in together sporting Blue Fog pennants because, well, they study and live in Foggy Bottom. “There’s just no better name, right?” Ribeiro said.

And first-year political science major Kirk Galang chose Revolutionaries because it is very close to Colonials but is more inclusive and accepting of others.

Their voices were all heard Saturday, as the university will evaluate feedback and narrow the options further before launching a new round of “Moniker Madness,” a series of activities that will give students, faculty, staff and alumni opportunities to provide multiple rounds of feedback on the moniker options and help narrow down the list further.

Saturday’s community-wide, in-person event marked the final days of the “First Impressions” phase of “Moniker Madness.” Throughout this first phase, a random sample of the GW community were invited to participate in an online survey about their perceptions of GW and various moniker options. The rest of the community was invited to participate in a brief online activity giving their initial impressions of the 10 moniker options, rating each on positivity scale. The online activity will close at 5 p.m. Monday.