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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

Rachel Smilan-Goldstein: A place to call home

Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor
Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor

Each year, graduating editors are given 30 final column inches – “30” was historically used to signify the end of a story – to reflect on their time at The Hatchet, published in the final issues of the year.

In the spring of 2013, I got a disappointing phone call. It was The Hatchet’s editor in chief, Cory, who told me I didn’t make the cut to be a copy editor. This was my second failed bid to become an editor.

He gave words of encouragement I didn’t want to hear; perhaps The Hatchet and I were not meant to be.

The summer passed, then I got an email. Someone left unexpectedly and they were scrambling to find another copy editor. Fearing more rejection, I reluctantly agreed to another interview. I got the job and stuck around. Thank god.

Although we got off to a rocky start, The Hatchet quickly became the constant in my life. It gave me stability, a place to call home, when my childhood home became uncertain territory. It gave me purpose when I was otherwise lost. It gave me a loyal group of friends as people walked in and out of my life.

The friends I met between two those townhouses taught me how to raise my voice and come out of my shell – not to mention the AP style skills.

I can only hope that in during my time here I helped others find the same.

Cheers to the next 112 years.

Media Credit: Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor

Karolina: You were my first editor, so you’re also the first person I need to thank for bringing me into this beautiful mess. Thanks for telling me I was a good writer my freshman year; Thanks for giving me a reason to go to the townhouse.

Cory + Ferris: Thank you for teaching me everything I know about news judgment, and for pointing my confused sophomore self in the right direction.

Robin: Thanks for teaching me AP Style, nerding out with me at every step along the way and making me feel included at my very first Hatchet parties. You will always be my second cool feminist mom.

Bri: Thanks for giving me room to make the copy desk my own last year. Your trust let me grow as an editor and become a more vocal member of staff – things that will serve me far into the future. I miss reading pages over your shoulder and sending out email editions with you, despite the madness.

Justin: It meant a lot to me when you invited me to join the editorial board during one of my first weeks on staff. I’m sorry I was silent for about a semester. Hatchet parties were more fun with you holding a bottle of wine, and “Blow” will always be our song.

Jenna: You were one of the first people I met at The Hatchet. You showed me around during an open house, made me feel welcome and wrote your email on a sticky note. I’m glad I went that day. I will never forget your chair-dancing moves, hot seat questions or how sweetly you tucked me in on your futon one night.

Gabe: Thank you for pushing me to go big with the fall conference, even though I was hesitant. It was one of the most rewarding challenges I had at The Hatchet.

Eva: The job you took on this semester is a hard one, particularly because it is entirely what you make of it. I was glad to be handing it over to you – someone who cares about this paper and its people as if they were her own flesh and blood. Your eyebrow game is strong, but you are even stronger.

Jacqueline: In the townhouse, it is hard to miss you; in the outside world it is very easy. In my mind, your laughter (and yells) will always fill the second floor, even long after you’ve graduated. What I’m trying to say is, working with you and getting to know you last semester was a treat.

Jeanine: I will always be in awe of your ability to weather a storm, lead gracefully with little preparation and embrace life with an openness I wish I had. That week we lived together was great. I also wish that I was even an ounce as cool as you.

Ellie: I’m having trouble pinpointing precisely when I first realized you were a queen, but it must have been very soon after you came onto staff. Your dedication to getting the story and getting it right will take you far; your midwestern kindness will take you farther. Knock ‘em dead.

Brandon: When I realized I had hired an outspoken libertarian, I was nervous to say the least. But our shared love of grammar and style rules united us more than I could have imagined. I admire your wit, cartooning skills and eagerness to take in new viewpoints. And don’t worry, there’s still time for our copy-family prom tradition.

Desiree: You were the best summer roommate a girl could ask for. You are the panda robe to my owl robe, you are the Tina Fey to my Liz Lemon. Let’s drink an Old Spanish sometime.

Bluge: I knew you as a byline and nickname before I knew you as a person. Luckily, all three versions of you are incredible. You are one of the most genuine and thoughtful people I know. As always, stay beautiful.

Sam: After our fruitless summer of pre-freshman-year-roommate-searching ended, you moved to the Vern and I moved into Madison. I wondered if I’d ever meet you, or any of my other “friends” from the Class of 2016 group. Months later, I saw your name on an email list for Professor Gross’ book group. You didn’t show.

But then, one fateful day in Square 80, you recognized me and waved even though we had never actually met. Pretty soon we were taking classes together, and eventually working three jobs together. Thanks for being my friend, even though it took you a while. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: There’s no one with whom I’d rather do content analysis.

Zach: You are the annoying brother I never asked for, but was lucky enough to get. I’m very proud of the journalist you’ve become over the years. Thanks for taking care of us all and for always walking me home.

Colleen: As many people have already written, it was easy to see our sophomore year that you’d soon become editor in chief. What wasn’t immediately apparent was how great our friendship would become. You are one of the smartest, most talented and dedicated people I have met in college, and you are also among the most warm and caring. We were all lucky to have you as a leader. I am #blessed to count you among my closest friends.

To the friends I made along the way: Editorships come and go, but the memories are forever, right? Here’s to impromptu lipsyncing, the sports den, the wasp’s nest on our roof, shoulder massages, holding endorsement hearings during a snowstorm and doodling contests.

Mia + Polly: Our friendships have been two of the best constants in my life over the past few years. Thanks for always responding to my dumb texts even when you’re across the country or ocean. Thanks for inspiring me, encouraging me, caring for me and sharing your love. There’s no one with whom I’d rather explore this world.

Mom + Jordan: Thank you for the unwavering support and unconditional love. I love our little family. For you, I’d lasso the moon.


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