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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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FRESHFARM workers ratify union agreement
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • February 15, 2024

College culture shock, intensified

Claude Khalife is a a freshman majoring in international affairs

Hailing from an average, blue-collar New England town, District living has come as a culture shock.

GW is in the middle of it all, as everyone likes to tout, but it also can seem so tangled up in the hustle and bustle of D.C. that it sometimes feels more like a corporation than a pristine university.

GW only has about 10,000 undergraduates, so it’s certainly no Penn State or Michigan State. But on a campus constantly alive with huge construction projects, professionals traveling to and from work and students moving in packs on their way to class or to Whole Foods, it is easy for a freshman to feel insignificant, like a pebble dropped into a strong rush.

Of course, this is one of the reasons I came to GW in the first place. As with most incoming students, I yearned more than anything for independence, a change from the stale rituals of high school and the nagging of parents. D.C. seemed like as good a place as any to do that.

The University has high ambitions. Massive fundraising campaign, huge construction projects and constant administrative shuffling. Officials and students justify any disarray that exists now by thinking about how state-of-the-art GW could be in another decade. Just close your eyes and think of it all as an investment, goes the conventional wisdom.

But more and more, GW appears to me as some sort of uncomfortable blend between university and corporation undergoing a massive restructuring. Since I arrived on campus, the GW School of Business dean was fired, harsh allegations and indictments were levied and as a result, the school risks loss of accreditation. That makes it easy for new students to feel like some low-level office drone, watching as his company’s stock prices rise and fall yet without much of a way to do anything about it.

It makes me feel powerless at a point in my life when I thought I’d feel empowered with all the opportunities going to college in the District has to offer.

As an incoming freshman, my GW might be different from yours. You might have found your place here by joining student organizations or Greek life, and gotten involved with your classes and your social life that you’ve been able to drown out the overwhelming construction and administrative turmoil.

But my GW is still a daunting place, where all the changes and movement – which have the potential to affect the value of my degree after graduation – are completely out of my control. However, it is also my home, the place where I will go to school, build my resume and meet new and inspiring people for the next four years, and I will make it my own.

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