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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Paris Bienert: Will the Vern lose its charm?

When students complain about the Mount Vernon Campus as though it is some distant, inaccessible place, it makes me smile. As a former Vern resident, I can’t help but feel that the quality that makes the Vern so baffling to much of the student body is also what makes it so special.

The Mount Vernon Campus has a charming and distinct personality that is at risk of being distorted because of the new academic programs moving to Foxhall Road.

With the University Honors and University Writing Programs’ impending moves to the Vern, every student will now take a class on the second residential campus. This will bring all of the University’s 10,000 undergraduates trampling onto the Vern quad.

But what makes the Vern, well the Vern, is the cloud of mystery that hangs over the former women’s college nestled in one America’s most affluent neighborhoods.

I want the University to address how the restructuring of Ames Hall will impact the current culture of Mount Vernon Campus residential life. This plan needs to address how the influx of students will affect Vern residents, as they are the most important aspect of the campus.

Residents of the campus bond over the fact that so few students in GW’s large community live there, take classes there or have ever even stepped foot on the campus. What brings the residents together is their shared, unique experience, which creates the charm of the Vern.

There are still some students who have never been to the Vern, and therefore the campus holds little or no meaning for them. The University appears to care a great deal about how its plans will affect these “Vern-gins” (pardon the pun), but in the process, it has disregarded the fact that the campus’ residents are what give the place its charm.

I’m all for having more people on the Vern so that they too can experience what a great campus it is, but does the University really understand what this will mean for Mount Vernon campus life?

More students frequenting the Vern would not just be an issue of facilitating traffic flow with the Vern Express or relocating the police department to accommodate for the growing number of students; the sheltered charm of the Vern is going to be lost.

I understand that Vernies are greatly in the minority here at GW, but it is time for the University to acknowledge how its plans will impact these students.

­Paris Bienert, a sophomore majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet columnist.

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